[THE remarkable Poem of which this is a literal but faint representation, was written when Goethe was only sixteen years old. It derives additional interest from the fact of its being the very earliest piece of his that is preserved. The few other pieces included by Goethe under the title of Religion and Church are polemical, and devoid of interest to the English reader.
WHAT wondrous noise is heard around!
Through heaven exulting voices sound,
A mighty army marches on
By thousand millions follow'd, lo,
To yon dark place makes haste to go
God's Son, descending from His throne!
He goes -- the tempests round Him break,
As Judge and Hero cometh He;
He goes -- the constellations quake,
The sun, the world quake fearfully.
I see Him in His victor-car,
On fiery axles borne afar,
Who on the cross for us expired.
The triumph to yon realms He shows, --
Remote from earth, where star ne'er glows,
The triumph He for us acquired.
He cometh, Hell to extirpate,
Whom He, by dying, wellnigh kill'd;
He shall pronounce her fearful fate:
Hark! now the curse is straight fulfill'd.
Hell sees the victor come at last,
She feels that now her reign is past.
She quakes and fears to meet His sight;
She knows His thunders' terrors dread,
In vain she seeks to hide her head,
Attempts to fly, but vain is flight;