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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(With embarrassment.) The favor thou so oft has shown me, prince,
Is manifest, in clearest light, to-day.
The deed which, in the precincts of thy palace,
I lawlessly committed, thou hast pardon’d;
Thou hast appeas’d and reconcil’d my foe;
Thou dost permit me for a time to leave
The shelter of thy side, and rich in bounty.
Wilt not withdraw from me thy generous aid.
Inspir’d with confidence, I now depart,
And trust that this brief absence will dispel
The heavy gloom that now oppresses me.
My renovated soul shall plume her wing.
And pressing forward on the bright career,
Which, glad and bold, encourag’d by thy glance,
I enter’d first, deserve thy grace anew.
Prosperity attend thee on thy way!
With joyous spirit, and to health restor’d,
Return again amongst us. Thus thou shalt
To us, in double measure, for each hour
Thou now depriv’st us of, requital bring.
Letters I give thee to my friends at Rome,
And also to my kinsmen, and desire
That to my people everywhere thou should’st
Confidingly attach thyself;—though absent,
Thee I shall certainly regard as mine.
Thou dost, O prince, o’erwhelm with favors one
Who feels himself unworthy, who e’en wants
Ability to render fitting thanks.
Instead of thanks I proffer a request!
My poem now lies nearest to my heart.
My labors have been strenuous, yet I feel
That I am far from having reach’d my aim.
Fain would I there resort, where hovers yet
The inspiring genius of the mighty dead,
Still raining influence; there would I become
Once more a learner, then more worthily
My poem might rejoice in thine applause.
Oh, give me back the manuscript, which now
I feel asham’d to know within thy hand.
Thou wilt not surely take from me to-day
What but to-day to me thou hast consign’d.
Between thy poem, Tasso, and thyself
Let me now stand as arbiter. Beware—
Nor, through assiduous diligence, impair
The genial nature that pervades thy rhymes:
And give not ear to every critic’s word!
With nicest tact the poet reconciles
The judgments thousandfold of different men,
In thoughts and life at variance with each other;
And fears not numbers to displease, that he
Still greater numbers may enchant the more.
And yet I say not but that here and there
Thou may’st, with modest care, employ the file.
I promise thee at once, that in brief space,
Thou shalt receive a copy of thy poem.
Meanwhile I will retain it in my hands,
That I may first enjoy it with my sisters.
Then, if thou bring’st it back more perfect still,
Our joy will be enhanc’d, and here and there,
We’ll hint corrections, only as thy friends.
I can but modestly repeat my prayer;
Let me receive the copy with all speed.
My spirit resteth solely on this work,
Its full completion it must now attain.
I praise the ardor that inspires thee, Tasso!
Yet, were it possible, thou for awhile
Should’st rest thy mind, seek pleasure in the world,
And find some means to cool thy heated blood.
Then would thy mental powers restor’d to health,
Through their sweet harmony, spontaneous yield,
What now, with anxious toil, in vain thou seekest.
My prince, it seems so, but I am in health
When I can yield myself to strenuous toil,
And this my toil again restores my health.
Long hast thou known me, thou must long have seen
I thrive not in luxurious indolence.
Rest brings no rest to me. Alas, I feel it;
My mind, by nature, never was ordain’d,
Borne on the yielding billows of the hour,
To float in pleasure o’er time’s ample sea.
Thine aims, thy dreams, all whelm thee in thyself.
Around us there doth yawn full many a gulf,
Scoop’d by the hand of destiny; but here,
In our own bosoms, lies the deepest;—ay!
And tempting ’tis to hurl one’s self therein!
I charge thee, Tasso, snatch thee from thyself!
The man will profit, though the bard may lose.
To quell the impulse I should vainly strive,
Which ceaseless in my bosom, day and night
Alternates ever. Life were life no more
Were I to cease to poetize, to dream.
Would’st thou forbid the cunning worm to spin,
For that to nearer death he spins himself?
From his own being he unfoldeth still
The costly texture, nor suspends his toil,
Till in his shroud he hath immur’d himself.
Oh, to us mortals may some gracious power
Accord the insect’s enviable doom,
In some new sunny vale, with sudden joy,
To spread our eager pinions!
List to me!
Thou givest still to others to enjoy
Life with a twofold relish. Learn thyself
To know the worth of life, whose richest boon
In tenfold measure is bestow’d on thee.
Now fare thee well! The sooner thou returnest
All the more cordial will thy welcome be.