“Thou hast said, mother!” the son thereupon
with eagerness answered.
“Yes, it is she; and if I today as my bride do not bring her
Home to our dwelling, she from me will go, perhaps vanish for ever,
Lost in the war’s confusion and sad movings hither and thither.
Mother, forever in vain would then our abundant possessions
Prosper before me, and seasons to come be in vain to me fruitful.
Yea, I should hold in aversion the wonted house and the garden:
Even my mother’s love, alas! would not comfort my sorrow.
Every tie, so I feel in my heart, by love is unloosened
Soon as she fastens her own; and not the maid is it only
Leaves behind father and mother, to follow the man she has chosen.
He too, the youth, no longer knows aught of mother and father,
When he the maiden, his only beloved, sees vanishing from him.
Suffer me, then, to go hence wherever despair shall impel me:
Since by my father himself the decisive words have been spoken;
Since his house can no longer be mine if he shut out the maiden,
Her whom alone as my bride I desire to bring to our dwelling.”
Thereupon quickly made answer the good and intelligent
“How like to rocks, forsooth, two men will stand facing each other!
Proud and not to be moved, will neither draw near to his fellow;
Neither will stir his tongue to utter the first word of kindness.
Therefore I tell thee, my son, a hope yet lives in my bosom,
So she be honest and good, thy father will let thee espouse her,
Even though poor, and against a poor girl so decisive his sentence.
Many a thing he is wont to speak out in his violent fashion
Which he yet never performs; and so what he denies will consent to.
Yet he requires a kindly word, and is right to require it:
He is the father! Besides, we know that his wrath after dinner,—
When he most hastily speaks, and questions all others’ opinions,—
Signifies naught; the full force of his violent will is excited
Then by the wine, which lets him not heed the language of others;
None but himself does he see and feel. But now is come evening,
Talk upon various subjects has passed between him and his neighbors.
Gentle, he is; I am sure, now his little excitement is over,
And he can feel how unjust his passion has made him to others.
Come, let us venture at once: success is alone to the valiant!
Further we need the friends, still sitting together there with him;
And in especial the worthy pastor will give us assistance.”
Thus she hastily spoke, and up from the stone then
Drew from his seat her son, who willingly followed. In silence
Both descended the hill, their important purpose revolving.
THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD