Friedrich Schiller.

Poems online

. (page 12 of 20)
Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerPoems → online text (page 12 of 20)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

While each witiif bs heuce is di'iven out

Of frail mau'j necessity.

WTien thou 8ccst the mighty precept placed
In Humanity's sad waste,

Or when to the Holy, guilt draws uigh,
Theu thy virtue v/ell m.iy pallid be
In the rays of truth, — despondingly

From the Ideal shamefaced action fly»
Naiighfc created e'(>r surmounted this,

Not a bark, no bridge's span can bear
Safely o'er that terrible abyss,

And no anchor catches there.

But, by fleeing from the sense confin'd
To the freedom of the mind,

Ev'ry dre .m of f^^ir thou'it find thence flowi:.
And the endless depth itseli will fill ;
If thou tak'st the Godhead in tliy will,

'Twill soar upwards from its earthly throne.
Servile minds alone, that scorn its swma-,

Are subdued by precept's rigid rod ;
With the man's resistance dies away

E'en the glory of the God.

When thou art weighd down by humm ciu-e.
When the son of Priam there

Strives against the snakes with speechless pain.
Then let man revolt I Then let his cry
To the canopy of heaven mount high, —

Let thy feelmg heaii be n-nt in twain !
Let the radiant cheek of joy turn pale.

Nature's fearful voice triumphant be.
And let holy pvmpathy prevail

O'er thine immortality !

But in yonder blissfrd realms afar.
Where the forms unsullied are,

Sorrow's mournful tempests cease to rarCc
Tliere ri-tleetion cannot pierce the soul.
Tears of anguish there Xio longer roll,


Naught remains but mind's resistance brav&
Beauteous e'en as Iris' color"(l bow

On the tLunder-clond's poft vaporous dew,
Glimm'ring through the dusky veil of woe

There is seen pest's radiant bhxe.

Great Alcides erst iu endless strife
Trod the weary path of life,

Humbled e'en tiie coward's slave to be,—
Jaugg'd the lion, and the hydra fought ;
Into Charon's bark, he, dreading naught.

Plunged alive, that he his friend might fres.
All the heavy loads tiiat earth L) rings forth,

On the shoulders of the hated one,
By the Goddess are heap'd up in wrath.

Till at length his race is run.

Till the god soars hence like some bright flame.
Casting off his earthly frame.

And the sether's balmy incense drinks.
In his new unwonted pinions glad,
UlJward flies he, and the vision sad

Life hiid fashion'd, si;dvs, and sinks, and sinks
Harmony, that of Olympus speaks,

flails the blest one where Kronion lives,
And the Goddess with the rosy cheeks

Smilingly the chalice gives.


A BRIDGE of pearls ilg fonn upreart
High o'er a grey and misty set ;

jG'en in a moment it appears,
And rises ujjwards giddily.

Beneath its arch can find a road

The loftiest vessel's mast most high.

Itself hatli never born a load.
And seems, when thou draw'st near, tc


it comes first willi lli<> utrofim, and goes

Soon ns tlie wiit'ry 11' "ul is ilricil.
Wliere nmy Vie found tliis bridge, disclose^

And wbo its beauteous form supplied 1


ifc bears thee many a mile away,
And yet its pliioe it changes ne'er;

It has no pinions to display,
And yet conducts thee through the air.

It is the bark of swiftest motion
Tliat every weary w nndcrer bore ;

With sj^ecHl of tliought the greatest oceaii
It carries thee i!i safety o'er ;
One moment wafts thee to the shore.


Upon a spacious meadow play
Thoiisands of sheep, of eilv'iy hue ;

And as wo see them move to-day,
The man most aged saw them too.

They ne'er grow old, and, from a rill
That never dries, their life is drawn ;

A shepherd watches o'er tlu>m still.
With curv'd and beauteous silver horn.

He drives them out through gates of gold.
And ev'ry night their number counts ;

Yet ne'er has lost, of all his fold.

