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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 363 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01.

  Hail to the beings,
  Unknown and glorious,
  Whom we forebode! 
  From his example
  Learn we to know them!

  For unfeeling
  Nature is ever
  On bad and on good
  The sun alike shineth;
  And on the wicked,
  As on the best,
  The moon and stars gleam.

  Tempest and torrent,
  Thunder and hail,
  Roar on their path,
  Seizing the while,
  As they haste onward,
  One after another.

  Even so, fortune
  Gropes ’mid the throng—­
  Innocent boyhood’s
  Curly head seizing,—­
  Seizing the hoary
  Head of the sinner.

  After laws mighty,
  Brazen, eternal,
  Must all we mortals
  Finish the circuit
  Of our existence.

  Man, and man only
  Can do the impossible
  He ’tis distinguisheth,
  Chooseth and judgeth;
  He to the moment
  Endurance can lend.

  He and he only
  The good can reward,
  The bad can he punish,
  Can heal and can save;
  All that wanders and strays
  Can usefully blend.

  And we pay homage
  To the immortals
  As though they were men,
  And did in the great,
  What the best, in the small,
  Does or might do.

  Be the man that is noble,
  Both helpful and good,
  Unweariedly forming
  The right and the useful,
  A type of those beings
  Our mind hath foreshadow’d!

MIGNON[15] (1785)

[This universally known poem is also to be found in Wilhelm Meister.]

  Know’st thou the land where the fair citron blows,
  Where the bright orange midst the foliage glows,
  Where soft winds greet us from the azure skies,
  Where silent myrtles, stately laurels rise,
  Know’st thou it well?

                         ’Tis there, ’tis there,
  That I with thee, beloved one, would repair.

  Know’st thou the house?  On columns rests its pile,
  Its halls are gleaming, and its chambers smile,
  And marble statues stand and gaze on me: 
  “Poor child! what sorrow hath befallen thee?”
  Know’st thou it well?

                         ’Tis there, ’tis there,
  That I with thee, protector, would repair!

  Know’st thou the mountain, and its cloudy bridge? 
  The mule can scarcely find the misty ridge;
  In caverns dwells the dragon’s olden brood,
  The frowning crag obstructs the raging flood. 
  Know’st thou it well?

                         ’Tis there, ’tis there,
  Our path lies—­Father—­thither, oh repair!

PROXIMITY OF THE BELOVED ONE[16] (1795)

  I think of thee, whene’er the sun his beams
      O’er ocean flings;
  I think of thee, whene’er the moonlight gleams
      In silv’ry springs.

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