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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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Dear Tasso, what hath chanc’d? Hath passion’s glow,
Hath thy suspicious temper urg’d thee thus?
How hath it happen’d? We are all amaz’d.
Where now thy gentleness, thy suavity,
Thy rapid insight, thy discernment just,
Which doth award to every man his due;
Thine even mind, which beareth, what to bear
The wise are prompt, the vain are slow, to learn;
The prudent mastery over lip and tongue?
I scarcely recognize thee now, dear friend.
And what if all were gone, forever gone!
If as a beggar thou should’st meet the friend
Whom just before thou hadst deem’d opulent!
Thou speakest truth, I am no more myself.
Yet am I now as much so as I was.
It seems a riddle, yet it is not one.
The tranquil moon, that cheers thee through the night,
Whose gentle radiance, with resistless power,
Allures thine eye, thy soul, doth float by day
An insignificant and pallid cloud.
In the bright glare of daylight I am lost,
Ye know me not, I scarcely know myself.
Such words, dear friend, as thou hast utter’d them,
I cannot comprehend. Explain thyself.
Say, hath that rugged man’s offensive speech
So deeply wounded thee, that now thou dost
Misjudge thyself and us? Confide in me.
I’m not the one offended. Me thou seest
Thus punish’d here because I gave offence.
The knot of many words the sword would loose
With promptitude and ease, but I’m not free.
Thou’rt scarce aware,—nay, start not, gentle friend,—
’Tis in a prison thou dost meet me here.
Me, as a schoolboy, doth the prince chastise.—
His right I neither can, nor will dispute.
Thou seemest mov’d beyond what reason warrants.
Dost deem me then so weak, so much a child,
That this occurrence could o’erwhelm me thus?
Not what has happen’d wounds me to the quick,
’Tis what it doth portend that troubles me.
Now let my foes conspire! The field is clear.
Many thou holdest falsely in suspect;
Of this, dear friend, I have convinc’d myself.
Even Antonio bears thee no ill-will,
As thou presum’st. The quarrel of to-day—
Let that be set aside: I only view
Antonio as he was and yet remains.
Still hath his formal prudence fretted me,
His proud assumption of the master’s tone.
Careless to learn whether the listener’s mind
Doth not itself the better track pursue,
He tutors thee in much which thou thyself
More truly, deeply feelest; gives no heed
To what thou sayest, and perverts thy words.
Misconstru’d thus, by a proud man, forsooth,
Who smiles superior from his fancied height!
I am not yet or old or wise enough
To answer meekly with a patient smile.
It could not hold, we must at last have broken;
The evil greater had it been postpon’d.
One lord I recognize, who fosters me,
Him I obey, but own no master else.
In poesy and thought I will be free,
In act the world doth limit us enough.
Yet often with respect he speaks of thee.
Thou meanest with forbearance, prudent, subtle.
’Tis that annoys me; for he knows to use
Language so smooth and so conditional,
That seeming praise from him is actual blame,
And there is nothing so offends my soul,
As words of commendation from his lip.
Thou should’st have heard but lately how he spoke
Of thee and of the gift which bounteous nature
So largely hath conferr’d on thee. He feels
Thy genius, Tasso, and esteems thy worth.
Trust me, no selfish spirit can escape
The torment of base envy. Such a man
Pardons in others honor, rank and wealth;
For thus he argues, these thou hast thyself,
Or thou canst have them, if thou persevere,
Or if propitious fortune smile on thee.
But that which Nature can alone bestow,
Which aye remaineth inaccessible
To toil and patient effort, which nor gold,
Nor yet the sword, nor stern persistency
Hath power to wrest,—that he will ne’er forgive.
Not envy me? The pedant who aspires
To seize by force the favor of the muse?
Who, when he strings the thoughts of other bards,
Fondly presumes he is a bard himself?
The prince’s favor he would rather yield,
Though that he fain would limit to himself,
Than the rare gift which the celestial powers
Have granted to the poor, the orphan’d youth.
Oh, that thy vision were as clear as mine!
Thou read’st him wrongly, thou’rt deceiv’d in him.
And if I err, I err with right good will!
I count him for my most inveterate foe,
And should be inconsolable, were I
Compell’d to think of him more leniently.
’Tis foolish in all cases to be just;
It is to wrong one’s self. Are other men
Towards us so equitable? No, ah, no!
Man’s nature, in its narrow scope, demands
The twofold sentiment of love and hate.
Requires he not the grateful interchange
Of day and night, of wakefulness and sleep?
No, from henceforward I do hold this man
The object of my direst enmity;
And naught can snatch from me the cherish’d joy
Of thinking of him ever worse and worse.
Dear friend, I see not if this feeling last,
How thou canst longer tarry at the court.