One lamb, though oft that path he mouutfe

A hound attends him faithfully,
A nimble ram precedes the v/ay ;
Canst Ihou jioint out that llock to me.

And who the shepherd, canst thou say ?

1&2 ^AEABLES AND felDibriS.


£here stands a dwelling, vast and tall.

On nuseen cohimns fair ;
iAo -wanderer treads or leaves its hall.

And none can linger there.

Its wondrous stmctnre first was plann\|

"With art no mortal knows ;
It lights the lamps with its own hand

'Mongst which it brightly glows.

It has a roof, as crystal bright,
Form'd of one gem of dazzling lighi |
Yet mortal eye has ne'er
Seen Him who placed it there.


Within a well two buckets lie
One mounts, and one descends ;

When one is full, and rises high



The other downward wends.

They wander ever to and fro—
Now empty are, now overflow.
If to the mouth thou liftest i/iis.
That hangs within the dark abyss.
In the same moment they can ne'er
"Afresh thee with their treasures fair.


Know'st thou the form on tender f^roundr

It gives itself its glow, its light ;
And though each moment changing fouii4

Is ever whole and ever bright.
In narrow compass 'tis confin'd,

Within the smallest frame it lies ;
let all things great that move tliy mincL

That form alone to thee supplies.

Anrt cnnst thou, too, tlio crystal name ?

No gem can equal it in Avortli ;
It gleams, yet kindles ne'e r to flame,

It Bneks in even all tlie earth.
Within its briglit ai.d vondrons ring

Is pictnr'd forth tlie glow of heaven,
And yet it mirrors bade each thing

Par fiiirer than to it 'twas given.

Il'or ages an edifice hero has been found,

It is not a dwelling, it is not a fane ;
A horseman for linndreils of days may ride round.

Yet the end of his journey he ne'er can attain.

Full raaii;y a century o'er it has pass'd,

The might of the storm and of time it defies ;
'Neath the rainbow of Heaven stands free to th€
last, —
In the ocean it dips, and soars up to the skies.
It was not vain glory that bade its erection.
It serves as a refuge, a shield, a protection ;
Its like on the earth never yet has been known
And yet by man's hand it is fashion'd alone.


Amongst all sei-pents there is one.

Born of no earthly bi'eed ;
In fnrv wild it stands alone.

And in its matchless speed.

"With fearful voice and headlong forod

It rushes on its prey.
And sweei^s the rider and his horsa

In one fell swoop away.

The highest point it loves to gain ;

And neither bar nor lock
Its fiery onslauglit can restrain ;

And arms, — invite its shock.


It tears in twain like tender grass,

The strongest forest-tree ;
It grinds to dust the liarden'd brass,

Tlioiigh stout and firm it be.

And yet tliis beast, that none can tame.
Its threat ne'er twice fulfils ;

It dies in its self-kindled flame.
And dies e'en when it kills.


We children six our being had

From a most strange and wondrous paiTj,
Our mother ever gTave and sad,

Our father ever free from care.

Our wtues we from both receive, —

Meekness from her, from him our light ;

And so in endless youth we weave
Bound thee a circling figure bright.

We ever shun the caverns black,
And revel in the glowing day ;

'Tis we who light the world's dark track;
With our life's clear and magic ray.

Spring's joyful harbingers are we,
And her inspiring strains we swell ;

And so the lioiise of death we flee,
For life alone must round us dwell.

Without us is no perfect bliss,

When man is glad, we, too, attend,

And Tviien a monarch worshipetl is,
To him our majesty we lend.


What is the thing esteem'd by few ?

The monarch's hand it decks with pridSj
Yet it is mnde to injure too,

And to the bword is most allied.


No blood it slieds, yet many a wound

Inflicts, — f^ives -wealth, jct takes from none ;

Has vaiKjiiisli'd e'eu tlie earth's wide round,
And makes life's current smoothly run.

The greatest kingdoms it has fram'd,

The oldest cities rear'd from dust,
Yet war's fierce torch has ne'er inflam'd ;

Happy are they who iu it trust 1


I live within a dwelling of stone,

There buried iu slumber I dally ;
Yet, arm'd with a weapon of iron alone.

