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Poetical Translation of the Introduction to Goethe's



Once more, O phantoms, ye are hovering near,

Weird visions which my earlier glance revealed. Shall I for once attempt to clasp you here,

Or let my heart to that illusion yield ?
Ye gather round! Ah well, your realm be here,

As ye come forth from out the misty field
Of formless vapor, while I breathe again
The magic breath that folds around your train.

Ye bring again the forms of other days;

And many lovely shadows softly rise; Like old tradition's nearly dying lays

Come friendships and first love that never dies, Renew the pain of labyrinthine ways,

The wild regret where life's sad error lies, And name the wise, the beautiful, the good, Who people now death's lonely solitude.

Alas! No longer this belated song

Is heard by those for whom at first I strung
My lute; and scattered is that friendly throng;

The echoes dead of all the lays I sung:
The world's applause may follow loud and long,

But o'er my soul a spell of pain is flung,
Amid the alien crowd, and turns my heart
To those who died or wander far apart.

The olden yearning long unfelt I feel,

The longing for the far-off spirit land; Upon the ear the half-formed tones will steal,

As when a harp by idle winds is fanned; I tremble; and the springing tears reveal

The weakness which the heart may not withstand; The things I have are sunk in gloom and night, And vanished forms revive before my sight.


Translated from the French of Sully-Prudhomme
That vase wherein a lily droops

A lady's dainty fan hath broken ;
The act unheeded was, the flaw

Was unrevealed by any token.

But still the thin and thread like fissure

Preyed on the crystal day by day,
And with its sure and silent progress

Made round the vase its fatal way.

The falling drops, the fading bloom,

Disclose at last the doom unspoken,
And all the world shall come to know

They must not touch the vase is broken.

And thus sometimes the hand we love

May give the heart the slightest blow;
And then the rift will widen out

Until the flower of love lies low.

Unnoticed by the world it weeps,

Laments its melancholy lot,
The hidden wound so fine and deep-

The vase is broken-touch it not!



Knowest thou the picture soft of hue!

Itself the fountain of its light,
Each moment changing to the view,

Yet ever perfect, fresh and bright,
'Tis painted in the smallest space,

Within the smallest frame enclosed;
But of earth's greatness not a trace

Without it e'er had been disclosed.

Can’st thou to me the crystal name?

No jewel equals it in worth;
It flashes, but without a flame,

Drinks in the boundless sphere of earth,
And heaven itself in radiance plays

Within its magic circle bright;
Yet, though it drinks celestial rays;
More heavenly far is its own light.



A Funeral Dirge


With dead and pallid light

Stands the moon above the grove tonight; The sighing spectre of the night creeps through the

Planets hover

Wild mists over,
Pallid stars like lamps within the tomb;

Lat the firs amb and was and hollow,

W sabie pomp. death 's sad and dark array,
anded by the noding plumes, a train doth follow,

Benesta tine sirunting mist, the coffined clay.
Sai lening on his staf, le ene who passes by

With gloomy and despairing gaze,
Wuse bitte anguish speaks but in a broken cry,

Sure reset whom iron fate betrays,
Whose footsteps balter where the waving plumes are


Was Father" sounded from the elammy lips!

Partil shudders answer to that name;
Alls senses darken in a wild eelipse,

Silver hair is streaming o'er that stricken frame.
Tum again are all his wounds of flame,

Pierced his soul with many & cruel dart; - Pather," from the frozen lips there came,

“Son,” responded still the father's heart; Le-cold ice-cold lieth he within this hearse,

And thy vision, dearer than all price, Sanlit, sweet and golden, turns into a curse,

This thy pleasure and thy Paradise.

Mild as surrounded by breathings of Heaven,

Pure as escaped from Aurora's embrace, Roseste perfumes as rained from the odorous even, Cireled with these sped his life like a summer day's

chase, Through the fresh gardens of flowers where Flora was

Fountains reflecting in silver the glow of his face,
Seeming to laugh and rejoice the happy beguiling,
Laughing at kisses to

pursued in the race. Eager he sprang to the fe manhood was vie: Like a young roe

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Heaven he flew through with courage elate and undying,

High as an eagle in loftiest flight.
Proud as a courser whose eyes gleam in splendour,

Seeing the battle advancing with swiftness of wings,
Scorning to rein or to rider to yield or surrender,
Wandered he onward regardless of slaves or of

Joyous as springtime, no shade on the dial,

Flew life away as entranced as Hesper's soft glance;
In the gay cup he forgot every care, every trial,

Dashed away pain in the whirl of the dance. Worlds seemed to sleep in his promise of manhood, When the young bud to fullness shall ripen.

Not so, father! Hark! The churchyard door is creaking;

Brazen hinges rattle where the dead abide,
How it harrows! And your father's heart is breaking;

Yet repress not now thy tears' unstaying tide.
Go, thou blessed, follow in the path of light;

Press thou onward where a brighter morning glows, Quench thy noble thirst for pleasure and delight,

O thou pain-delivered, in Valhalla's long repose.

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Heavenly thought that tells of other meeting,

Other meeting there by Eden's dawn!
Hark, the coffin sinks with hollow greeting,

Sighs the quivering cord as upward drawn!
Here we stand like drunkards reeling,

Lips are silent, eye to eye is calling -
Hold!—the touch of grief our hearts is steeling-

Tears are now more warmly falling.

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