Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I.: A Garden adorned with busts of the Epic Poets. To the right a bust of Virgil: to the left, one of Ariosto. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
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SCENE I.: A Garden adorned with busts of the Epic Poets. To the right a bust of Virgil: to the left, one of Ariosto. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 3.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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A Garden adorned with busts of the Epic Poets. To the right a bust of Virgil: to the left, one of Ariosto.
PrincessandLeonora,habited as shepherdesses
Smiling thou dost survey me, Leonora.
And with a smile thou dost survey thyself.
What is it? Let a friend partake thy thought!
Thou seemest pensive, yet thou seemest pleas’d.
Yes, I am pleas’d, my princess, to behold
Us twain in rural fashion thus attir’d.
Two happy shepherd-maidens we appear.
And like the happy we are both employ’d.
Garlands we wreathe; this one, so gay with flowers,
Beneath my hand in varied beauty grows:
Thou hast with higher taste and larger heart
The slender phant laurel made thy choice.
The laurel wreath, which aimlessly I twin’d,
Hath found at once a not unworthy head;
I place it gratefully on Virgil’s brow.
[She crowns the bust of Virgil.
With my full joyous wreath the lofty brow
Of Master Ludovico, thus I crown—
[She crowns the bust of Ariosto.
Let him whose sportive sashes never fade.
Receive his tribute from the early spring
My brother is most kind to bring us here
In this sweet season to our rural haunts:
Here, by the hour, in freedom unrestrain’d.
We may dream back the poet’s golden age.
I love this Belriguardo; in my youth
Full many a jovous day I linger’d here,
And this bright sunshine, and this verdant green,
Bring back the feelings of that bygone time.
Yes, a new world surrounds us! Grateful now
The cooling shelter of these evergreens.
The tuneful murmur of this gurgling spring
Once more revives us. In the morning wind
The tender branches waver to and fro.
The flowers look upwards from their lowly beds.
And smile upon us with their childlike eves.
The gardener, fearless grown, removes the roof
That screen’d his citron and his orange trees,
The azure dome of heaven above us rests:
And, in the far horizon, from the hills
The snow in balmy vapor melts away.
Most welcome were to me the genial spring,
Did it not lead my friend away from me.
My princess, in these sweet and tranquil hours,
Remind me not how soon I must depart.
Yon mighty city will restore to thee,
In double measure, what thou leavest here.
The voice of duty and the voice of love
Both call me to my lord, forsaken long;
I bring to him his son, who rapidly
Hath grown in stature and matur’d in mind
Since last they met,—I share his father’s joy.
Florence is great and noble, but the worth
Of all her treasur’d riches doth not reach
The prouder jewels that Ferrara boasts.
That city to her people owes her power;
Ferrara grew to greatness through her princes.
More through the noble men whom chance led here,
And who in sweet communion here remain’d.
Chance doth again disperse what chance collects;
A noble nature can alone attract
The noble, and retain them, as ye do.
Around thy brother, and around thyself,
Assemble spirits worthy of you both,
And ye are worthy of your noble sires.
Here the fair light of science and free thought
Was kindled first, while o’er the darken’d world
Still hung barbarian gloom. E’en when a child,
The names resounded loudly in mine ear,
Of Hercules and Hippolyte of Este.
My father oft with Florence and with Rome
Extoll’d Ferrara! Oft in youthful dream
Hither I fondly turn’d; now am I here.
Here was Petrarca kindly entertain’d,
And Ariosto found his models here.
Italia boasts no great, no mighty name,
This princely mansion hath not call’d its guest.
In fostering genius we enrich ourselves:
Dost thou present her with a friendly gift,
One far more beautiful she leaves with thee.
The ground is hallow’d where the good man treads;
When centuries have roll’d, his sons shall hear
The deathless echo of his words and deeds.
Yes, if those sons have feelings quick as thine;
This happiness full oft I envy thee.
Which purely and serenely thou, my friend,
As few beside thee, dost thyself enjoy.
When my full heart impels me to express
Promptly and freely what I keenly feel,
Thou feel’st the while more deeply, and—art silent.
Delusive splendor doth not dazzle thee,
Nor wit beguile; and flattery strives in vain
With fawning artifice to win thine ear;
Firm is thy temper, and correct thy taste,
Thy judgment just, and, truly great thyself,
With greatness thou dost ever sympathize.
Thou should’st not to this highest flattery
The garment of confiding friendship lend.
Friendship is just; she only estimates
The full extent and measure of thy worth.
Let me ascribe to opportunity,
To fortune too, her portion in thy culture,
Still in the end thou hast it, it is thine,
And all extol thy sister and thyself
Before the noblest women of the age.
That can but little move me, Leonora,
When I reflect how poor at best we are,
To others more indebted than ourselves.