The foe to encounter I sally.
At first I'm invisible, feeble, and mean.

And o'er mo thy breath has dominion ;
I'm easily drown'd in a rain-drop e'en,

Yet in victory waxes my pinion.
When my sistei", all-powerful, gives me her hand,
To the terrible lord of the world I expand.


Upon a disk my course I trace.

There restlessly forever flit ;
Small is the circuit I embrace.

Two hands suffice to cover it.
Yet ere that field I traverse, I

Full many a thousand mile must go.
E'en though with tempest-speed I fly.

Swifter than arrow from a bow.


A bird it is, whose rapid motion
With eagle's flight divides the air ;

A fish it is, and parts the ocean.
That b jre a greater monster ne'er ;

An elephant it is, whose rider.

On his broad back a tower has put :

196 THE "WALK.

'Tis like the reptile baso, tlie spider,
Wlieuever it extends its foot ;

And. when, with iron tooth projecting.
It seeks its o^\^l life-blood to drj in.

On footing firm, its - If ei'ecting,
It braves the raginr^ hurricane.


Hatl to thee, mountain belovVl, with thy glittering
purple-dyed summit I
Hail to tliee also fair sun, looking so li>viugly on !
Thee, too, I hail, thou smiling plain, and ye murmur-
ing lindens.
Ay, and the chorus so glad, cradled on yonder high
boughs ;
Thee, too, peaceable azure, in infinite measure extending
Round the dusky-hued m junt, over the forest so
Round about me, who now from my chamber's confine-
ment escaioiug,
And from vain frivolous talk, gladly seek refuge with
Through me to quicken me runs the balsamic stream of
thy breezes,
"While the energetical light freshens the gaze as it
Bright o'er the blooming meadow the changeable colors
are gleaming,
But the strife, full of charms, in its own grace melts
Freely the plain receives me, with carpet far away
Over its friendly green wanders the pathway a'.ong.
Round me is humming the busy bee, and Aviih pinion
Hovers the butterfly gay over the trefoil's red flow'r.
Fiercely the darts of the sim fall on me, — the zephyr is
Only the song of the lark echoes athwart the clear

• In this, 88 in all the rest of Sohiller's Elegiacs tUe orJ|^al ujeH'O
Jias been retained. (Sec /Ye/ff*e.)


Now from the neigliboriug copso comes fi roar, and the
tops of the alcici'3
Bond low duTVi), — iu the wiud dances the silvery graas .;
Night nml)rosial circles me round ; in the coolness su
Greets me a beauteous rooi, form'd by the beeches'
SAVOet shndo.
Iu the depths of the -wood the landscape suddenly leavse
And a serpontin.' p'lth guidoa up my footsteps on )iigh.
Only by stealth tau the light through the leafy trellii* -A
Sparingly pierce, and the blue smilingly peeps through
the boughs.
But iu a moment tho vail is rcn*., and the opening ft)rer,t
Suddc uly gives back the day's glittering brightness to
rue !
Ooundlessly seems the distance before my gaze to bo
And in a purple-tinged hill terminates sweetly the

Deep at t!io loot of the mountain, ihaf. rindcr me falls
r.way steeply,
Wanders the greenish-hued stream, looking like glass
as it flows.
Eudlessiy under me see 1 the ^tlier, and endlessly o ei
me, —
Giddily look I above, shudd'ringly look I below.
But between the ijifinite height and tie infiuxie hollc-:v
Safely the wanderer moves over a well-guarded path
Smilingly past me are Hying the banks all-teeming with
And the valley so bright boasts of its industry glad.

Sec how yonder hedgerows that sever the farmer's pw
Have by Demeter been v/ork'd into the tapettriet
plain !
Kindly decree of the law, of the Deity mortal-sustaining
Biiice from the brazen world Love vauieh'd for evel

198 THE WAIig.

But in freer windings the measiir'd pastures are trarers'd

(Now swallow'd up in the wood, now climbing iip to

the hiils)

By a glimmering streak, the highway that knits lands

together ;

Over the smooth- flowing stream, quietly glide on the

rafts. .

