The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 544 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03.

  Three Errors there are, that for ever are found
    On the lips of the good, on the lips of the best;
  But empty their meaning and hollow their sound—­
    And slight is the comfort they bring to the breast.

  The fruits of existence escape from the clasp
  Of the seeker who strives but those shadows to grasp—­
  So long as Man dreams of some Age in this life
    When the Right and the Good will all evil subdue;
  For the Right and the Good lead us ever to strife,
    And wherever they lead us, the Fiend will pursue.

  And (till from the earth borne, and stifled at length)
  The earth that he touches still gifts him with strength![10]
  So long as Man fancies that Fortune will live,
    Like a bride with her lover, united with Worth;
  For her favors, alas! to the mean she will give—­
    And Virtue possesses no title to earth! 
  That Foreigner wanders to regions afar,
  Where the lands of her birthright immortally are!

  So long as Man dreams that, to mortals a gift,
    The Truth in her fulness of splendor will shine;
  The veil of the goddess no earth-born may lift,
    And all we can learn is—­to guess and divine I
  Dost thou seek, in a dogma, to prison her form? 
  The spirit flies forth on the wings of the storm! 
  O, Noble Soul! fly from delusions like these,
    More heavenly belief be it thine to adore;
  Where the Ear never hearkens, the Eye never sees,
    Meet the rivers of Beauty and Truth evermore! 
  Not without thee the streams—­there the Dull seek them;—­No! 
  Look within thee—­behold both the fount and the flow!

* * * * *


THE LAY OF THE BELL[11] (1799)

  “Vivos voco—­Mortuos plango—­Fulgura frango.” [12]


    Fast in its prison-walls of earth,
      Awaits the mold of baked clay. 
    Up, comrades, up, and aid the birth—­
      THE BELL that shall be born today! 
        Who would honor obtain,
        With the sweat and the pain,
  The praise that Man gives to the Master must buy!—­
  But the blessing withal must descend from on high! 
      And well an earnest word beseems
        The work the earnest hand prepares;
      Its load more light the labor deems,
        When sweet discourse the labor shares. 
      So let us ponder—­nor in vain—­
        What strength can work when labor wills;
      For who would not the fool disdain
        Who ne’er designs what he fulfils? 
      And well it stamps our Human Race,
        And hence the gift To UNDERSTAND,
      That Man within the heart should trace
        Whate’er he fashions with the hand.


Project Gutenberg
The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook