Mark Scrivener

Poetry Poems Original Verse

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Goethe's Faust Part One newly rendered into English Verse (First section)


based on the German of Faust- A Tragedy by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

copyright Mark Scrivener 2014
For any use besides private reading please contact Mark Scrivener on    This version is strictly copyright © Mark Scrivener 2014




You near once more, you floating forms, who passed
My troubled view in early days’ confusion.
Oh, should I try this time to hold you fast?
Now shall my heart still draw towards that illusion?
You crowd on me! Then you may rule my gaze.
Oh, how you rise around from mist and haze.
My heart feels stirred, as in far younger days,
By magic breath surrounding your lost ways.

You bring with you the scenes of joyful times,
And many long-loved shades rise in my view;
And like an old, half-fading tale I find
First love and friendship both spring up with you.
My pain grows fresh and it laments anew
The labyrinthine, erring course of life,
And names the good- those whom false fortune’s flight
Stole from fair hours to vanish from my sight.

They do not hear the songs that follow on,
Those souls to whom I sang my first. Today
The friendly troop is long dispersed and gone;
First echoing response has died away.
My song now rings out to an unknown throng;
Their very cheers just bring my heart dismay.
Of those my song once pleased all those not dead
Are distant, scattered through the world instead.

I’m seized by long-unwonted yearning here
For that serene and earnest spirit-land.
My moving song floats murmuring, like clear,
Aeolian harp strings touched by the wind’s light hand.
I tremble, tear is following on tear.
My stern, strict heart grows soft. From where I stand,
What I possess seems far away from me,
And what has vanished becomes reality.

                PRELUDE IN THE THEATRE

Director. Theatre Poet. Comic Actor.


You both who have so often stood by me
In trials of need and trouble’s sting,
What hopes for this, our venturing
Have you this time in Germany?
Great is my wish to please the multitude,
Especially since they live and let us live.
The posts are in, the seats are set up true,
And all look to a feast from what we give.
They sit already with their eyebrows raised;
Relaxed there now, they'd like to be amazed.
I know what reconciles the people, yet
I've never felt in such a tricky spot.
I know they're not accustomed to the best;
Although it's true they've read a frightful lot.
How shall we act so all is fresh and new,
With meaning's depth and yet so pleasing too?
For frankly I like seeing crowds stream in,
Surge towards our booth, and press into the place,
With powerful, repeating labouring,
On past the narrow portal way of grace.
In bright day, even earlier than four,
Up to the ticket box they fight and kick,
And as for bread, in famine, at the baker's door,
To get a ticket almost break a neck.
Only the poet works this wonder way
On many different folk; friend, do it today!


Don't speak of that most motley mass to me,
For at the very sight our spirits fly.
Keep surging crowds concealed, that contrary
Of our will leads us to the whirlpool's eye.
No, bring me to a corner of calm heaven,
The only place a poet's joy will blossom,
Where love and friendship nurture and create,
With godlike hand, the blessings on the heart.
What's issued from our heart's own deeper powers,
And shyly stammered on our lips in quiet,
A failure or perhaps success of ours,
Is swallowed up by one wild moment's might.
It often goes for years before it flowers,
Appearing in its finished form. The light
Of glitter's born but for the moment's stages;
What's genuine's preserved for coming ages.


Don't give that coming ages stuff to me.
If all I talked of was posterity
Who's give the present world its fun?
It wants it and it will have it too.
The presence of a good, stout lad, look you,
Is something too, when all is done.
He who's at home, imparting all with ease,
Won't be a victim of the people's whim.
He wants a great, big circle please,
So he's more certain of impressing them.
Let it be good, your best in perfect fashion.
Let's have imagination, with all its chorus,
The understanding, reason, feeling, passion-
But mind! Don't leave out folly for us!


Have plenty happening especially.
You come to look and you love most to see.
Spin out so many things before their eyes
That all the audience can gape amazed.
You'll win a wide appeal, that treasured prize,
And you'll be loved and highly praised.
You only master mass by mass, my friend.
Each seeks what suits them in the end.
He who brings much, brings many some good touch;
And home they go, quite pleased by such.
You give a piece, so let it be in pieces!
With such a stew fair fortune never ceases.
It's easy to think up and easy to present.
What use would be the whole that you'd invent?
The public picks it all to pieces finally.