Ofttimes resound the bells of the flocks in the fields that
seem living,
And the shepherd's lone song wakens the echo again.
iToyous villages crown the stream, in the copse others
While from the back of the mount, others plunge
wildly below.
Man still lives with the laud in neighborly friendship
And I'ound his sheltering roof calmly repose still his
fields ;
Trustingly climbs the vine high over the low-reaching
While round the cottage the tree circles its f ar-stretch-
iug boughs.
Happy race of the plain ! Not yet awaken'dto freedom,
Thou and thy pastures with joy share ia tiie limited
law ;
Bounded thy wishes all are by the harvest's peace-
able circuit,
And thy lifetime is spent e'en as the task of the day !

But what suddenly hides the beauteous view ? a strange
Over the still-stranger plain spreads itself quickly
afar —
Ooyly separates now, what scarce had lovingly mingled,
And 'tis the like tliat alone joins itself on to tho like.
Orders I see depicted ; the haughty tribes of the pop-
Marshaled in regular jjomp, stately and beauteoua
&.11 give token of rule and choice, and all has its mean-

'Tis tJiis uniform plan points out the Buler to me.
Brightly the i^litieriug domes in far-away distance pro*
ciaiaa iiiiu.


Out of the kernel of rocks risrs the city's high wall.
Into the desert without, the Fuuub of the forest are
But by duvotion is lent life moP ; sublime to thq stone.
Man is brought into nearer union with man, and round
Closer, more actively wakes, swifter moves in him the
See ! the emulous forces in fiery conflict are kindled,
Much they eflect when they strive, more they elTect
when they join.
Thousands of hands by one spirit are mov'd, yet in
thousands of bosoms
Beats one heart all alone, by but one feeling inspir'd — •
Beats for their native laud, and glows for their ances-
tors' precepts ;
Here ou the well-belov'd spot, rest now their time-
honored bones.

Down from the heavens descend the blessed troop of
lu the bright circle divine making their festal abode;
Granting glorious gifts, they ajjpear : and first of all,
Offers the gift of the plough, Hermes the anchor
brings next.
Bacchus the grape, and Minerva the verdant olive-tree's
Even his charger of war brings there Poseidon a*
Mother Cybelc yokes to the pole of her chariot the lions.
And through the wide-open door comes as a citizen in.
Sacred stones ! 'Tis from ye that proceed Humanity's
Morals and arts ye sent forth, e'en to the ocean's far
Twas at these friendly gates that the law was spoken by
snges ;
In ihAv Penates' defence, heroes rushed out to the
On the high walls appear'd the mothers, embracing
tlieir infants,
Looking after the march, till in the distance 'twaii


Then in prayer tliey threw themselves down, at the
Deities' altars,
Praying for triumph and fame, praying for your safe
Honor and triumph were yours, but naught return'd
save your glory,
And by a heart-touching stone, told are your valorous
"Traveler! when thou com'st to Sparta, proclaim to
the people
That thou hast seen us lie here, as by the lav/ wo
were bid. "
Slumber calmly, ye lov'd ones ! for pprinkl'd o'er by
your life-blood,
Flourish the olive-trees there, joyously sprouts the
good seed.
In its possessions exulting, industry gladly is kindled,
And from tlie sedge of the stream smilingly signs tue
blue God.
Crushingly falls the ax on the tree, the Dryad sighs
sadly ;
Down from the crest of the mount pkinges the thun-
dering load.
Wing'd by the lever, the stone from the rocky crevice
is loosen'd ;
Into the mountain's abyss boldly the miner descends,
Mulciber's anvil resoimds with the measur'd strote of
the hammer ;
Under the fist's nervouf blows spurt out tlie spaiks of
the steel.
Brilliantly twines the golden flay round the swift- whirl-
ing spindles,
Through the strings of the yarn whizzes the shuttle

