Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE IV. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
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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.
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(Towards the end of the Scene the others.)
Thou thinkest to forsake us, or remainest
Rather behind in Belriguardo, Tasso.
And then thou wilt withdraw thyself from us?
I trust thine absence will not be for long.
To Rome thou goest?
Thither first I wend,
And if, as I have reason to expect,
I from my friends kind welcome there receive,
With care and patient toil I may, at length,
Impart its highest finish to my poem.
Full many men I find assembled there,
Masters who may be styl’d in every art.
Ay, and in that first city of the world.
Hath not each site, yea, every stone a tongue?
How many thousand silent monitors,
With earnest men, majestic, beckon us!
There if I fail to make my work complete,
I never shall complete it. Ah, I feel it—
Success doth wait on no attempt of mine!
Still altering, I ne’er shall perfect it.
I feel, yea, deeply feel, the noble art
That quickens others, and does strength infuse
Into the healthy soul, will drive me forth,
And bring me to destruction. Forth I haste!
I will to Naples first.
Darest thou venture?
Still is the rigid sentence unrepeal’d
Which banish’d thee, together with thy father.
I know the danger, and have ponder’d it.
Disguis’d I go, in tatter’d garb, perchance
Of shepherd, or of pilgrim, meanly clad.
Unseen I wander through the city, where
The movements of the many shroud the one.
Thee to the shore I hasten, find a bark,
With people of Sorrento, peasant folk,
Returning home from market, for I too
Must hasten to Sorrento. There resides
My sister, ever to my parents’ heart,
Together with myself, a mournful joy.
I speak not in the bark, I step ashore
Also in silence, slowly I ascend
The upward path, and at the gate inquire:
Where may she dwell, Cornelia Sersale?
With friendly mien, a woman at her wheel
Shows me the street, the house; I hasten on;
The children run beside me, and survey
The gloomy stranger, with the shaggy locks.
Thus I approach the threshold. Open stands
The cottage door; I step into the house—
O Tasso! if ’tis possible, look up,
And see the danger that environs thee!
I spare thy feelings, else I well might ask,
Is’t noble so to speak as now thou speakest?
Is’t noble of thyself alone to think,
As if thou didst not wound the heart of friends?
My brother’s sentiments, are they conceal’d?
And how we sisters prize and honor thee,—
Hast thou not known and felt it? Can it be
That a few moments should have alter’d all?
O Tasso, if thou wilt indeed depart,
Yet do not leave behind thee grief and care.
How soothing to the sorrowing heart to give,
To the dear friend who leaves us for a season,
Some trifling present, though ’twere nothing more
Than a new mantle, or a sword perchance!
There’s naught, alas, that we can offer thee,
For thou ungraciously dost fling aside
E’en what thou hast. Thou choosest for thyself
The pilgrim’s scallop shell, his sombre weeds.
His staff to lean on, and departing thus,
In willing poverty, from us thou takest
The only pleasure we could share with thee.
Then thou wilt not reject me utterly?
O precious words! O comfort dear and sweet!
Do thou defend me! Shield me with thy care!—
Oh, send me to Consandoli, or here,
Keep me in Belriguardo, where thou wilt!
The prince is lord of many a pleasant seat,
Of many a garden, which the whole year round
Is duly kept, whose paths ye scarcely tread
A single day, perchance but for an hour.
Then, choose among them all the most remote
Which through long years ye have not visited.
And which perchance e’en now untended lies.
Oh, send me thither! There let me be yours!
And I will tend thy trees! With screen and tile
Will shield thy citrons from autumnal blasts,
Fencing them round with interwoven reeds!
Flowers of the fairest hue shall in the beds
Strike deep their spreading roots; with nicest care
Each pathway, every corner shall be kept.
And of the palace also give me charge!
At proper times the windows I will open,
Lest noxious vapor should the pictures mar;
The walls, with choicest stucco-work adorn’d,
I with light feather-work will free from dust;
There shall the polish’d pavement brightly shine,
There shall no stone, no tiling be misplac’d;
There shall no weeds sprout from the crevices!
I find no counsel in my troubled breast,
And find no comfort for thyself and—us.
Around I look to see if some kind god
Will haply grant us succor, and reveal
Some healing plant, or potion, to restore
Peace to thy ’wilder’d senses, peace to us!
The truest word that floweth from the lip,
The surest remedy hath lost its power.
Leave thee I must,—yet doth my heart refuse
From thee to part.
Ye gods! And is it she?
She who thus pities, who thus speaks with thee?
And could’st thou e’er mistake that noble heart?
And in her presence, was it possible,
That thee despondency could seize, could master?
No, no, ’tis thou! I am myself again!
Oh, speak once more! Sweet comfort let me hear
Again from thy dear lips! Speak, nor withdraw
Thy counsel from me.—Say, what must I do,
That I may win the pardon of the prince,
That thou thyself may’st freely pardon me,
That ye may both with pleasure take me back
Into your princely service? Speak to me.
It is but little we require from thee.
And yet that little seemeth all too much.
Freely should’st thou resign thyself to us.
We wish not from thee aught but what thou art,
If only with thyself thou wert at peace.
When joy thou feelest, thou dost cause us joy,
When thou dost fly from it, thou grievest us;
And if sometimes we are impatient with thee,
’Tis only that we fain would succor thee,
And feel, alas, our succor all in vain,
If thou the friendly hand forbear to grasp,
Stretch’d longingly, which yet doth reach thee not.
’Tis thou thyself, a holy angel still,
As when at first thou didst appear to me!
The mortal’s darken’d vision, oh, forgive,
If while he gaz’d, he for a moment err’d;
Now he again discerns thee, and his soul
Aspires to honor thee eternally.
A flood of tenderness o’erwhelms my heart—
She stands before me! She! What feeling this?
Is it distraction draws me unto thee?
Or is it madness? or a sense sublime
Which apprehends the purest, loftiest truth?
Yes, ’tis the only feeling that on earth
Hath power to make and keep me truly bless’d,
Or that could overwhelm me with despair,
What time I wrestled with it, and resolv’d
To banish it forever from my heart.
This fiery passion I had thought to quell,
Still with mine inmost being strove and strove,
And in the strife my very self destroy’d,
Which is to thee indissolubly bound.
If thou would’st have me, Tasso, listen to thee,
Restrain this fervid glow, which frightens me.
Restrains the goblet’s rim the bubbling wine
That sparkling foams, and overflows its bounds?
Thine every word doth elevate my bliss,
With every word more brightly gleams thine eye,
Over my spirit’s depths there comes a change;
Reliev’d from dark perplexity I feel
Free as a god, and all I owe to thee!
A charm unspeakable, which masters me,
Flows from thy lips. Thou makest me all thine.
Of mine own being naught belongs to me.
Mine eye grows dim in happiness and light,
My senses fail; no more my foot sustains me,
Thou draw’st me to thee with resistless might,
And my heart rushes self-impell’d to thee.
Me hast thou won for all eternity,
Then take my whole of being to thyself.
[He throws himself into her arms, and clasps her to his bosom.
(Throwing him from her and retiring in haste.) Away!
(Who has for some time appeared in the background, hastening forward.) What hath befallen? Tasso! Tasso!
[She follows thePrincess.
(About to follow her.) O God!
(Who has for some time been approaching withAntonio.) He is distracted, hold him fast.