Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE II. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
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SCENE II. - 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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Princess, Leonora, Alphonso.
Tasso I seek, whom nowhere I can find;
And even here, with you, I meet him not.
Can you inform me where he hides himself?
I have scarce seen him for the last two days.
’Tis his habitual failing that he seeks
Seclusion rather than society.
I can forgive him when the motley crowd
Thus studiously he shuns, and loves to hold
Free converse with himself in solitude;
Yet can I not approve that he should thus
Also the circle of his friends avoid.
If I mistake not, thou wilt soon, O prince,
Convert this censure into joyful praise.
To-day I saw him from afar; he held
A book and scroll, in which at times he wrote,
And then resum’d his walk, then wrote again.
A passing word, which yesterday he spoke,
Seem’d to announce to me his work complete;
His sole anxiety is now to add
A finish’d beauty to minuter parts,
That to your grace, to whom he owes so much,
A worthy offering he at length may bring.
A welcome, when he brings it, shall be his,
And long immunity from all restraint.
Great, in proportion to the lively joy
And interest which his noble work inspires,
Is my impatience at its long delay.
After each slow advance he leaves his task;
He ever changeth, and can ne’er conclude,
Till baffled hope is weary; for we see
Reluctantly postpon’d to times remote
A pleasure we had fondly deem’d so near.
I rather praise the modesty, the care
With which thus, step by step, he nears the goal.
His aim is not to string amusing tales,
Or weave harmonious numbers, which at length,
Like words delusive, die upon the ear.
His numerous rhymes he labors to combine
Into one beautiful, poetic whole;
And he whose soul this lofty aim inspires,
Must pay devoted homage to the Muse.
Disturb him not, my brother, time alone
Is not the measure of a noble work;
And, is the coming age to share our joy,
We of the present must forget ourselves.
Let us, dear sister, work together here!
As for our mutual good we oft have done.
Am I too eager—thou must then restrain;
Art thou too gentle—I will urge him on.
Then we perchance shall see him at the goal,
Where to behold him we have wish’d in vain.
His fatherland, the world, shall then admire
And view with wonder his completed work.
I shall receive my portion of the fame,
And Tasso will be usher’d into life.
In a contracted sphere, a noble man
Cannot develop all his mental powers.
On him his country and the world must work.
He must endure both censure and applause,
Must be compell’d to estimate aright
Himself and others. Solitude no more
Lulls him delusively with flattering dreams.
Opponents will not, friendship dare not, spare:
Then in the strife the youth puts forth his powers,
Knows what he is, and feels himself a man.
Thus will he, prince, owe everything to thee,
Who hast already done so much for him.
Talents are nurtur’d best in solitude,—
A character on life’s tempestuous sea.
Oh, that according to thy rules he would
Model his temper as he forms his taste,
Cease to avoid mankind, nor in his breast
Nurture suspicion into fear and hate!
He only fears mankind who knows them not,
And he will soon misjudge them who avoids.
This is his case, and so by slow degrees
His noble mind is trammell’d and perplex’d.
Thus to secure my favor he betrays,
At times, unseemly ardor; against some
Who, I am well assur’d, are not his foes,
He cherishes suspicion; if by chance
A letter go astray, a hireling leave
His service, or a paper be mislaid,
He sees deception, treachery and fraud,
Working insidiously to sap his peace.
Let us, beloved brother, not forget
That his own nature none can lay aside.
And should a friend, who with us journeyeth,
Injure by chance his foot, we would in sooth
Rather relax our speed, and lend our hand
Gently to aid the sufferer on his way.
Better it were to remedy his pain,
With the physician’s aid attempt a cure,
Then with our heal’d and renovated friend
A new career of life with joy pursue.
And yet, dear friends, I hope that I may ne’er
The censure of the cruel leech incur.
I do my utmost to impress his mind
With feelings of security and trust.
Oft purposely in presence of the crowd,
With marks of favor I distinguish him.
Should he complain of aught, I sift it well,
As lately when his chamber he suppos’d
Had been invaded; then, should naught appear,
I calmly show him how I view the affair.
And, as we ought to practise every grace—
With Tasso, seeing he deserves it well,
I practise patience; you I’m sure will aid.
I now have brought, you to your rural haunts,
And must myself at eve return to town.
For a few moments you will see Antonio;
He calls here for me on his way from Rome.
We have important business to discuss,
Resolves to frame, and letters to indite,
All which compels me to return to town.
Wilt thou permit that we return with thee?
Nay, rather linger here in Belriguardo,
Or go together to Consandoli;
Enjoy these lovely days as fancy prompts.
Thou canst not stay with us? Not here arrange
All these affairs as well as in the town?
So soon, thou takest hence Antonio, too,
Who hath so much to tell us touching Rome.
It may not be, ye children; but with him
So soon as possible will I return:
Then shall he tell you all ye wish to hear,
And ye shall help me to reward the man
Who, in my cause, hath labor’d with such zeal.
And when we shall once more have talk’d our fill,
Hither the crowd may come, that mirth and joy
May in our gardens revel, that for me,
As is but meet, some fair one in the shade
May, if I seek her, gladly meet me there.
And we meanwhile will kindly shut our eyes.
Ye know that I can be forbearing too.
(Turned towards the scene.)
I long have notic’d Tasso: hitherward
Slowly he bends his footsteps; suddenly,
As if irresolute, he standeth still;
Anon, with greater speed he draweth near,
Then lingers once again.
Disturb him not,
Nor when the poet dreams and versifies
Intrude upon his musings,—let him roam.
No, he has seen us, and he comes this way.