The Poems of Goethe

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

EPILOGUE TO SCHILLER'S "SONG OF THE BELL."

[This fine piece, written originally in 1805, on Schiller's death, was altered and recast by Goethe in 1815, on the occasion of the performance on the stage of the Song, of the Bell. Hence the allusion in the last verse.] To this city joy reveal it!
Peace as its first signal peal it!
(Song of the Bell -- concluding lines.)

AND so it proved The nation felt, ere long,
That peaceful signal, and, with blessings fraught,
A new-born joy appear'd; in gladsome song
To hail the youthful princely pair we sought;
While in a living, ever-swelling throng
Mingled the crowds from ev'ry region brought,
And on the stage, in festal pomp array'd,
The HOMAGE OF THE ARTS * we saw display'd.

When, lo! a fearful midnight sound I hear,
That with a dull and mournful echo rings.
And can it be that of our friend so dear
It tells, to whom each wish so fondly clings?
Shall death o'ercome a life that all revere?
How such a loss to all confusion brings!
How such a parting we must ever rue!
The world is weeping, -- shall not we weep too?

He was our own! How social, yet how great
Seem'd in the light of day his noble mind!
How was his nature, pleasing yet sedate,
Now for glad converse joyously inclin'd,
Then swiftly changing, spirit-fraught, elate,
Life's plan with deep-felt meaning it design'd,
Fruitful alike in counsel and in deed!
This have we proved, this tasted, in our need.

He was our own! O may that thought so blest
O'ercome the voice of wailing and of woe!
He might have sought the Lasting, safe at rest
In harbour, when the tempest ceased to blow.
Meanwhile his mighty spirit onward press'd
Where goodness, beauty, truth, for ever grow;
And in his rear, in shadowy outline, lay
The vulgar, which we all, alas, obey!

____________________
*
The title of a lyric piece composed by Schiller in honour of the marriage of the hereditary Prince of Weimar to the Princess Maria of Russia, and performed in 1804.

-409-

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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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