Goethe auf Englisch draft

1. Kloster Eberbach in Klosterkirche Basilika:


Johann Wolfgang Goethe! He is certainly one of Germany's greatest poets, and he also has a very important place in world literature. In fact, the term "world literature" was coined by Goethe. We would like to share with you today some poems and stories from Goethe's pen.

To start off, briefly a couple of biographical notes: Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on August 28, 1749 in Frankfurt, and grew up in a well-to-do family. He was given private lessons, and learned Latin and Greek, before going on to study law in Leipzig and Strassburg. At the age of 20, he became an enthusiastic Shakespeare fan, and wrote his first dramatic work, "Goetz von Berlichingen," before opening his law practice in 1771 in Frankfurt. Three years later, his novel in letters entitled "The Sorrows of Young Werther," which was to become a sensational success. Goethe became famous overnight as what we would call a "best seller author" today.

In 1776 Goethe was appointed to the court at Weimar, where he supervised the financial administration, took over the direction of the War and Transport Commission (?), and established mining in Ilmenau. In 1782, Goethe, who had become Privy Councillor, was awarded an aristocratic title.

On the side, the poet carried on studies in natural sciences. He discovered the intermediate jaw bone (?) in human anatomy, and in the process enriched science with a new research method, comparative morphology. The lack of this particular bone in human ebings was considered as an essential disstinction between man and beast. Goehte was of the opinion that man was man in every bone, and that the essence of the human being could not be reduced in this way. This is an idea that modern genetic research now and then overlooks. Throughout his life, Goethe worked in the fields of meteorology, botany, mineralogy, and his well-known color theory.

Goethe is however generally known and beloved as a national poet, whose lyrical poems speak to us so artfully and yet naturally. Innumerable lyrical poems of his have been set to music and become national songs. This is no doubt the best known.


The heathrose

Once a boy a Rosebud spied,
Heathrose fair and tender,
All array'd in youthful pride,
Quickly to the spot he hied,
Ravished by her splendour.
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!

Said the boy, "I'll now pick thee,
Heathrose fair and tender!"
Said the rosebud, "I'll prick thee,
So that thou'lt remember me,
Ne'er will I surrender!"
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!

Now the cruel boy must pick
Heathrose fair and tender;
Rosebud did her best to prick,--
Vain 'twas 'gainst her fate to kick--
She must needs surrender.
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Heathrose fair and tender!


A very important chapter in Goethe's life began with his first visit to Italy, which he started in 1786. He made drawings, and searched for ancient works of art and writings. His enthusiasm for Greek philosophy found expression in his work, entitled „Iphigenie auf Tauris” which was later to be described as the first work of the "German Classics." It was Goethe and his poet friend Friedrich Schiller who left their mark on this period of German cultural flourishing.

Geothe was also the publisher of several scientific and literary magazines, had personal contact and correspondence with almost all the significant writers, dramatists and poets of his time. He was a theatre director and manager, and supervisor of all the institutes at the Jena university.

So much for a brief biographical sketch. Now you will hear a very well-known poem by Goethe, which has been translated into many languages, and exists even in a Walt Disney version, with Mickey Mouse playing the lead role.


The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1779, translation by Edwin Zeydel, 1955)

That old sorcerer has vanished
And for once has gone away!
Spirits called by him, now banished,
My commands shall soon obey.
Every step and saying
That he used, I know,
And with sprites obeying
My arts I will show.

Flow, flow onward
Stretches many
Spare not any
Water rushing,
Ever streaming fully downward
Toward the pool in current gushing.

Come, old broomstick, you are needed,
Take these rags and wrap them round you!
Long my orders you have heeded,
By my wishes now I've bound you.
Have two legs and stand,
And a head for you.
Run, and in your hand
Hold a bucket too.

Flow, flow onward
Stretches many,
Spare not any
Water rushing,
Ever streaming fully downward
Toward the pool in current gushing.

See him, toward the shore he's racing
There, he's at the stream already,
Back like lightning he is chasing,
Pouring water fast and steady.
Once again he hastens!
How the water spills,
How the water basins
Brimming full he fills!