You do not feel how awful such a trade can be!
How little pure artists are pleased by such!
Fine Mister Blotch-it-up,  I see
Already that's your standard touch.


Well, such reproaches do not injure me.
Men thinking to work effectively
Must hold the best tools for the task.
Recall you're splitting softwood. Look, I ask-
For whom is it you really write?
Sheer boredom drives one out tonight,
One's full from overflowing food that day,
And what's the worst yet, many might
Have come from reading what the papers say.
Preoccupied, as to a masquerade, they press,
Each winged by merest curiosity.
The ladies show their jewelled beauty to the best,
Performing for us here for free.
What do you dream on your poetic height?
Why do full houses gladden you?
Peer closely at your patrons here tonight-
Half cold, half crude. When our play's through,
One hopes for card play and yet another chooses
A wild night on a wench's breast. So please explain,
Why do you plague the gracious muses,
You poor mad fools, for such an aim?
I tell you give us more and always, always more,
And you will never miss the bull's eye then.
Just try to mystify all men,
To satisfy them's hard, that's sure-
What's got you now? Creative ecstasy or pain?

Push off and find yourself another slave!
For should a poet see what nature gave,
His highest right, the human right, be bent
To sinful waste to suit your role?
How does he sway each single soul?
How does he conquer every element?
Does not his inward harmony sound out
A unison that wraps the world into his heart?
And if the thread of Nature, ever-long,
Is forced on the impassive-turning spindle,
If crowds, discordant, of all beings ring
Through one another, a tiresome jangle,
Who parts the stream of uniform creation,
So livingly, in rhythm's flow? Who's he
Who calls each thing to universal consecration
And makes it pulse in splendid harmony?
Who lets the storm rage in a passion's power?
Who fills the evening glow with earnest thoughts?
And who will strew each beautiful spring flower
Upon the path his loved one walks?
Who plaits the plain, green leaves into a wreath,
A crown, for merit of all sorts to show it?
Who binds and guards Olympus from beneath?
The human power revealed within the poet.


Then use these fine, fair powers to aid
And carry on your poet's trade
Just like a love affair is carried out.
By chance you 're near. You're moved. You hang about.
And time by time you're drawn in by degrees.
Your bliss first grows, then you compete to please.
At first you're charmed and then love's pains advance-
And, before you know it, it's a real romance.
Let's have this in the piece we're giving.
Just catch hold of full human living.
Though lived by all, it's only known by few.
Wherever you grab hold it interests you.
Kaleidoscopic scenes with little clarity,
Much error, a spark of full reality;
Yes, that's the way the best drink's brewed,
That makes the whole world feel refreshed, renewed.
For then the fairest flower of the youth
Come see the play and hear its revelation.
Then every tender soul imbibes, in truth,
Melancholy nourishment from your creation.
For as now this, now that emotion's stirred,
All see their inner feelings in your words.
The young are still prepared to laugh and weep all night;
They still crave verve, enjoy illusion on the stage.
For those who've finished growing, nothing's right.
The grateful ones are still of growing age.

So give to me those times once more
When I was growing still; when from within
Full-crowding songs, new-born, would pour
As from an ever-flowing spring.
It seemed a mist still veiled the world.
A bud still promised miracle.
I plucked the thousand flowers which filled
All valleys with sweet, rich profusion.
I'd nothing, yet I was fulfilled:
My urge for truth, joy of illusion.
Give me those drives yet unrestrained,
The deep and anguished happiness,
The force of hate, love's power and bliss.
Oh, give me back my youthful days!


But youth, good friend, is what is needed most
When foes beset you in a fight;
When on your neck a loving host
Of women hang in sheer delight;
When in fast race, afar you glance
The hard-earned goal, the wreath's in view;
When after wild and whirling dance
You feast and drink whole nights. But you
We need to pluck familiar tone
Upon the strings with fiery grace,
With beautiful digressions roam,
Concluding at your chosen place.
For that's your role, old sirs, today,
For we don't venerate you any less.
For age won't make us childish, as some say,
It finds what still is truly child in us.


