Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE II.—: The Same. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
Return to Title Page for Goethe’s Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
SCENE II.—: The Same. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Governor. Adjutants.
I crave a pardon for my over boldness;
Oh, wilt thou heed the stranger in thy way?
(After long and attentive contemplation.) One who, like thee, commends herself at sight
Will be secure of friendliest reception.
No bright and friendly matter do I bring;
The deepest woe compels me to address thee.
Then let it be my duty to dispel it;
Or failing that, to make it light to bear.
She who petitions is of loftiest race;
And yet she has no right to bear its name.
A name is soon forgotten; but thy face
Would stay forever in the memory.
Me from my father’s breast to the wild sea
Has treacherous violence harshly torn and forc’d.
Who with irreverent, hostile hand could think
Of bringing pain to such a peaceful heart?
Suspicion only tells me that this blow
Wag’d by a member of my race fell on me.
Misled by selfishness and evil counsels
My brother plotted this destruction for me.
And she whom here thou seest, who nurtured me,
I know not why, sides with my enemies.
I side with her and mitigate an evil
Which I, alas! cannot entirely cure.
She forces me to embark upon the ship;
She carries me away to yonder isles!
If I myself go with thee on this exile
It proves my love and motherly devotion.
Forgive me, honor’d ladies, if, one instant,
Surprise at seeing and at hearing you
O’ercomes a man who, young in years, has seen
And has consider’d many things in life.
Ye both to me seem worthy of belief;
And yet does each of you distrust the other.
At least it seems so. What am I to do
To disentangle now the twisted threads
Which in a puzzling knot so strangely bind you?
If thou wilt hear me I will tell thee more.
I also much am able to explain.
That oftentimes we are deceiv’d by strangers
Must also prejudice the truth when seen
Behind the seeming of adventurers.
If thou dost not believe me I am lost.
E’en if I did believe ’tis hard to help.
Oh, send me to my father’s house again!
To rescue outcast children, to protect
Foundlings or those who have been put away
Brings small reward to wisely-thinking men.
About the inheritance of property
Arises question of the rightful heir,
And hateful passions seethe, and if relations
Brawl noisily about the Mine and Thine
The stranger who shall meddle wins the hate
Of both sides. Not infrequently indeed,
If his more strenuous interference fail,
In shame before the judgment he is brought.
And so excuse me if I cannot promise
A hopeful answer to thy pressing claim.
If such timidity becomes the noble,
Then whither shall the poor downtrodden turn?
Yet certainly thou wilt excuse me now,
Since urgent business calls me swiftly hence,
If I invite thee early on the morrow
To seek my palace, there more comfortably
To learn the heavy fate that weighs thee down.
With pleasure will I come. And in advance
Accept my earnest thanks for my relief.
(Putting a paper into his hands.) If we do not accept thy invitation
This leaflet will appear our exculpation.
(Reading it attentively and handing it back.) My only service to thee then can be
To wish that thou may’st have a fortunate voyage,
Submission to thy destiny, and hope.