Stop now, hear me!
Ample measure
Of your treasure
We have gotten!

Ah, I see it, dear me, dear me.
Master's word I have forgotten!
Ah, the word with which the master
Makes the broom a broom once more!
Ah, he runs and fetches faster!
Be a broomstick as before!
Ever new the torrents
That by him are fed,
Ah, a hundred currents
Pour upon my head!

No, no longer
Can I please him,
I will seize him!
That is spiteful!
My misgivings grow the stronger.
What a mien, his eyes how frightful!

Brood of hell, you're not a mortal!
Shall the entire house go under?
Over threshold over portal
Streams of water rush and thunder.
Broom accurst and mean,
Who will have his will,
Stick that you have been,
Once again stand still!

Can I never, Broom, appease you?
I will seize you,
Hold and whack you,
And your ancient wood
I'll sever,
With a whetted axe I'll crack you.

He returns, more water dragging!
Now I'll throw myself upon you!
Soon, 0 goblin, you'll be sagging.
Crash! The sharp axe has undone you.
What a good blow, truly!
There, he's split, I see.
Hope now rises newly,
And my breathing's free.

Woe betide me!
Both halves scurry
In a hurry,
Rise like towers
There beside me.
Help me, help, eternal powers!

Off they run, till wet and wetter
Hall and steps immersed are Iying.
What a flood that naught can fetter!
Lord and master, hear me crying! -
Ah, he comes excited.
Sir, my need is sore.
Spirits that I've cited
My commands ignore.

"To the lonely
Corner, broom!
Hear your doom.
As a spirit
When he wills, your master only
Calls you, then 'tis time to hear it."


Well now, enough of water. Here int he wine cellar, water is not exactly the right theme. But, at the same time, water and wine do belong together, as an anecdote about Goethe tells us.


With sweat on his face, Goethe climbed the Jenzig, a mountain near Jena. When he had reached the top, he looked for a place in the shade in a wine pub, where a group of students, already drunk, were boozing it up. He ordered a glass of wine and a glass of water, whereupon the students started making fun of this FREFELS who was about to pour water into the wine. They evidently did not know who Goethe was. He turns spontaneously to the students and responded:

Water alone makes one mum
As can be seen in fish in a pond
Wine alone makes one dumb
That's proven by the gents at the table.
And since I want to be neither,
I drink water mixed with wine.


Goethe was someone who was capable of accepting life and developing a serious interest in everything. ("fuer alle?" everyone, oder "fuer alles" everything ??) It was said of him that he liked very much to study wine. This special relationship to the golden juice of the vine had been established when he was still in the cradle:


A Born Gourmet

When Goethe came into the world, he was not pleased with it. Bettina learned from his mother that he was turning dark in the face and was giving no signs of life. One thought the child was dead, as he was to write himself in "Poetry and Truth." It was only when they placed him in a wooden trough, normally used to store meat, and rubbed his breast where his heart was, with wine, that he opened his eyes.


At the age of 65, Goethe went to the Rheingau, this area you are visiting today. He was on a Drinking Cure" in 1814 and 1815 in Wiesbaden. A few days earlier, a book by the Persian poet Hafis had fallen into his hands and he was so excited by it, that he carried it with him forever after. Inspiraed by Hafis, Goethe composed his West-Eastern Divan here in the Rheingau. Now you will hear some samples from this collection of poems:


Book of the Inn

Can the Koran eternal be?
That I question nought!
Can the Koran created be?
I was not taught!
That it the Book of Books must be
I swear as faithful Muslim ought.
However, that wine eternal be,
There my doubts are nought;
Or that created by angels it be
Is no mere poet´s thought.
The drinker sure, however it be,
Fresher the sight of God has caught.

Drunken, all must to this incline!
Youth is drunkenness less the wine;
Age may its youth in drinking renew,
Wonderful virtue so to do.
Dear life for cares enough will care,
And vines will all our cares repaire.

No more questions, there´s no doubt!
Wine´s most solemnly ruled out.
But if you to drink are pressed
Only drink of wine the best.
Double heretic you´d rate,
Damned for drinking wines that grate.