Enough exchange of chat and banter;
Let's finally see deeds. Each one
Turns compliments upon the other,
When something useful could be done.
What use is talk of moods? Refrain,
And you will never find the mood inspired.
Now if you're poets, as you claim,
Command the poetry desired.
You know just what we need, don't you?
To slurp down some high, potent brew.
So start the mix and don't delay!
Tomorrow you won't do what you don't do today.
We should not let an hour slip by.
The resolute will bravely grasp
The possibilities before they fly;
And hold them by the slightest tuft,
Then work on further for they must.

You know that on our German stage
Each one tries what he likes- feel free.
And so today, for me, don't save
On stage effects and scenery.
So use the great and little heaven's light,
Squander the stars; there's no lack at all
Of water, fire, rocky wall
And birds and beasts for your delight.
So pace out on the narrow house of board
All that creation can afford
And with deliberate speed, range well
From heaven through the world to hell.


The Lord. The Heavenly Hosts. Later Mephistopheles. Three Archangels come forward.


In ways of old the sun sounds forth,
Where brother spheres as rivals sing,
Full-ending his pre-written course
With far-resounding thundering.
His aspect gives the angels might,
Though none may fathom his foundation.
Works, great beyond thought’s grasp, are bright
As on the first day of creation.


And swiftly, swift beyond all grasping,
There spins the splendour of earth's light-
A paradise of brightness passing
To dark and shiver-filled, deep night.
And in broad streams up-foams the ocean
Upon the rocks' deep-founded base;
And rock and sea sweep on in motion
In planets' swift eternal race.


And tempests roar in rivalry
From sea to land, from land to sea;
In fury forge wide chains that flare
With deepest working through the air.
There flashing desolations sear
The path before the thunder play;
Yet Lord, Your messengers revere
The gentle changes of Your day.


This aspect gives the angels might,
While none may fathom Your foundation.
And all of Your high works are bright
As on the first day of creation.


Since You, O Lord, once again draw near
To ask how things are going down with us,
And since You used to like to see me, here
Am I where all Your household helpers fuss.
Please pardon, but I can't work high-worded styles,
Though all this circle mock and scoff.
I'm sure, my pathos would just make You laugh,
Had You not sworn off laughing this long while.
I've nothing grand to spout of sun and worlds,
I only see that humans plague themselves.
The world's small god is still the same, old way-
As deeply strange as on the dawn of its first day.
They'd lead a somewhat better life
If you'd withheld a seeming sheen of heaven's light.
They call it reason, merely using this
To be more bestial than any beast.
It seems, please pardon if it's impolite,
That his is that long-legged* grasshopper's plight,     (*legged one syllable not leggéd)
That tries to fly yet springs along
And in the grasses sings the same, old song.
Yet would he only lie within the grasses!
He pokes his nose in any poo he passes.


You've nothing further but this strain?
Come you but ever to complain?
Is nothing on the earth now ever right by you?


No, Lord! I find it there, as ever, bad right through.
I feel so saddened by the wretched lives of men
That even I am loath to torment them.


Do you know Faust?


                                            The doctor?

                                                                    My servant.


In truth, his way of serving's strange enough!
That madcap's drink and food's not earthly stuff.
His ferment urges him afar.
He's half-aware of his own craziness.
From heaven he demands the highest stars
And from the earth all highest happiness.
Yet nothing, from both near and far,
Can calm deep trouble brewing in his breast.


If He but serves Me in confusion's night,
Soon I shall lead him into greater light.
The gardener knows, although the sapling's green,
In coming years the flower and fruit are seen.


What will you bet? You'll still lose him I say
As long as I may have your leave
To lead him gently down my way.


As long as he's on earth alive
You're not forbidden to go ahead.
The human errs while yet it strives.


Thanks there. For never towards the dead
Have I a bias, so to speak.
For most of all I love the full, fresh cheek.
If corpses call, I'm not at home that day.
A cat upon a mouse, that's how I play.


Very well. Then you may have your day.
So drag his spirit from its ancient spring
And lead, if you can seize and cling,
Off there upon your downward way.
Then stand ashamed when finally you say,
A good man, with a dim, impulsive force,
Is well aware of rightly-rising course.


Good. Fine. And little time I'll take,
No fear I'll lose this bet. And for my sake,
When I attain my aim, my stake,
You'll let my heart fill with triumphant might.
Dust he'll devour and with delight,
Just like my cousin, the famous snake.


