Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE II. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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SCENE II. - 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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O baleful light! thou call’st me back to life,
Thou bringest me to knowledge of the world
And of myself again. How barren, bare and hollow
Lies all before me now, and burn’d to ashes!
A heap of ruins is my happiness!
If each and every of thy faithful friends
Who suffer with thee at this hour could bear
A portion of thy sorrows, how would’st thou
Not feel thyself renew’d in strength and courage!
The wound to love like love itself remains
Incurable, unending! Now I know
The terrible disaster which befalls
The man who misses his accustom’d weal.
Oh, why did you allow these well-known walls
To shine upon me with their bravery
Of gold and color, calling back the days—
The yesterdays—of my complete delight
With chilling sense of loss? Why did you not
Envelop halls and chambers with black crape,
So that the everlasting shades of night,
Without me as within, might cast their gloom?
Oh, would that still thy many blessings might
In spite of loss seem something in thy sight!
A dream embodied, free from spirit bonds!
She was the living soul that fill’d this house.
Whene’er I wak’d how sweet before mine eyes
Hover’d the image of the lovely maiden!
Here oft I found a leaflet from her hand,
A soulful, heartfelt word for morning greeting!
How oft the wish to give her father joy
Express’d itself in fresh melodious verse!
The hope of seeing her alone reliev’d
The weary hours of slow laborious days!
And when delay and hindrance clogg’d the wheels,
With what impatience hast thou yearn’d for her,
As the rash lover yearns to see his mistress.
Make no compare between the fire of youth
Devouring selfishly the thing it clutches
And that ecstatic glow a father feels
Who, fill’d with contemplation rapt, rejoices
At all development of wondrous powers,
At all the giant strides in culture’s path.
The present is the pledge that love demands.
The future is the parent’s treasur’d boon.
There lie the spreading acres of his hopes,
And there the ripening harvest of his joys!
Alas! these boundless pleasures thou hast lost;
This ever blossoming hope is now destroy’d.
And have I lost it? But a moment since
Its perfect glory fill’d my joyful soul.
Alas! ’tis gone! Let your laments arise.
Let grief destroy this solid edifice
Which age too generous has preserv’d till now!
Accurs’d be all that’s left to me! accurs’d!
And all that shakes and totters now be welcome!
Boil up, ye floods, break o’er the dykes and change
The land to sea! Ye raging gulfs, o’erwhelm
In dire destruction ship and crew and treasure!
Spread out, ye war-compelling ranks, and drown
The fields with gore and every form of death!
Flash forth, ye lightning bolts, across the waste
And blast the haughty heads of solid towers,
Cast stone from stone, let flames arise and scourge
With horrid fury all the haunts of men,
That I, ring’d round by universal sorrow,
May bend before the Fate that hounds me!
This unexpected tragedy so monstrous
Weighs fearfully upon thee, noble Duke!
Most suddenly it came, not unforewarn’d!
A happy Fate brought her from realms of death,
And in my arms she came to life again.
I saw with hasty passing glance the horror
Which now confronts me with its frozen stare.
I should have punish’d then her recklessness,
Have set my face with sternest opposition
Against her daring, and have check’d the madness
Which blindly deem’d itself invulnerable,
Immortal, and which sent her from the cliff,
Through wood and stream and thicket like a bird.
How should such deeds made certain by success
Have given presentiment of coming woe?
The presage of these woes full well I felt
When I the last—when I the last time saw—
Yea! speak it out—the devastating word
That builds a hedge of darkness round thy way!
Oh, would that I had seen her once again!
Perchance, I might have warded off this blow!
I would have knelt before her, would have pray’d,
Have warn’d her, with a father’s faithful warning,
To spare herself and me, and for the sake Of future fortune to attempt no risk,
Of future fortune to attempt no risk,
Though tempted by the madness of the chase.
Alas! this hour was not vouchsaf’d to me!
And now I’ve lost my precious child forever.
She is no more! Her boldness only grew
From having easily escap’d that fall.
And no one there to warn her, none to guide!
The discipline of childhood was forgotten!
Whose hands did I entrust with such a treasure?
The hands compliant, pampering, of a woman!
No stringent word to bend my daughter’s will
In ways of temperate reasonableness!
With freedom uncontroll’d she let her roam
O’er every field that offer’d reckless daring.
I felt it oft and often half confess’d
That she was ill watch’d by her governess.
Oh, cast not blame upon that hapless creature!
In company with deathless grief she wanders,
God knows in what far land, now, unconsol’d!
She fled! for who could look thee in the face
If conscious that the least reproach were due?
Oh, let me wreak my wrath on blameless others
Lest in despair I tear myself in pieces!
For I myself must bear the blame, though heavy.
Did I not with my foolish fond beginnings
Tempt death and danger on my darling’s head?
It was my pride to see the maiden win
The mastery of every undertaking.
And now I pay the fearful price in full.
In carriage, in the saddle should she shine,
A heroine for guiding foaming steeds!
Or diving through the water did she seem
A goddess to command the elements.
And so she thought to conquer every danger.
Ah me! instead of giving preservation
The wont of danger now has brought her death!
The wont of duty’s grand behests has brought
Death to the ne’er-to-be-forgotten maiden!
And shall I wake thy pain
By telling of the childlike noble action?
Her aged, first and highly-honored friend
And teacher, from this city dwells remote,
In melancholy, pain, misanthropy.
’Twas she alone was able to console him.
Compassion put this on her as a duty;
But often when she wish’d to visit him
Her governess denied her. But she plann’d
To compass it. She boldly used the hours
Devoted to her morning ride to dash
With splendid wild impetuosity
And visit the aged, well-beloved man.
A single groom alone was in the secret.
This time he must have put the saddle on
As we suspect; for he cannot be found.
The wretched man and that unhappy woman
Both vanish’d from the world from fear of thee.
Fortunate both! who nothing have to fear,
Whose sorrow for their master’s vanish joy
Has lightly chang’d to mere anxiety.
I too have naught to fear, have naught to hope,
So let me hear the whole and spare me not
The least detail! My soul is iron wrought.