When we think soberly
In bad we delight;
When we have drunk a bit
We know what´s right;
Yet we exceed the mark
Soon as we do it:
Hafis, O tell it me,
How did you view it!

For my opinion is
Not overblown:
If you can´t drink a lot
Leave love alone;
Drinkers their value shpuld
No better think:
If you can´t love a lot
You should not drink.


The West-Eastern Divan is a dialogue between the Persian poet Hafis and his German counterpart. "Bidamag buden" is the heavy head one gets after too much wine, and "Bulbul" means nightingale.

Speaker: (Serving lad)
What a state! So late, my master,
From your room today you´re crawling;
Persians call it Bidamag buden,
Germans speak of caterwauling.

Speaker: ( Poet)
Leave me now, dear boy in silence:
Me to please no world avails,
Not the sight nor scent of roses,
Not the song of nightingales.

Speaker: (Serving lad)
Just the thing of which I´d cure you,
And I´ll pull it off I´m sure;
Here! fresh almonds, they´ll restore you,
Soon the wine will taste once more.

Then I´ll give you drink of breezes
On the terrace here close by;
You will kiss the lad who pleases
As on you I keep an eye.

See! the world´s no cave that closes,
Brood and nest are still abounding,
Scent of roses, oil of roses;
Bulbul too, her song´s still sounding.


Goethe begegnet Ihnen zur Mittagspause wieder.

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2. Schloss Vollrads.

Moderation (Zur Begrüßung – vor dem Essen):

Here in Schloss Vollrads, Goethe came to rest. He had started out from Winkel and still had a stretch to Schloss Johannisberg ahead of him. He was not able to sit down here inside, since the building in Goethes time was not in good condition. But outside, he may have down at a table and enjoyed the wine and thought about a good meal. Goethe enjoyed company and loved a good cuisine. He was a good cook himself, and described successful dishes as "poetry out of the pan."


Open table

Many a guest I'd see to-day,
Met to taste my dishes!
Food in plenty is prepar'd,
Birds, and game, and fishes.
Invitations all have had,
All proposed attending.
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

Pretty girls I hope to see,
Dear and guileless misses,
Ignorant how sweet it is
Giving tender kisses.
Invitations all have had,
All proposed attending.
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

Women also I expect,
Loving tow'rd their spouses,
Whose rude grumbling in their breasts
Greater love but rouses.
Invitations they've had too,
All proposed attending!
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

I've too ask'd young gentlemen,
Who are far from haughty,
And whose purses are well-stock'd,
Well-behaved, not haughty.
These especially I ask'd,
All proposed attending.
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

Men I summon'd with respect,
Who their own wives treasure;
Who in ogling other Fair
Never take a pleasure.
To my greetings they replied,
All proposed attending.
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

Then to make our joy complete,
Poets I invited,
Who love other's songs far more
Than what they've indited.
All acceded to my wish,
All proposed attending.
Johnny, go and look around!
Are they hither wending?

Not a single one appears,
None seem this way posting.
All the soup boils fast away,
Joints are over-roasting.
Ah, I fear that we have been
Rather too unbending!
Johnny, tell me what you think!
None are hither wending.

Johnny, run and quickly bring
Other guests to me now!
Each arriving as he is--
That's the plan, I see now.
In the town at once 'tis known,
Every one's commending.
Johnny, open all the doors:
All are hither wending!


May we welcome you all, then, "as he is." In the name of Goethe, who will stop by again during dessert, we want to wish you "guten Appetit" -- enjoy your meal!

Moderator (nach dem Essen):

Good food and wine provide a solid basis for us to dedicate ourselves again to Goethe's thoughts. If we are clever, then we will enjoy not only the food and wine to the very last drop, but also life, up to the last breath, just as Goethe's King of Thule did.


The King of Thule

In Thule lived a monarch,
Still faithful to the grave,
To whom his dying mistress
A golden goblet gave.

Beyond all price he deem'd it,
He quaff'd it at each feast;
And, when he drain'd that goblet,
His tears to flow ne'er ceas'd.

And when he felt death near him,
His cities o'er he told,
And to his heir left all things,
But not that cup of gold.

