To Father* Kronos
(* In the original, “Schwager”, which has the
twofold meaning of brother-in-law and postilion.)
Hasten thee, Kronos!
On with clattering trot
Downhill goeth thy path;
Loathsome dizziness ever,
When thou delayest, assails me.
Quick, rattle along,
Over stock and stone let thy trot
Into life straightway lead
Now once more
Up the toilsome ascent
Hasten, panting for breath!
Up, then, nor idle be,--
Striving and hoping, up, up!
Wide, high, glorious the view
Gazing round upon life,
While from mount unto mount
Hovers the spirit eterne,
Life eternal foreboding.
Sideways a roof's pleasant shade
And a look that promises coolness
On the maidenly threshold.
There refresh thee! And, maiden,
Give me this foaming draught also,
Give me this health-laden look!
Down, now! quicker still, down!
See where the sun sets
Ere he sets, ere old age
Seizeth me in the morass,
Ere my toothless jaws mumble,
And my useless limbs totter;
While drunk with his farewell beam
Hurl me,--a fiery sea
Foaming still in mine eye,--
Hurl me, while dazzled and reeling,
Down to the gloomy portal of hell.
Blow, then, gossip, thy horn,
Speed on with echoing trot,
So that Orcus may know we are coming;
So that our host may with joy
Wait at the door to receive us.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
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