There too you may appear as free.
Your type has never had My hate.
Of all the spirits that deny, for Me
The roguish knave is least of weight.
The human's doing all too lightly slips to dream
And soon loves unconditional rest. Therefore
I'm pleased to partner them with one who's sure
To work and goad, with active devil-scheme.

But you, true sons of God, delight
In rich and vibrant beauty's sight.
May-Coming-To-Being, that ever works and lives,
Encompass you with gracious bounds of love.
And what's afloat in shimmering sheen-creation
Hold fast with lasting contemplation.



I like to see the Old One from time to time;
And take pains not to break with Him. From the level
Of such a Great Lord, it is rather fine
To speak so humanly with the very devil.


Ah, how I've studied philosophy
And law and medicine as well,
And saddest yet theology,
Full-through with hot, hard-sweated zeal.
Now here I stand, a poor fool, I'm sure,
No smarter than I was before!
Called master, even doctor; oh, how
For ten long years already now,
Up, down, across and all around it goes-
This pulling my pupils by the nose;
To see we can know nothing true!
That really burns my heart right through.
Sure, I am brighter than those nitwit screechers:
The doctors and masters, clerks and preachers.
I'm plagued by neither doubt nor scruple,
Nor do I tremble at hell or devil-
So too all joy is torn from me. Just so.
I don't pretend I know what's right to know;
I don't pretend that I could teach what could
Make mankind better, turn it to good.
As well I've neither goods nor gold,
Nor honour and the splendour of the world.
No dog would endure this life any more!
So I've given myself to magic's lore,
To see, through spirit strength and speech,
If many secrets come in reach.
With bitter sweat then I'll not go.
Impelled to say what I don't know.
Then I'll know what, at this world's heart,
Is binding in its inmost part
And see the seminal, the creative core,
And rummage around in words no more.

Oh, that you looked, full-shining moon,
For the last time on my pain and gloom.
For I, so many midnights here,
Have held watch at this desk and chair.
Then over a book and paper sea,
Forlorn, old friend, you shone on me,
Could I but go, in your loved light,
To wander on a mountain height,
To glide with spirits round mountain caves,
Drift over fields in your twilight hue,
Be freed from fumes of knowledge, bathe
Myself to health here in your dew!

O no! Am I still stuck within this prison?
This dark wall-hole where even the vision
Of heaven's light is dimmed and stained
In breaking through the painted panes!
Boxed in by book piles here, all spread
With dust, where gnawing worms have been.
Books reach the vaults up overhead,
With smoke-stained papers stuck between;
Case, glass and box surround me too,
With instruments, forced-in, unfurled-
Ancestral junk that blocks the view.
This is my world! Call this a world!

Do you still ask why should your heart
Be bound by fear within your breast?
Why unexplained, a pain so sharp
Blocks every impulse of life's zest?
Instead of living Nature's space
Where God made man to have a home,
Here only mould and fumes embrace
Beast skeletons and dead men's bones.

Up! Flee forth to the far, wide land!
This book of mystery, by my side,
To Nostrodamus' own hand,
Will it not be sufficient guide?
You'll grasp the paths of stars and when
You're taught by Nature too, the force
Of your own soul wells from its source;
How spirit speaks to spirit then.
In vain does dry perception try
To make the sacred symbols clear:
You silent spirits, hovering by;
Now answer me, if you can hear.


Oh, at this sight what rapture streams in me
Through all my senses instantly!
I feel how youthful, sacred bliss of life new-glows;
Through all my nerves and veins it flows.
Was it a god who drew this figure's form
That stills the strife of inner storm
And fills with joy my poor, worn heart;
And with mysterious power imparts
A revelation of the sources
Of Nature's wide-embracing forces?
Am I a god? All grows so light.
Within these pure lines the whole
Of Nature's working lies before my soul.
Now first I know wise ones are right-
"The spirit world's not locked away;
Your sense is shut, your heart is dead.
Disciple, up! Without dismay,
Bathe earthly breast in dawn's fine red!"


How all within the wholeness weave
And with the others work and live.
How heaven's powers pass up and down
And hand the golden buckets on,
With blessing-scented winging,
They press from heaven through earth's realm,
All through the All harmoniously ringing!