A regal banquet held he
In his ancestral ball,
In yonder sea-wash'd castle,
'Mongst his great nobles all.

There stood the aged reveller,
And drank his last life's-glow,--
Then hurl'd the holy goblet
Into the flood below.

He saw it falling, filling,
And sinking 'neath the main,
His eyes then closed for ever,
He never drank again.


A full life does not mean only enjoyment, however. Or, let me put it differently: the highest pleasure of man is creativity, being creative. Here too Goethe can stimulate us with ideas. In the following poem, "Prometheus," he expresses the joy of his own creative poetical powers and compares himself implicitly to William Shakespeare, about whom he said, in a speech in commemoration of Shakespeare day in 1771: "He compoeted with Prometheus, reproduced his characters feature by feature, only in colossal stature; then he quickened them all with the breath of his spirit,...In the end, I recognize that my characters are soap bubbles, inflated by the grill of a novel." In his poem Prometheus, which was composed shortly thereafter (between 1772 and 1774), Goethe places himself consciously alongside Shakespeare, in that he says, he "formed mortals/ After his image."



Cover thy spacious heavens, Zeus,
With clouds of mist,
And, like the boy who lops
The thistles' heads,
Disport with oaks and mountain-peaks,
Yet thou must leave
My earth still standing;
My cottage too, which was not raised by thee;
Leave me my hearth,
Whose kindly glow
By thee is envied.

I know nought poorer
Under the sun, than ye gods!
Ye nourish painfully,
With sacrifices
And votive prayers,
Your majesty:
Ye would e'en starve,
If children and beggars
Were not trusting fools.

While yet a child
And ignorant of life,
I turned my wandering gaze
Up tow'rd the sun, as if with him
There were an ear to hear my wailings,
A heart, like mine,
To feel compassion for distress.

Who help'd me
Against the Titans' insolence?
Who rescued me from certain death,
From slavery?
Didst thou not do all this thyself,
My sacred glowing heart?
And glowedst, young and good,
Deceived with grateful thanks
To yonder slumbering one?

I honour thee! and why?
Hast thou e'er lighten'd the sorrows
Of the heavy laden?
Hast thou e'er dried up the tears
Of the anguish-stricken?
Was I not fashion'd to be a man
By omnipotent Time,
And by eternal Fate,
Masters of me and thee?

Didst thou e'er fancy
That life I should learn to hate,
And fly to deserts,
Because not all
My blossoming dreams grew ripe?

Here sit I, forming mortals
After my image;
A race resembling me,
To suffer, to weep,
To enjoy, to be glad,
And thee to scorn,
As I!


Actually, we have covered the essentials, but there is one more poem that we cannot keep from you. It is one of the compositions that appeared in the "Ballad Year," 1779. In that year, Schiller und Goethe participated in friendly competition, and created numerous wonderful Ballads. Goethe's ballads were mainly somewhat eerie or wierd, which is something that appeals to the Germans. The following scary and wonderful ballad is known to every child in Germany.


The Erl-king

Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."

"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."

"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."

The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,--
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.


As I said, every child knows this ballad, which has been set to music many times, recited over and over, and naturally also satirized. One well-known satire ends with the words, "The child lived, the horse was dead." That would certainly have amused Goethe, because this "great classicalm poet" was full of the joys of life, and nothing human could be foreign to him. And, in particular, our noble poet appreciated good wine very much, wine that you will be able to enjoy to the full here in the Rheingau in the next hours. The following anecdote reports on Goethe's appreciaiton of wine:


Birthday Drunkenness

On August 27, 1818 Goethe told his servant Stadelmann to bring him two bottles of red wine and two glasses. Then he went to his room, and emptied a glass from time to time. The court doctor Rehbein, Goethe's doctor, appeared for a routine visit. Goethe welcomed him with impatience. "You are a good friend of mine, to be sure! Come, drink at least to my health finally!" Since the doctor just stood there staring at him in amazement, Goethe asked: "What's the date today?"
"The 27th of August, Your Excelelncy," answered Rehbein.
"No," Goethe contradicted him. "Today is the 28th! My 69th birthday!"
The doctor however would not be taught otherwise and made no preparations to congratulate him on his birthday. Goethe rang for his servant. Stadelmann confirmed the date that Rehbein had named. "Bring the calendar!" Goethe demanded.
He stared at the calendar at length and with care. Then he shook his head:.
"I'll be damned! So I've gotten drunk for no reason!"


