Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I.—: Thick Wood. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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SCENE I.—: Thick Wood. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 2.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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Our fleeting goal attracting dogs and man
To follow swift along the winding course—
The noble stag has led us far astray
O’er vales and mountains, till I needs must own
That I myself, although so country-wise,
Am quite at loss. Where are we, uncle? Duke,
Pray tell me what these hills are that we cross’d!
The brook that babbles past us, Sire, arises
Upon thy servant’s near domain, for which
He has to thank the generous grace bestow’d
By thee and by thy royal ancestors
Upon him, as first vassal of the realm.
Beyond the rocks of yonder eminence
A pleasant house stands hid by veils of green,
Not built at all for housing royalty,
But ready to receive thee, if thou wilt.
Nay! let the lofty arches of these trees
Give shelter for the moment that we rest,
And let the gentle stirring of the breeze
Weave round us, while the joy of peaceful scenes
Succeeds the joy of dashing o’er the course.
The pleasure that thou feelest here, O King,
Behind this lovely screen of Nature’s work,
In absolute seclusion, I also feel.
Here comes not nigh the voice of discontent,
Nor yet the hand of shameless violence.
Here in the freedom born of loneliness
Thou seest not the ungrateful slink away.
The restless world, which ever makes demand
And never lends its aid, is vanish’d now.
If I shall e’er forget what once oppress’d me
Then let no word recall me to its trials.
Ye echoes of the distant world’s commotion,
Little by little vanish from my ears!
Yea, prithee, uncle, suit thy fair discourse
To circumstances fitter for this spot.
Here wife and husband, hand-in-hand, should roam,
Rejoicing in the sight of comely children,
The highest reach of joy; here friend with friend
Draw nigh, disclosing every secret pleasure.
And didst not thou erewhile drop gentle hints
That when a quiet moment could be ours
Thou hadst some weighty secret to confess,
Some contemplated favor to demand,
Which, granted, would rejoice your faithful heart?
O Sire, no greater kindness could’st thou show me
Than setting free the fountain of my speech.
And what I fain would tell who else could hear
More fitly than my King, among whose treasures
None shine with such a lustre as his children,—
Who, I am sure, will give his sympathy
In all the father’s joy his servant feels?
Of father’s joy thou speakest! Know’st thou then
Its heavenly rapture? Has thy only son
Not torn thy loving heart by lawless actions,
By disobedience, by unfilial scorn,
Until thy sadden’d life reach’d bitter age?
Has he then lately chang’d his evil ways?
From him I have no hope of happier days,
His idle mind gives birth to clouds alone
Which ever gloom the horizon of my life.
A different star it is that sheds its light
Upon me. As in cheerless caverns shine,
Mysterious with their wonder-working rays,
Bright precious stones (so fairy legends say),
And gleam across the murky night which reigns,
So in my gloomy life a magic gift
Was granted, blessing me beyond all words—
A gift I cherish more than lands and gold
Inherited or won by deeds of war,
Yea, more than sight, more than the light of life,
And guard with joy and fear, with pain and pleasure.
Speak not so darkly of the mystery dark.
’Twould not be easy to confess our faults
In ears of royalty, were royalty
Alone not able to convert their harm
To fair results of right and good report.
The treasure guarded with such watchful love?
That treasure is a daughter.
What! a daughter?
And like the gods in fable, uncle, stole
In secret hither to earth’s lower circles
To take delight in earthly love and bliss?
Small things as well as great compell’d us, Sire,
To hide our actions from the world’s dispraise.
The lady, bound to me by wondrous Fate
In secret union, stood so high in rank:—
And even now thy court wears mourning garb
And secret sorrow gnaws my heart for her.
The Princess? She who lately died
So honor’d and so mourn’d?
She was the mother.
But let me speak of her alone—my child,
Who, living better than her parents liv’d,
Rejoices in the noble joys of life—
And all the rest leave buried in the grave
Of her the gifted, lofty-minded woman.
Her death at last unseals my lips. I dare
Before my King to name my daughter now—
I dare demand of him to lift her up
Upon a level with me and her peers,
To recognize her right to princely birth
Before his court, his kingdom and the world,
So sure am I of favor in his heart!
If all the virtues of her noble parents
Are found united in this niece whom thou
Preparest to present me ready grown,
Then must the court, then must our royal house,
From which a brilliant star set all too soon,
Give welcome to the new star rising fair.
Oh, learn to know her ere thou judgest her
With prejudice. Let not a father’s pride
Pervert thee. Much has Nature done for her
Which I with rarest pleasure contemplate.
And all the culture which our rank demands
Has, since her babyhood, been warmly foster’d.
Her steps were guided from her earliest days
By a skilful governess, a wise professor.
With what light-heartedness and pleasant wit
She makes the present serve her ready mind,
While poet Fancy paints with flattering hues
The fortune which she waits with eager joy!
Her gentle heart clings to her loving father,
Although her spirit willingly gives heed
To wise discourse of noble-thinking men,
Leading her slowly up the hill of learning.
And all the exercise of princely virtues
Is manifest in her fair graceful form.
Sire! thou thyself hast seen her unbeknown,
While round thee whirl’d the tumult of the chase.
To-day a daughter of the Amazons
She first upon the traces of the stag
Dash’d gallantly across the swelling stream.
We trembled when we saw the noble maid.
I am rejoic’d to know she is my kin.
And not to-day alone I learn’d to know
How pride and apprehension, joy and trouble
Commingle in a father’s yearning breast.
With mighty force and panting strove the steed
To land his rider on the farther shore,
Where thick-grown bushes hide the dusky hill,
And thus she vanish’d from my sight.
My eyes beheld her ere the labyrinth
Of bosky forest led us thus astray.
Who knows what distant field she now explores
With heart on fire because she miss’d the goal,
Where now alone it is permitted her
To approach the presence of her King revered,
And humbly wait until with royal favor
She is acknowledg’d as his kith and kin—
The latest blossom of his ancient line.
But what is yonder tumult that I see?
What means the running towards the precipice?