What pageantry! Yet only that! Oh, true
And endless Nature, where shall I grasp you?
Where are your breasts? Oh, wellsprings of all life,
On these the earth and heaven hang,
The parched heart seeks you in its strife,
You gush, you nourish- do I pine in vain?


How differently it works on me- this sign!
You, spirit of earth, you're drawing nearer;
I feel now how my powers are higher.
I glow already as from new wine,
Feel courage; venture out to find world's worth,
And bear the woe of earth, the joy of earth;
Brave-fight with all-surrounding storm,
Not fear the grating shipwreck's crashing doom.
Clouds gather over me-
The moon conceals its light-
The lamp is out!
And mists arise- and red rays spark
Around my head- a shivering breath
Comes floating down from vaults above
And seizes me!
Oh, spirit that I begged to see,
I feel you floating through:
Reveal yourself!
Oh, how it tears my heart in two!
My senses reel,
So stirred by strange, new things I feel.
My heart is wholly giving into you.
You must, you must! Though it could cost my life!



Who calls me!

                          Terrifying sight!


Now powerfully you've drawn me here,
You've long been nourished in my sphere,
And now-

                   O grief! I cannot bear your might.


You begged so breathlessly to see me here.
To know my voice, to view my face;
Your powerful plea has won my grace,
And here am I! - What pitiful fear
Engulfs the superman! Where is you soul-scent call?
Where is the breast that wove a world, that bore it all,
That nurtured it, then with joy-born, trembling bliss
Puffed up to spirit realm to equal us?
And are you Faust, whose voice rang out to me,
Who forced towards me with every faculty,
He, who enveloped in my breath, I'm seeing
So shaken in all depths of being,
A scared, retreating, writhing worm?


Shall I give way to you, you form of flame?
I am, am Faust, like you, the same.


In floods of life, in all deeds' vast storm,
Up and down my waves
Weave to and fro-
Birth and grave,
And endless ocean
In eternal motion,
A changing weaving,
A glowing living,
I create at the loud-rushing loom of all time,
And weave living vestment that clothes the Divine.


You who roam the world from end to end,
You ever-active spirit, how near I feel to you!


You're like the spirit you comprehend,
Not me!

Not you?
Then whom?
I, image of the Godhead,
Not the same as you!


Oh death! I know it- it is my famulus-
My fairest fortune thus is brought
To nothingness. Oh, that this vision's fullness ought
To be disturbed by that dry prowler's dust.



Please pardon me, I heard you speak a part;
You know by rote some tragic, old Greek play?
I'd like to profit from this art,
For it achieves so much today.
I've often heard it claimed a preacher
Should take an actor as his teacher.


Yes, when the preacher is a ham,
And truly, sometimes it turns out that way.


Oh, banished in this museum as I am,
I see the world but on a holiday,
As through a spyglass, far apart...
How can I learn persuasion's art?


If you don't feel it first, no hunt will bring
What doesn't flow from your soul's spring,
And with pleasure's primal force imparts
Its power to all your hearers' hearts.
Keep sitting! Glue it all together;
Cook stew from scraps left by another,
And blow a scanty flame that flashes
From out of your own heap of ashes.
You will amaze the child and ape,
If it's your taste to play that part.
Warm rays from heart to hearts won't radiate
If no glow comes from your own heart.

Yet winning speech is all delivery;
And still I feel that's all quite far from me.


Seek only honest recompense.
Don't be like some bell-tinkling fool.
For understanding and good sense
Require little art to rule.
With earnest speaking isn't it absurd
To spend time hunting for a word?
Yes, for your speeches that glitter so,
Yet give us but curled snippets, bits to please,
Are like those stale and misty winds that blow
In autumn, rustling through the withered leaves.


Though art is long, oh, God,
Our life is short indeed!
Through striving, keen and critical, I find
I'm often troubled in my heart and mind.
How hard it is to have the means to lead
One to the final fountainhead.
Before, poor devil, you're halfway there
Your body's in the cold earth's care.


Is parchment then the sacred, living spring
One sip of which will still your thirst forever?
You will not be refreshed by anything
That does not rise from your own soul's endeavour.


Please pardon! But it gives great satisfaction
To see the spirits of the past in action;
To comprehend how wise ones thought before our age;
How brilliantly we brought all to a further stage.