To conclude, just one piece of good advice from Privy Councillor Goethe:


The Rule of Life

If thou wouldst live unruffled by care,
Let not the past torment thee e'er;
As little as possible be thou annoy'd,
And let the present be ever enjoy'd;
Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied,
And to God the future confide.

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3. Niederwalddenkmal (Tempel):


This monument where – welches Sie gleich besuchen werden - you are standing now, and from which you can enjoy a wonderful view, was built after the 1871 war with France. Already at the beginning of the 19th century, the French had reached as far as the Rhine, which is a natural border. At the time that Goethe was in the Rheingau, the left bank of the Rhine had just been liberated from the French.

The Napoleonic era had completely changed the map of Europe, and had made "monarchies break asunder and empires tremble." With the Peace of Paris, the din of war over Europe was finally silenced. "Hegire" is the French form of the Arabic word "Hejira," which denotes the emigration of Mohammad from Mecca to Medina; that move by the Prophet marked the beginning of the Muslim calendar. And after the fall of Napoleon, a new epoch began in Europe as well.

Book of the singer

North and South and West are quaking,
Thrones are cracking, empires shaking;
Let us flee towards the East
Where as patriarchs we´ll feast:
There in loving, drinking, singing
Youth from Chiser´s well is springing.

Seeing rightly, seeing purely,
There I´ll penetrate most surely
To the origin of nations,
When on earth the generations
Heard God´s words with human senses,
Heedless of their formal tenses.

When to fathers they gave honours
And rejected foreign manners;
I´ll rejoice in youth´s demotion:
Wider faith, narrower notion -
Words weighed then as value´s token
Since the word was one that´s spoken.

With the herdsmen I´ll go questing,
In oasis freshness resting,
Roam with caravans wide ranging
Coffee, shawls, and musk exchanging;
Every track my footstep traces
Through the sands to market-Paces.

On the mountain´s desolation
Hafis, you give consolation
When our guide, afraid of capture,
High upon his mule in rapture
Sings, to set the stars a-blazing,
Startled thieves with dread amazing.

You at wells and inns I´ll ponder,
Holy Hafis, thinking fonder
When my love unveiled caresses,
Strewing fragrant amber tresses.
Yes, the poet´s whispered yearning
Even starts the Huris burning.

If your envy this despises,
Of belittles precious prizes,
Think awhile that poet´s diction
Is no commonplace of fiction,
Hovering soft by heaven´s portal
Life it seeks that is immortal.


Here in this magnificent landscape Goethe used to go for walks, with his friends. He lived at the Brentanos', who had a country home in the small village of Wicker. The destination of their outings were Schloss Johannisberg and Schloss Vollrads, two palaces you will visit today, as well as the Rochuskapelle, a chapel you can see very clearly from here.

In his dramatic work "Faust," recorded an outing in springtime, which has become famous in Germany as the "Easter Stroll."


Easter Stroll

Freed from the ice are river and rill
By the quickening glance of the gracious Spring;
Green with promise are dale and hill.
Old winter, palsied and shivering,
Back has crept to his mountains bleak,
And sends from them, as he flies, appall'd,
Showers of impotent hail, to streak
The fields that are green as emerald.
But the sun in his might disdains to bear
One trace of the snow, and everywhere
The stirrings and strivings of growth are rife,
And all things don the bright hues of life.
Flowers are scant, but the landscape is gay
With multitudes dress'd for a holiday.
Turn round, and from this height look down
Over the vineyards upon the town.
The motley rabble is making its way
Out from the murky wide-mouth'd gate.
Blithely they bask in the sun today;
The Saviour's Rising they celebrate,
For they have risen themselves, I ween,
From the close, damp rooms of their hovels mean,
From the bonds of business, and labour, and care,
From the gables and roofs that oppress them there,
From the stifling closeness of street and lane,
From the churches' awe-inspiring night,
They all have emerged into the light.
But, see, how they are spreading amain
Across the gardens and fields, and how
The river, as far as the eye can note,
Is all alive with shallop and boat!
And look! the last departing now,
Laden so deeply it scarce can float.
Far up on the hills as the pathways run,
Gay dresses are glistening in the sun.
Hark now the din of the village! Here
Is the people's true heaven. With hearty glee
Little and great, how they shout and cheer!
Here I am man, nor such need fear to be.

