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SCENE I.—: A Garden. - 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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Obedient to thy wish, I went to Tasso
A second time: I come from him but now.
I sought to move him, yea, I strongly urg’d;
But from his fix’d resolve he swerveth not;
He earnestly entreats that for a time
Thou would’st permit him to repair to Rome.
His purpose much annoys me, I confess;—
I rather tell thee my vexation now,
Than let it strengthen, smother’d in my breast.
He fain would travel, good! I hold him not.
He will depart, he will to Rome; so be it!
Let not the crafty Medici, nor yet
Scipio Gonzaga wrest him from me though!
’Tis this hath made our Italy so great,
That rival neighbors zealously contend
To foster and employ the ablest men.
Like chief without an army, shows a prince
Who round him gathers not superior minds;
And who the voice of Poesy disdains
Is a barbarian, be he who he may.
Tasso I found, I chose him for myself,
I number him with pride among my train;
And having done so much for him already,
I should be loath to lose him without cause.
I feel embarrass’d, prince, for in thy sight
I bear the blame of what to-day befell;
That I was in the wrong. I frankly own,
And look for pardon to thy clemency:
But I were inconsolable could’st thou,
E’en for a moment, doubt my honest zeal
In seeking to appease him. Speak to me
With gracious look, that so I may regain
My self-reliance and my wonted calm.
Feel no disquietude, Antonio;—
In no wise do I count the blame as thine;
Too well I know the temper of the man,
Know all too well what I have done for him,
How often I have spar’d him, and how oft
Towards him I have o’erlook’d my rightful claims.
O’er many things we gain the mastery,
But stern necessity and lengthen’d time
Scarce give a man dominion o’er himself.
When other men toil in behalf of one,
’Tis fit this one with diligence inquire
How he may profit others in return.
He who hath fashion’d his own mind so well,
Who hath aspir’d to make each several science
And the whole range of human lore, his own,
Is he not doubly bound to rule himself?
Yet doth he ever give it e’en a thought?
Continu’d rest is not ordain’d for man!
Still, when we purpose to enjoy ourselves,
To try our valor, fortune sends a foe,
To try our equanimity, a friend.
Does Tasso e’en fulfil man’s primal duty,
To regulate his appetite, in which
He is not, like the brute, restrain’d by nature?
Does he not rather, like a child, indulge
In all that charms and gratifies his taste?
When has he mingled water with his wine?
Comfits and condiments, and potent drinks,
One with another still he swallows down,
And then complains of his bewilder’d brain,
His hasty temper, and his fever’d blood,
Railing at nature and at destiny.
How oft I’ve heard him in a bitter style
With childish folly argue with his leech!
’Twould raise a laugh, if aught were laughable
Which teases others and torments one’s self.
“Oh, this is torture!” anxiously he cries,
Then in splenetic mood, “Why boast your art?
Prescribe a cure!” “Good!” then exclaims the leech.
“Abstain from this or that.” “That can I not.”
“Then take this potion.” “No, it nauseates me;
The taste is horrid, nature doth rebel.”—
“Well then, drink water.” “Water! never more!
Like hydrophobia is my dread of it.”
“Then your disease is hopeless.” “Why, I pray?”
“One evil symptom will succeed another,
And though your ailment should not fatal prove,
’Twill daily more torment you.” “Fine, indeed;
Then wherefore play the leech? You know my case,
You should devise a remedy, and one
That’s palatable too, that I may not
First suffer pain before reliev’d from it.”
I see thee smile, my prince, ’tis but the truth;
Doubtless thyself hast heard it from his lips.
Oft I have heard, and have as oft excus’d.
It is most certain, an intemperate life.
As it engenders wild, distemper’d dreams,
At length doth make us dream in open day.
What’s his suspicion but a troubled dream?
He thinks himself environ’d still by foes.
None can discern his gift who envy not,
And all who envy, hate and persecute.
Oft with complaints he has molested thee:
Notes intercepted, violated locks,
Poison, the dagger! All before him float!
Thou dost investigate his grievance,—well,
Doth aught appear? Why, scarcely a pretext.
No sovereign’s shelter gives him confidence.
The bosom of no friend can comfort him.
Would’st promise happiness to such a man,
Or look to him for joy unto thyself?
Thou would’st be right, Antonio, if from him
I sought my own immediate benefit.
But I have learn’d no longer to expect
Service direct and unconditional.
All do not serve us in the selfsame way;
Who needeth much, according to his gifts
Must each employ, so is he ably serv’d.
This lesson from the Medici we learn’d;
’Tis practis’d even by the popes themselves.
With what forbearance, magnanimity
And princely patience, have they not endur’d
Full many a genius, who seem’d not to need
Their ample favor, yet who needed it!
Who knows not this, my prince? The toil of life
Alone can tutor us life’s gifts to prize.
In youth he hath already won so much;
He cannot relish aught in quietness.
Oh, that he were compell’d to earn the blessings
Which now with liberal hand are thrust upon him!
With manly courage he would brace his strength,
And at each onward step feel new content.
The needy noble has attain’d the height
Of his ambition, it his gracious prince
Raise him, with hand benign, from poverty,
And choose him as an inmate of the court.
Should he then honor him with confidence,
And before others raise him to his side,
Consulting him in war, or state affairs,
Why then methinks, with silent gratitude,
The modest man may bless his lucky fate.
And with all this, Tasso enjoys besides
Youth’s purest happiness:—his fatherland
Esteems him highly, looks to him with hope.
Trust me for this,—his peevish discontent
On the broad pillow of his fortune rests.
He comes, dismiss him kindly, give him time
In Rome, in Naples, wheresoe’er he will,
To search in vain for what he misses here,
Yet here alone can ever hope to find.
Back to Ferrara will he first return?
He rather would remain in Belriguardo.
And, for his journey, what he may require,
He will request a friend to forward to him.
I am content. My sister, with her friend,
Return immediately to town, and I,
Riding with speed, hope to reach home before them.
Thou’lt follow straight when thou for him hast car’d;
Give needful orders to the castellan,
That in the castle he may here abide
So long as he desires, until his friend
Forward his equipage, and till the letters,
Which we shall give him to our friends at Rome,
Have been transmitted. Here he comes. Farewell!