Yes, right up to the stars on high.
You know, my friend, for us the times gone by
Are like a book with seven seals.
What you would call the spirit of the past
Is just the spirit of the ones who'd cast
Time's mirror bent by what each feels.
It often makes a shameful mess!
One glimpse of it will make you run away:
A lumber room, a rubbish bin, no less...
At best it's but a high, flag-waving play,
With excellent, pragmatic platitudes:
Most suitable for puppet interludes.


What of the world? The human heart and mind?
To know of these is everybody's aim.

With what's called knowing! But who's inclined
To call the child by its right name?
Of  the few who knew of something on that side,
Those fool enough, not guarding their full hearts, revealing,
To the rabble, their visions and their feeling,
They always have been burnt and crucified.
But please, my friend, it's grown late in the night,
And we must say, for now, adieu.


I'd like to stay forever that I might
Keep talking of such learned things with you.
Tomorrow's first of Easter holiday;
Then I shall ask more, if I may.
I've studied with great zeal the vast and small,
I know much, but I want to know it all.



How not to lose all hope he ever turns
Towards trash and triviality;
With greedy hands he grubs for gems, yet he
Is thrilled to find earth's wriggling worms.

Dare such a human voice resound here too,
Where fullness of the spirits was at play?
And yet this time I give my thanks to you,
You poorest of the sons of dust and clay.
You tore me back from my dark, desperate state,
That would have smashed my senses with its force.
Oh, that vision was all-vast, so great,
It  rightly made me see myself as dwarfed.

I, image of the Godhead, already I
Drew near the mirror of eternal truth,
And savoured heaven's light like clearest sky,
And shed my merely earth-born sheath.
I, more than Cherub, whose free force unfurled
To flow through veins of Nature's world,
Create and taste the life of gods, or so
With inklings I presumed to know...
How now indeed I have to pay!
One thunder word has swept me right away.

I cannot dare compare with you; and though
I did possess the power to draw you near.
I had no power to hold you with me here.
In that one moment's bliss-filled glow,
I felt myself so small, so great;
Then cruelly you thrust me down,
Back to the human's vague, uncertain fate.
Who'll teach me now? What shall I shun?
Alas, our deeds themselves, as much as sorrow's force,
May halt and hinder our life's course.

What's finest, what the spirit can conceive,
Draws strange and stranger stuff into its weave;
When we attain to this world's good, we deem
What's better fraud or mere delusion's dream.
And higher, glorious feelings, those that gave us life,
Grow torpid in the crush of earthly strife.

Though daydreams once with daring flight were free
To spread with hope towards some eternal realm,
A little space now seems enough for me,
When every fortune fails within the swirl of time.
Deep in the heart's a nest where Care has lain
And there can work with secret pain.
It stirs uneasily, disturbing joy and rest;
It ever dons new masks, confusing life,
It might appear as house and yard, as child and wife,
Flame, water, poison, dagger's steel.
You quake at blows you never feel,
And you must ever weep for what you've never lost.

I'm not godlike! So deep is the feeling that I must
Admit I'm like the worms that tunnel dust;
That while they live and feed in dusty joy,
The wanderer's footsteps bury and destroy.

Is it not dust that from this wall height here
With its hundred shelves now narrows in on me,
The junk, the thousand knick-knacks that I see,
That push on me in this moth sphere?
Shall I find here that which I lack?
Perhaps I'll read a thousand books to glean
That people everywhere are on the rack,
That here and there a happy one has been?
You hollow skull, why are you grinning so,
Except your brain, like mine, sought carefree day
But was confused in heavy dusk's last glow,
And wanting truth, most sadly lost the way?
These instruments, they're surely mocking me,
With wheel and cog and cylinder and catch.
I stood before the gate, you were my key,
But though your wards are complex, they can't lift the latch.
For in bright day still filled with mystery
Is Nature - and you cannot steal her veils.
What she won't show your spirit will not be
Rough-wrenched from her with levers or with nails.
These things I didn't need, old gear,
You're here because my father used this mess.
You ancient scroll, you've been smoke-browning here,
As long as this dim lamp has smouldered at this desk.
Far better I had wasted my small wares
Than sweat beneath the burden of this littleness!
What you inherit from forefather's care
You need to earn in order to possess.
What's not used is a heavy weight to bear.
Just what the moment makes, that's all that's any use.