Far in the roads :le pilot calls, and the vessels are

That to the foreigner's land carry the produce of

home ;
Others gladly approach with th< treasures of far distant

High on the mast's lofty head flcifters tL^e garland of

Seo how yon markets, those cenfci'e,s of iiffo q.nd of gla4'

ness, are swarming: J

THE WALK. '201

Stranpo confusion of tonnes sounds in the wondering
On to the pile tlie wealth of the earth is heap'd by the
All that the sun's scorching rays bring forth on Africa's
All that Arabia prepares, that the uttermost Thule
High with heart-gladdening stores fills Amalthea her
Fortune wedded to Talent gives birth there to children
Suckled in Liberty's arms, flourish the Arts there of


With the image of life the eyes by the sculptor are
ravish 'd.
And by the chisel iuspir'd, speaks e'en the sensitive
Skies artificial repose on slender Ionian columns,

And a Pantheon includes all that Olympus contains.
Light as the rainbow's spring through the air, as the
dart from the bowstring.
Leaps the yoke of the bridge over the boisterous

But in his silent chamber the thoughtful sage is pro-
Magical circles, and steals e'en on the spirit that
Proves the force of matter, the hatreds and loves of the
Follows the tune through the air, follows through
aether the ray.
Seeks the familiar law in chance's miracles dreaded,
Looks for the ne'er-changing pole in the phenomena's
Bodies and voices are lent by writing to thought ever
Over th(> centuries' stream bears it the eloquent page.
Then to the wondering gaze dissolves the cloud of the
And the vain phantoms of night yield to the dawning
of day.
Man now breaks through his fetters, the happy One J
Oh, let him never *


Break from the bridle of shame, when from fear's

fetters he breaks !
Freedom ! is Reason's cry, — ay. Freedom ! The wild

raging passions
Eagerly cast off the bonds nature divine had impos'd.

^h ! in the tempest the anchors break loose, that warn-
ingly held him
On to the shore, and the stream tears him along in its
flood, —
Into infinity whirls him, — the coasts soon vanish before
High on the mountainous waves rocks all- dismasted
the bark ;
Under the clouds are hid the steadfast stars of the chariot,
Naught now remains, — in the breast even the God
goes astray.
Truth disappears from language, from life all faith and
all honor
Vanish, and even the oath is bxit a lie on the lips,
[nto the heart's most trusty bond, andinto love's secrets,
Presses the sycophant base, tearing the friend from
the friend.
Treason on luEocence leers, ^ith looks that seek to de-
And the fell slanderer's tooth kills with its poisonous
bite. <

In the dishonored bosom, thought is now venal, and
love, too.
Scatters abroad to the winds, feelings once God-like
and free.
All thy holy symbols, O Truth, Deceit has adopted,
And has e'en dar'd to pollute Nature's own voices so
That the craving heart in the tumult of gladness dis-
covers ;
True sensations are now mute and can scarcely be
Justice boasts at the tribune, and Harmony vaunts >u
the cottage,
While the ghost of the law stands at the throne of the
Tears together, ay, centuries long, may the mummy

Tnn WALK. 203

And tlio deception onduro, apinpr thn fulness of life.
iQutil Nature awukcs, nud with hands all- brazen and
'Gainst the hollow form'd pile Time and Necessity
Like a tif^ress, who, bursting the massive grating of
Of her Numidinn wood suddenly, fearfully thinks, —
So witli the fury of crime and an;^uish, humanity rises
Hoping nature, long lost, iu the town's ashes to tind.
Oh then open, ye walls, and set the captive at freedom 1

To the long desolate plains let him in safety re-
turn !
But where am I ? The path is now hid, declivities
Bar, with their wide yawning gulf, progress before
and behind.
Now far behind me is left the gardens' and hedges' sure
Every trace of man's hand also remains far beldnd.
Only the matter I see piled up whence life has its
And the raw mass of basalt waits for a fashioning
Down through its channel of rock the torrent roaringly
Angrily forcing a path under the roots of the trees.
AU is here wild and fearfully desolate. Naught but the
Hangs in the lone realms of air, knitting the world to
the clouds.
Not one zephyr on soaring pinion conveys to my
Echoes, however remote, marking man's pleasures
and pains.
Am I iu truth, then, alone ? Within thine arms on thy
Nature, I lie once again! — Ah, and 'twas only a
That assail'd me with horrors so fearful ; with life's
dreaded phantom,
And with the down- rushing vale, vanished the gloomy
one too.