My knowledge of the ancient languages,
And of the treasures by the past bequeath’d.
I owe my mother, who, in varied lore
And mental power, her daughters far excell’d.
Might either claim comparison with her,
’Tis undeniably Lucretia’s right.
Besides, what nature and what chance bestow’d
As property or rank I ne’er esteem’d.
’Tis pleasure to me when the wise converse,
That I their scope and meaning comprehend;
Whether they judge a man of bygone times
And weigh his actions, or of science treat,
Which, when extended and applied to life,
At once exalts and benefits mankind.
Where’er the converse of such men may lead,
I follow gladly, for with ease I follow.
Well pleas’d the strife of argument I hear,
When, round the powers that sway the human breast,
Waking alternately delight and fear,
With grace the lip of eloquence doth play:
And listen gladly when the princely thirst
Of fame, of wide dominion, forms the theme.
When of an able man, the thought profound,
Develop’d skilfully with subtle tact,
Doth not perplex and dazzle, but instruct.
And then, this grave and serious converse o’er,
Our ear and inner mind with tranquil joy
Upon the poet’s tuneful verse repose,
Who through the medium of harmonious sounds
Infuses sweet emotions in the soul.
Thy lofty spirit grasps a wide domain;
Content am I to linger in the isle
Of poesy, her laurel groves among.
In this fair land, I’m told, the myrtle blooms
In richer beauty than all other trees;
Here, too, the Muses wander, yet we seek
A friend and playmate ’mong their tuneful choir
Less often than we seek to meet the bard,
Who seems to shun us, nay, appears to flee,
In quest of something that we know not of,
And which perchance is to himself unknown.
How charming were it, if in happy hour
Encountering us, he should with ecstasy
In our fair selves the treasure recognize,
Which in the world he long had sought in vain!
To your light raillery I must submit;
So light its touch it passeth harmless by.
I honor all men after their desert,
And am in truth toward Tasso only just.
His eye scarce lingers on this earthly scene,
To nature’s harmony his ear is tun’d.
What history offers, and what life presents,
His bosom promptly and with joy receives,
The widely scatter’d is by him combin’d,
And his quick feeling animates the dead.
Oft he ennobles what we count for naught;
What others treasure is by him despis’d.
Thus moving in his own enchanted sphere,
The wondrous man doth still allure us on
To wander with him and partake his joy;
Though seeming to approach us, he remains
Remote as ever, and perchance his eye,
Resting on us, sees spirits in our place.
Thou hast with taste and truth portray’d the bard,
Who hovers in the shadowy realm of dreams.
And yet reality, it seems to me,
Hath also power to lure him and enchain.
In the sweet sonnets, scatter’d here and there,
With which we sometimes find our trees adorn’d,
Creating like the golden fruit of old
A new Hesperia, perceiv’st thou not
The gentle tokens of a genuine love?
In these fair leaves I also take delight.
With all his rich diversity of thought
He glorifies one form in all his strains.
Now he exalts her to the starry heavens
In radiant glory, and before that form
Bows down, like angels in the realms above.
Then stealing after her through silent fields,
He garlands in his wreath each beauteous flower;
And should the form he worships disappear,
Hallows the path her gentle foot hath trod.
Thus like the nightingale, conceal’d in shade,
From his love-laden breast he fills the air
And neighboring thickets with melodious plaints:
His blissful sadness and his tuneful grief
Charm every ear, enrapture every heart—
And Leonora is the favor’d name
Selected for the object of his strains.
Thy name it is, my princess, as ’tis mine.
It would displease me were it otherwise.
Now I rejoice that under this disguise
He can conceal his sentiment for thee,
And am no less contented with the thought
That this sweet name should also picture me.
Here is no question of an ardent love,
Seeking possession, and with jealous care
Screening its object from another’s gaze.
While he enraptur’d contemplates thy worth,
He in my lighter nature may rejoice.
He loves not us,—forgive me what I say,—
His lov’d ideal from the spheres he brings,
And doth invest it with the name we bear;
His feeling we participate; we seem
To love the man, yet only love in him
The highest object that can claim our love.
In this deep science thou art deeply vers’d,
My Leonora, and thy words in truth
Play on my ear, yet scarcely reach my soul.
Thou Plato’s pupil! and not comprehend
What a mere novice dares to prattle to thee?
It must be then that I have widely err’d;
Yet well I know I do not wholly err.
For love doth in this graceful school appear
No longer as the spoil’d and wayward child;
He is the youth whom Psyche hath espous’d:
Who sits in council with the assembled gods,
He hath relinquish’d passion’s fickle sway,
He clings no longer with delusion sweet
To outward form and beauty, to atone
For brief excitement by disgust and hate.
Here comes my brother! let us not betray
Whither our converse hath conducted us;
Else we shall have his raillery to bear.
As in our dress he found a theme for jest.