Why does that spot fix fast my sight,
That flask, a magnet to my eyes' delight?
Why am I flooded with a lovely light,
Like glide of moon-glow in a forest's night?

I greet  you now, unique and precious phial,
With reverence I fetch you down awhile.
In you I praise true human wit and art.
You essence of all fair, sleep-bringing juices,
You extract of all fine and deadly forces,
Extend your favour to your master's heart.
I see you and my pain is softened,
I grasp you and my striving's lessened,
The spirit's flood tide slowly ebbs away,
I'm led towards far, wide ocean deeps; I greet
The mirroring flood that shimmers at my feet,
Towards new-seen shores I'm lured by new day.

A fiery chariot sweeps down to me
Upon light wings! I feel I am prepared
To push on through the ether's pathways there
To refined, new spheres of high activity.
This higher life, delight of gods, such bliss,
First but a worm, are you deserving this?
Yes, brave-resolving, turn your back upon
The living light of earth's all-gracious sun,
And fearless, force on through that portal's gate
That everyone would like to sneak on by.
This is the time through deeds to demonstrate
That human honour does not yield to gods on high,
And will not quake before that darkened cave,
Where fancy's damned within its own tormenting,
When striving towards that passage, not relenting,
Though round its narrow mouth all hell's ablaze;
And takes this step with good cheer, even if
It were to risk a flowing into nothingness.

Now come on down, you pure crystal bowl,
From your old, dusty case that's kept you whole.
For many years I have not thought of you.
You shone out at my father's joyous feasts,
And cheered the serious-minded guests
When you were passed around amongst that crew.
It was the drinker's task to clarify
Your many artful, splendid scenes in rhymes
And empty you in one good try;
It brings to mind so many nights of youthful times.
I shall not pass you to a neighbour now,
I won't display my wit upon your art's fine power.
Here is a drink most swift-intoxicating;
A brown juice fills it to the brim. I will,
With all my soul, now take my final fill,
As festive, lofty greeting to the morning's breaking.



Christ has ascended!
Mortals all happiness
On whom invidious,
Passed-down, insidious,
Binding faults tended.


What deep, deep hum, what bright tone, draws and claims
The glass here from my lips with such a power?
Already do these muted chimes proclaim
The Easter festival's first celebratory hour?
Do you now sing, you choirs, the song of comfort's might,
Once sung with angel's lips around the grave's cold night,
To pledge a covenant so newly now?


With spices we brought
We tended Him so,
We faithful ones thought
How to lay Him below;
Linens to bind
Around Him with care;
Ah! and we find
Christ no more here.


Christ has ascended!
Blessed the One loving us,
Who the most-troubling but
Healing and strenuous
Test took unbended.


Why do you seek, you mighty and mild,
Celestial tones, seek me in dust?
Ring out where softer men might be beguiled.
I hear your message: all I lack is faith and trust.
And miracle is faith's own dearest child.
I dare not strive up towards those spheres,
That ring out with such gracious tidings here,
And yet accustomed to this sound from my youth on,
Even now it calls me back into life's realm.
In early life the loving kiss of heaven
Would touch me in the holy Sabbath stillness;
So full of promise were the bell tones in their fullness,
And with a fervent joy my prayer was given.
Then inconceivably sweet yearning
Drove me through forest and through field;
Amid my tears, by thousands burning,
I felt a world in me unfurled.
This song proclaimed, announced youth's lively games,
Spring festival's free joy. I'm kept,
Remembering that childlike feeling here again,
From taking that last earnest step.
Ring on, sweet heaven's song, now as before,
My tears rise up, the earth holds me once more!


If the grave-given One's
Raised up already,
If the high, living One's
Risen in glory,
If, in becoming's gladness,
He's near creating's joy;
Ah! on earth's breast we suffer,
We are still bound to sadness.
Leaving His own
Languishing for Him;
Ah! we bemoan,
Master, Your fortune!


Christ has ascended
From the lap of corruption;
Cast off your bands and
Joy in your freedom!
Praise Him with deeds most fair,
Showing your love and care,
Feeding all others there,
Teaching out everywhere,
Promising bliss to share,
Your own true Master's near,
For you He's here!


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