Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE VI. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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SCENE VI. - 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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Oh, what a day of jubilant surprises!
Oh, might I live from day to day like this!
What wealth of fortune has the King bestow’d!
Take pure delight in his unlook’d-for favor.
He seems unhappy, and he is so good.
Goodness itself oft rouses opposition.
Who is so hateful as to set against him?
The advantage of the whole needs strenuous vigor.
The mildness of the King should breed like mildness.
The mildness of the King breeds insolence.
With what nobility has Nature form’d him!
Yet far too high in station has she plac’d him.
With what consummate virtues rich endow’d!
Domestic virtues not the gift of ruling.
The blossom of an ancient stock of heroes!
Perchance the vigor fails in later scions.
It is our duty to defend all weakness.
Unless our greater strength he should suspect.
(Aside.) His subtile reasoning fills me with suspicion.
What are thy thoughts? Hide not thy heart from me!
(After a pause.) Thou art then one of those whom he distrusts.
Let him distrust those worthy of distrust.
Shall we see secret foes invest his throne?
He who conceals a danger is a foe.
But whither do our counsels lead us, daughter?
How has the most extraordinary fortune
Brought us, short cut, upon the goal desir’d.
I build without foundation, filling thy mind
With wild confusion when I should enlighten.
Yet must thy rapturous joy of childhood vanish
When once thou steppest foot within the world.
Not long the intoxicating sweets of peace
Could’st thou delight in mid its blinding scenes.
The goal is thine, but its false crown has torn
Thy tender hand with cruel hidden spines.
Beloved child, I would it were not so!
Far better were it, as I fondly hop’d,
To wont thee by degrees to all its trials,
To teach thee by degrees the bitter lesson
That dearest hopes must fade, fond wishes fail.
But now a sudden change has come upon thee!
As though thy fall from yonder crag were symbol,
Down thou hast plung’d where cares and danger dwell.
The very air is poison’d with suspicion,
And Envy keeps the feverish blood astir,
And gives its victims to Anxiety.
Alas! for aye the wall of Paradise,
Which safely held thee, has been torn away.
The holy lesson of thy innocence
No longer shields me from the world’s temptations.
Forth must thou with me till the net surround us—
Perplex’d, sore wounded, needing pity, both!
Not so, my father! If until to-day
Inactive, kept aloof, immur’d alone,
A childish cypher, yet by very force
Of lacking individuality
I caus’d thee consolation, comfort, pleasure,
How vastly more then should thy daughter be
Now that her fate is woven into thine,
And all its threads in varied glory shine!
Part will I take in ev’ry noble deed,
In ev’ry great transaction which will bring
My father dearer to the State and King.
My eager mind, the force of youth and health
Inspiring me, will give thee freshen’d zeal,
Will drive away those visions of despair
Which rise when on the laboring breast of man
The monstrous burden of the world is laid.
If once, a child, in moments of depression
I offer’d thee good-will however helpless,
Love poor in deeds, and idle fond caresses,
So now I hope to win a daughter’s birthright
By faithful service, having learn’d thy wishes,
Initiated in the secrets of thy plans.
What thou through this important step wilt lose
Seems worthless to thee and without reward.
What thou expectest thou dost prize too high.
To share with highly-gifted, fortunate men
The use of power, the wealth of influence!
For generous souls what more attractive prize!
’Tis true! Forgive me if thou findest me
At this hour weaker than becomes a man.
Most wonderful is this exchange of duties,
I ought to lead thee and thou art my leader.
Well, then, my father, let us boldly climb
Up to those regions where before my ken
A new sun rises with enkindling rays.
And at this happy moment only smile,
If I disclose to thee in turn the cares
That burden me.
Yea, tell me what they are.
A host of weighty moments fill men’s lives,
Besieging now with joy and now with sorrow
Their hearts. The man may in such circumstances
Forget his outward show before the world;
Not so the woman; she desires to shine
By fair appropriate habit and adornment,—
An envied object in the eyes of others.
This have I often heard and often notic’d.
And now the crowning moment of my life
Has come, and I am willing to confess
That I am guilty of this woman’s weakness.
What canst thou wish for that will not be thine?
Thou art inclin’d, I know, to grant me all.
And yet the all-important day is nigh—
Too nigh to make the fitting preparation.
And all the silks, embroideries and laces,
And all the jewelry needful for adornment,
How can they be provided, how completed?
A long-desir’d good fortune has surpris’d us,
Yet not quite unprepar’d may we receive it;
All that thou now desirest is at hand.
This very day gifts that thou didst not dream of
Lie waiting for thee in a worthy coffer.