Thou know’st the just esteem in which he’s held.
I’m fully sensible, fair friend, how long
I have already been superfluous here.
That thou art not, that thou canst never be!
Thou rather knowest how both prince and princess
Rejoice to have thee in their company.
The sister of Urbino, comes she not,
As much for thine as for her kindred’s sake?
They all esteem thee, recognize thy worth.
And each confides in thee without reserve.
O Leonora! Call that confidence!
Of state affairs has he one single word.
One earnest word, vouchsaf’d to speak with me?
In special cases, when he has advis’d
Both with the princess, and with others too,
To me, though present, no appeal was made.
The cry was ever then. Antonio comes!
Consult Antonio! To Antonio write!
Thanks here, methinks, were juster than complaint.
Thus in unchalleng’d freedom leaving thee,
He to thy genius fitting homage pays.
He lets me rest, because he deems me useless.
Thou art not useless, e’en because thou restest.
Care and vexation, like a child belov’d.
Thou still dost cherish, Tasso, in thy breast.
It oft has struck me, and the more I think,
The more convinc’d I feel: on this fair soil,
Where fate auspicious seem’d to plant thy lot,
Thou dost not flourish.—May I speak, my friend?
May I advise thee?—Thou should’st hence depart.
Spare not thy patient, gentle leech! Extend
The draught medicinal, nor think thereon
If it is bitier.—This consider well,
Kind, prudent friend, if he can yet be cur’d!
I see it all myself, ’tis over now!
Him I indeed could pardon, he not me;
He’s needful to them, I, alas! am not.
And he has prudence, I, alas! have none.
He worketh to my injury, and I
Cannot and will not counterwork. My friends
Leave things to chance, they see things otherwise,
They scarcely struggle, who should stoutly fight.
Thou think’st I should depart, I think so too:—
Then farewell, friends!—This, too, I must endure.
You’re parted from me.—Oh, to me be given
The courage and the strength to part from you!
Seen from a distance things show less confus’d,
That in the present serve but to perplex.
Perchance, when absent, thou wilt recognize
The love which here environs thee, wilt learn
The worth of friends, and feel how the wide world
Cannot replace those dearest to the heart.
I shall experience this! Alas! I’ve known,
The world from early youth, how, pressing on,
She lightly leaves us, helpless and forlorn,
Like sun and moon and other deities.
Dear friend, if thou wilt lend an ear to me,
This sad experience thou wilt not repeat.
If I may counsel thee, thou wilt at first
Repair to Florence,—there thou’lt find a friend
Will cherish thee most kindly—’tis myself!
Thither I travel soon to meet my lord,
And there is nothing would afford us, Tasso,
A richer pleasure than thy company.
I need not tell thee, for thyself dost know,
How noble is the prince who ruleth there;
What men, what women, too, our favor’d town
Doth cherish in her bosom. Thou art silent!
Consider well my counsel, and resolve!
Full of sweet promise are thy words, dear friend,
And in accordance with my secret wish.
But ’tis too sudden; let me pause awhile,—
Let me consider! I will soon resolve!
I leave thee now, and with the fairest hope
For thee, for us, and also for this house.
Only reflect, and weigh the matter well;
Thou scarcely wilt devise a better plan.
Yet one thing more, tell me, beloved friend,
How is the princess minded towards me? Speak!
Was she displeas’d with me? Give me her words.—
Hath she severely blam’d me? Tell me all!
She knows thee well, and therefore has excus’d thee.
Say, have I lost her friendship? Flatter not.
A woman’s friendship is not lightly lost.
Without reluctance will she let me go?
If ’twill promote thy welfare, certainly.
Shall I not lose the favor of the prince?
His nature’s noble, thou may’st trust in him.
And shall we leave the princess all alone?
Thou leavest her; and though perhaps not much,
I know full well that I was something to her.
An absent friend is sweet society,
When of his welfare we are well assur’d.
My plan succeeds, I see thee happy now;
Thou wilt not hence depart unsatisfied.
The prince commands; Antonio seeks thee, Tasso.
He censures in himself the bitterness
With which he wounded thee. I do entreat.
Receive him with forbearance, when he comes.
I have no cause to shun the interview.
And oh! dear friend, that Heaven would grant me this:
To make it clear to thee ere thou departest.
That in thy fatherland there is not one
Pursues thee, hates, or covertly molests.
Thou art deceiv’d, and as for others’ pleasure
Wont art thou still to poetize, alas!
Thou in this case dost weave a cunning web
To blind thyself, the which to rend asunder,
I’ll do mine utmost, that with vision clear
Thou may’st pursue life’s glad career untrammel’d.
Farewell! I hope for happy words ere long.