(Mein Vorschlag fuer die letzte Zeile:
Here I am human, I'm allow'd to be.)


And now two further blossoms from Goethe. After we heard the Heather Rose at the beginning, now we will meet the Violet and a not better identified little flower.


The Violet

Upon the mead a violet stood,
Retiring, and of modest mood,
In truth, a violet fair.
Then came a youthful shepherdess,
And roam'd with sprightly joyousness,
And blithely woo'd
With carols sweet the air

"Ah!" thought the violet, "had I been
For but the smallest moment e'en
Nature's most beauteous flower,
'Till gather'd by my love, and press'd,
When weary, 'gainst her gentle breast,
For e'en, for e'en
One quarter of an hour!"

Alas! alas! the maid drew nigh,
The violet failed to meet her eye,
She crush'd the violet sweet.
It sank and died, yet murmur'd not:
"And if I die, oh, happy lot,
For her I die,
And at her very feet!"



Once through the forest
Alone I went;
To seek for nothing
My thoughts were bent.

I saw i' the shadow
A flower stand there
As stars it glisten'd,
As eyes 'twas fair.

I sought to pluck it,--
It gently said:
"Shall I be gather'd
Only to fade?"

With all its roots
I dug it with care,
And took it home
To my garden fair.

In silent corner
Soon it was set;
There grows it ever,
There blooms it yet.


The poem you have just heard, was a gift Goethe gave his wife Christiane Vulpius on the occasion of their 15th wedding anniversary. A lot, maybe too much, has been written about Goethe and women. If anyone wants to tell you something about this in the future, then please keep the following short poem in the back of your mind, a poem unparalleled to today. Goethe describes a truly emancipated women.


Before a court of justice

The father's name ye ne'er shall be told
Of my darling unborn life;
"Shame, shame," ye cry, "on the strumpet bold!"
Yet I'm an honest wife.

To whom I'm wedded, ye ne'er shall be told,
Yet he's both loving and fair;
He wears on his neck a chain of gold,
And a hat of straw doth he wear.

If scorn 'tis vain to seek to repel,
On me let the scorn be thrown.
I know him well, and he knows me well,
And to God, too, all is known.

Sir Parson and Sir Bailiff, again,
I pray you, leave me in peace!
My child it is, my child 'twill remain,
So let your questionings cease!


Earlier, we came to know Goethe in his poem, "Hejira," as someone who, finding himself in a situation we might denote as a "global crisis" today, lived calmly drawn into himself, and, stimulated by foreign cultures, is able to create something new. This vision of Man, as an independent thinker and actor, is essential for Goethe, and can provide us today support and orientation.

The boundaries of humanity

When the primeval
All-holy Father
Sows with a tranquil hand
From clouds, as they roll,
Bliss-spreading lightnings
Over the earth,
Then do I kiss the last
Hem of his garment,
While by a childlike awe
Fiil'd is my breast.

For with immortals
Ne'er may a mortal
Measure himself.
If he soar upwards
And if he touch
With his forehead the stars,
Nowhere will rest then
His insecure feet,
And with him sport
Tempest and cloud.

Though with firm sinewy
Limbs he may stand
On the enduring
Well-grounded earth,
All he is ever
Able to do,
Is to resemble
The oak or the vine.

Wherein do gods
Differ from mortals?
In that the former
See endless billows
Heaving before them;
Us doth the billow
Lift up and swallow,
So that we perish.

Small is the ring
Enclosing our life,
And whole generations
Link themselves firmly
On to existence's
Chain never-ending.