The Poems of Goethe

By Edgar Alfred Bowring; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Go to book overview

ODES.

THESE are the most singular of all the Poems of Goethe, and to many will appear so wild and fantastic, as to leave anything but a pleasing impression. Those at the beginning, addressed to his friend Behrisch, were written at the age of eighteen, and most of the remainder were composed while he was still quite young. Despite, however, the extravagance of some of them, such as the Winter Journey over the Hartz Mountains, and the Wanderer's StormSong, nothing can be finer than the noble one entitled Mahomet's Song, and others, such as the Spirit Song over the Waters, The Godlike, and, above all, the magnificent sketch of Prometheus, which forms part of an unfinished piece bearing the same name, and called by Goethe a 'Dramatic Fragment.'


TO MY FRIEND.

These three Odes are addressed to a certain Behrisch, who was tutor to Count Lindenau, and of whom Goethe gives an odd account at the end of the Seventh Book of his Autobiography.]


FIRST ODE.

TRANSPLANT the beauteous tree!
Gardener, it gives me pain;
A happier resting-place
Its trunk deserved.

Yet the strength of its nature
To Earth's exhausting avarice,
To Air's destructive inroads,
An antidote opposed.

See how it in springtime
Coins its pale green leaves!
Their orange-fragrance
Poisons each flyblow straight.

The caterpillar's tooth
Is blunted by them;
With silv'ry hues they gleam
In the bright sunshine.

-160-

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The Poems of Goethe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • The Translator's Original Dedication iii
  • Original Preface iv
  • Preface to the Second Edition vii
  • Contents ix
  • Dedication 17
  • Songs 20
  • Familiar Songs 79
  • Ballads 100
  • Cantatas 150
  • Odes 160
  • Miscellaneous Poems 183
  • Sonnets 214
  • Epigrams 222
  • Parables 228
  • Art 247
  • God, Soul, and World 256
  • Religion and Church 263
  • Antiques 268
  • Elegies 279
  • West-Eastern Divan 362
  • Songs from Various Plays, Etc. 390
  • Epilogue - To Schiller's "Song of the Bell." 409
  • L'Envoi 412
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