Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE IV. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
Return to Title Page for Goethe’s Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
SCENE IV. - 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.
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.
Princess, Leonora, Alphonso, Tasso, Antonio.
Thou’rt doubly welcome! thou who bring’st at once
Thyself and welcome tidings.
Scarce dare I venture to express the joy
Which in your presence quickens me anew.
In your society I find restor’d
What I have miss’d so long. You seem content
With what I have accomplish’d, what achiev’d;
So am I recompens’d for every care,
For many days impatiently endur’d,
And many others wasted purposely.
At length our wish is gain’d,—the strife is o’er.
I also greet thee, though in sooth displeas’d;
Thou dost arrive when I must hence depart.
As if to mar my perfect happiness,
One lovely part forthwith thou takest hence.
My greetings too! I also shall rejoice
In converse with the much experience’d man.
Thou’lt find me true, whenever thou wilt deign
To glance awhile from thy world into mine.
Though thou by letter hast announc’d to me
The progress and the issue of our cause,
Full many questions I have yet to ask
Touching the course thou hast pursu’d therein.
In that strange region a well-measur’d step
Alone conducts us to our destin’d goal.
Who doth his sovereign’s interest purely seek,
In Rome a hard position must maintain;
For Rome gives nothing, while she grasps at all;
Let him who thither goes some boon to claim,
Go well provided, and esteem himself
Most happy, if e’en then he gaineth aught.
’Tis neither my demeanor nor my art
By which thy will hath been accomplish’d, prince.
For where the skill which at the Vatican
Would not be over-master’d? Much conspir’d
Which I could use in furth’rance of our cause.
Pope Gregory salutes and blesses thee.
That aged man, that sovereign most august,
Who on his brow the load of empire bears,
Recalls the time when he embrac’d thee last
With pleasure. He who can distinguish men
Knows and extols thee highly. For thy sake
He hath done much.
So far as ’tis sincere,
His good opinion cannot but rejoice me.
But well thou knowest, from the Vatican
The pope sees empires dwindled at his feet;
Princes and men must needs seem small indeed.
Confess what was it most assisted thee.
Good! if thou will’st: the pope’s exalted mind.
To him the small seems small, the great seems great.
That he may wield the empire of the world,
He to his neighbor yields with kind goodwill.
The strip of land, which he resigns to thee,
He knoweth, like thy friendship, well to prize.
Italia must be tranquil, friends alone
Will he behold around him, peace must reign
Upon his borders, that of Christendom
The might which he so potently directs
May smite at once the Heretic and Turk.
And is it known what men he most esteems,
And who approach him confidentially?
The experienc’d man alone can win his ear,
The active man his favor and esteem.
He, who from early youth has serv’d the state,
Commands it now, ruling those very courts
Which, in his office of ambassador,
He had observ’d and guided years before.
The world lies spread before his searching gaze,
Clear as the interests of his own domain.
In action we must yield him our applause,
And mark with joy, when time unfolds the plans
Which his deep forethought fashion’d long before.
There is no fairer prospect in the world
Than to behold a prince who wisely rules;
A realm where every one obeys with pride,
Where each imagines that he serves himself,
Because ’tis justice only that commands.
How ardently I long to view that realm!
Doubtless that thou may’st play thy part therein;
For Leonora never could remain
A mere spectator: meet it were, fair friend,
If now and then we let your gentle hands
Join in the mighty game—Say, is’t not so?
(ToAlphonso.) Thou would’st provoke me,—thou shalt not succeed.
I am already deeply in thy debt.
Good; then to-day I will remain in thine!
Forgive, and do not interrupt me now.
Say, hath he for his relatives done much?
No more nor less than equity allows.
The potentate, who doth neglect his friends,
Is even by the people justly blam’d.
With wise discretion Gregory employs
His friends as trusty servants of the state,
And thus fulfils at once two kindred claims.
Doth science, do the liberal arts enjoy
His fostering care? and doth he emulate
The glorious princes of the olden time?
He honors science when it is of use,—
Teaching to govern states, to know mankind;
He prizes art when it embellishes,—
When it exalts and beautifies his Rome,
Erecting palaces and temples there,
Which rank among the marvels of this earth.
Within his sphere of influence he admits
Naught inefficient, and alone esteems
The active cause and instrument of good.
Thou thinkest, then, that we may soon conclude
The whole affair? that no impediments
Will finally be scatter’d in our way?
Unless I greatly err, ’twill but require
A few brief letters and thy signature
To bring this contest to a final close.
This day with justice then I may proclaim
A season of prosperity and joy.
My frontiers are enlarg’d and made secure;
Thou hast accomplish’d all without the sword,
And hence deservest well a civic crown.
Our ladies on some beauteous morn shall twine
A wreath of oak to bind around thy brow.
Meanwhile our poet hath enrich’d us too;
He, by his conquest of Jerusalem,
Hath put our modern Christendom to shame.
With joyous spirit and unwearied zeal,
A high and distant goal he had attain’d;
For his achievement thou behold’st him crown’d.
Thou solvest an enigma. Two crown’d heads
I saw with wonder on arriving here.
While thou dost gaze upon my happiness,
With the same glance, oh, could’st thou view my heart,
And witness there my deep humility!
How lavishly Alphonso can reward
I long have known; thou only provest now
What all enjoy who come within its sphere.
When thou shalt see the work he hath achiev’d,
Thou wilt esteem us moderate and just.
The first, the silent, witnesses are we,
Of praises, which the world and future years
In tenfold measure will accord to him.
Through you his fame is certain. Who so bold
To entertain a doubt when you commend?
But tell me, who on Ariosto’s brow
Hath plac’d this wreath?
It hath done well.
It more becomes him than a laurel crown.
As o’er her fruitful bosom Nature throws
Her variegated robe of beauteous green,
So he enshrouds in Fable’s flowery garb,
Whatever can conspire to render man
Worthy of love and honor. Power and taste.
Experience, understanding, and content,
And a pure feeling for the good and true,
Pervade the spirit of his every song,
And there appear in person, to repose
’Neath blossoming trees, besprinkled by the snow
Of lightly-falling flowers, their heads entwin’d
With rosy garlands, while the sportive Loves
With frolic humor weave their magic spells.
A copious fountain, gurgling near, displays
Strange variegated fish, and all the air
Is vocal with the song of wondrous birds;
Strange cattle pasture in the bowers and glades;
Half hid in verdure, Folly slyly lurks:
At times, resounding from a golden cloud.
The voice of Wisdom utters lofty truth,
While Madness, from a wild harmonious lute,
Scatters forth bursts of fitful harmony,
Yet all the while the justest measure holds.
He who aspires to emulate this man,
E’en for his boldness well deserves a crown.
Forgive me if I feel myself inspir’d,
Like one entranc’d forget both time and place,
And fail to weigh my words; for all these crowns,
These poets, and the festival attire
Of these fair ladies, have transported me
Out of myself into a foreign land.
Who thus can prize one species of desert,
Will not misjudge another. Thou to us
Some future day shalt show in Tasso’s song
What we can feel, and thou canst comprehend.
Come now, Antonio! many things remain
Whereof I am desirous to inquire.
Then till the setting of the sun thou shalt
Attend the ladies. Follow me. Farewell!
[Antoniofollows thePrince. Tassothe ladies.