But one slight trial must I put upon thee—
The foretaste of severer ones to come!
Here is the key; take watchful care of it,
And curb thy longing. Open not the box
Which holds this treasure till I give thee leave.
Share trust with no one, be it who it may.
Wisdom advises and the King demands it.
Thou layest a heavy burden on a maiden,
Yet I will bear it, father, take my oath.
My wild unworthy son is on the watch
To spy the quiet paths where thou art led.
The little portion of my substance treasur’d
For thy protection he already covets.
And if he knew that thou by royal favor
Wert lifted to a higher station where
Thy right and his were on an equal level,
How he would rage! And would he not exert
All spiteful wiles to block our pleasant plan?
Then let us quietly await that day!
And when the deed is done that justifies me
In calling him my brother, be it mine,
By gentle words, by courteous behavior,
To win him back to reverence and affection.
He is thy son, and should he not, like thee,
Be fashion’d in the mould of love and reason?
No miracle would be too great for thee.
But work them for the advantage of my house.
And now farewell! Yet now—alas! in parting
I feel once more the pangs of cruel fear.
Here in my arms I held thee lying dead!
And here Despair with tiger clutches tore me.
Who will dispel the vision from my eyes?
I saw thee dead! Thus wilt thou oft appear
Before me in the watches of the night,
In visions of the day. Away from thee
Have I not ever been distraught by fear?
No longer will it be the mind’s distemper;
It is a real irradicable vision:
My child, Eugenie, of my life the life,
Wan, prostrate, breathless, lifeless there.
Oh, call not back what thou should’st now forget.
My fall and my escape should rather seem
The earnest of my wonderful good fortune.
Living, thou seest me before thy eyes.
And living, on thy heart thou feelest me.
So let me ever, ever thus return!
And with the touch of glowing, loving life
Blot out the loathsome sight of hated Death.
How can a child appreciate the pangs
A father feels at thought of threaten’d loss?
I will confess that oftentimes thy courage,
Almost o’erweening, when, upon the steed
Seeming a part of thee, and full of fire,
More like a Centaur with its doubled vigor,
Thou hast o’er vale and mountain boldly dash’d,
Through stream and gully flashing like a bird,
Has fill’d my heart with greater fear than joy.
Henceforth I pray thy gallant course conform
More moderately to knighthood’s joyous practice.
Before the careless, Danger yields the palm;
She often takes the careful by surprise.
Oh, feel once more that limitless keen joy
Which thou didst feel when, as a little child,
I boldly waged to do the deeds of prowess
Taught by thy knightly pride of fatherhood.
My fault has found me out, and now a life
Of ceaseless worriment must punish me.
Does not the courting of the dangerous
Invite the danger that it holds in store?
’Tis Luck not Carefulness that conquers danger.
Farewell, my father; follow now thy King,
And be, if only for thy daughter’s sake,
His blameless vassal and his faithful friend.
Oh, do not go! Remain with me,
Yet standing in this place alive, erect,
As when thou cam’st to life again, rejoicing
With healing balm my sadly riven heart.
Let not this hour of bliss remain unfruitful.
This spot I dedicate to be a lasting
Memorial. Here shall rise a splendid temple
To keep the record of thy fortunate healing.
Thy hand shall here create a fairy kingdom.
A labyrinth of gentle ways shall join
The savage forest and the bristling jungle;
The steep crag shall become accessible;
This brook shall fall in musical cascades,
And loiter with its sparkling waters pure.
The stranger wandering through this novel scene
Shall deem that he has found a Paradise.
Here, while I live, no gun shall loudly echo,
No bird shall miss her mate, no antler’d stag
Fly frighten’d, wounded, shatter’d, from his haunt.
And hither, when my eyes have lost their sight,
My limbs their strength, with thee, my child, for guide,
My steps will gladly turn in pilgrimage.
Ever shall gratitude my bosom fill.
And now farewell! But stay. Why dost thou weep?
Oh, if my father tremblingly forebodes
The losing of his daughter, how shall I
Not likewise feel (how can I say it, think it?)
The pain of separation which must come?
Fathers bereav’d might draw an angel’s pity;
But sadder is the lot of children orphan’d.
And I, most miserable, should stand alone
Within the desert of this wild, fierce world!
How could I bear to lose my sole protector?
As thou hast given me strength, I now return it.
Take comfort! let us boldly onward press.
Life is the pledge of life! Upon itself
It builds and for itself alone must answer.
So let us quickly make our last adieu,
And may a joyous meeting recompense
The sorrow and the weakness of this parting!
[They hastily embrace and separate: from a distance they turn and wave a last greeting with outstretched hand and exit.