[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!