^04 tv:b song op the bell.

Purer my life I receive again from thine Jtar un-
snilitd, —
Purer receive the bright glow felt by m/ youth's
hopeful days.
Ever the will is changing its aim and its rule, while for
In a still varying form, actions revolve round them-
' selves.

But in enduring youth, in beauty ever renewing.

Kindly Nature, with grace thou dost revere the old
Ever the same for the man in thy faithful hands thou
That which the child in its sport, that which the youth
lent to thee ;
At the same breast thou dost suckle the ceaselessly-
varying ages ;
Under the same azure vault, over the same verdant
Races, near and remote, in harmony wander together, — ■
See, even Homer's own sun looks on its, too, with a
smile i



WaijIj'd securely in the ground,

Stands the mould of well-bak'd clay:
Comrades, at your task be found!
We must cast the Bell to-day!
Fi'oip the b'.irning brow
Sweat must run, I trow,
"Would we have our work commended —
Blessings must hi heaven-descended.

A solem-u word nny well befit

The task we sol'unnly prepare;
"When goodly converse hallows it.

Tlie labor flows on gladly there.
Let us obs. rve with careful eyes

What thro' deficient strength escapes,


Tlio tliou/^htless man we must Jospiao,
Who disi-fgards tlio tiling ho sliapoa,

This forms a muu's cliicf attribute,
And Reasou is to him ussign'd,

Tbat what his hand uiay execute,

Within his heart, too, he should find

Heap ye up the piuewood first,
Wt full dry it needs must bo,
That the smother'd flamo may buret
Fiercely through the cavity !
Let the copper brew •
Quick the tiii adil too,
That the tough bell-metal may
Fuse there iu the jiropt'r \vay !

The Bell that in the dam's deep hole

Our hands vith lull) of tire prepare,
From the high belfry- tower v,\A toll,

Aad witness of us loudly bear.
'Twill there endure till distant days.

On many an ear its souuds will dwell.
Sad wailings with the mourner raise, —

The choms of devotion swell.
Whatever changeful fate may bring

To be man's portion l.ere below,
Against its metal crown will ring.

And through the nations echoing go.

Bubbles white I see ascend ;

Good ! the heap dissolves at last;
Let the potash with it blend.
Urging on the ftision fast.
Foam and biibblefree
Must the mixtu'.e be,
That from metal void of Btaiu
Pure and full may rise the strain.

For in a song with gladness rife,
The cherish'd child it loves to greet.

When first he treads the path of life.
Wrapt in the arms of slumbers eweet j


His coming fata of joy or gloom
Lies buried in the future's wcmb ;
Tlie tender cares that raothers prove
His golden morning guard with love :

The years ■with arrowy swiftness fleet.
The iDroud boy bids the maid auieu,

And iuto life with wildness flies,
The world on pilgrim's-staff roams through,-

Then as a stranger homeward hies ;
And gracefully, in beauty's pride,

Like to some lieav'nly image fair,
Her modest cheeks with blushes dyed.

He sees the maiden standing there.
A nameless yearning now appears

And fills his heart ; alone he strays,
His eyes are ever moist with tears.

He shuns his brothers' noisy plays;
Her steps he blushingly pursues.

And by her greeting is made blest.
Gathers the flow'rs of fairest hues,

With which to deck his true love's breast.
Oh, tender yearning, blissful hope.

Thou golden time of love's young day !

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerPoems → online text (page 12 of 20)