Maiden, stay! oh, whither wouldst thou go?
Do I still or pride or grandeur show?
Maiden, was it right?
Thou the giant mad'st a dwarf once more,
Scattered'st far the mountains that of yore
Climbed to glory's sunny height.
Thou hast doomed my flowerets to decay,
All the phantoms bright hast blown away,
Whose sweet follies formed the hero's trust;
All my plans that proudly raised their head
Thou dost, with gentle zephyr-tread,
Prostrate, laughing, in the dust.
To the godhead, eagle-like, I flew,
Smiling, fortune's juggling wheel to view,
Careless wheresoe'er her ball might fly;
Hovering far beyond Cocytus' wave,
Death and life receiving like a slave
Life and death from out one beaming eye!
Like the victors, who, with thunder-lance,
On the iron plain of glory dance,
Starting from their mistress' breast,
From Aurora's rosy bed upsprings
God's bright sun, to roam o'er towns of kings,
And to make the young world blest!
Toward the hero doth this heart still strain?
Drink I, eagle, still the fiery rain
Of thine eye, that burneth to destroy?
In the glances that destructive gleam,
Laura's love I see with sweetness beam,
Weep to see it like a boy!
My repose, like yonder image bright,
Dancing in the waters cloudless, light,
Maiden, hath been slain by thee!
On the dizzy height now totter I
Laura if from me my Laura fly!
Oh, the thought to madness hurries me!
Gladly shout the revellers as they quaff,
Raptures in the leaf-crowned goblet laugh,
Jests within the golden wine have birth,
Since the maiden hath enslaved my mind,
I have left each youthful sport behind,
Friendless roam I o'er the earth.
Hear I still bright glory's thunder-tone?
Doth the laurel still allure me on?
Doth thy lyre, Apollo Cynthius?
In my breast no echoes now arise,
Every shamefaced muse in sorrow flies,
And thou, too, Apollo Cynthius?
Shall I still be, as a woman, tame?
Do my pulses, at my country's name,
Proudly burst their prison-thralls?
Would I boast the eagle's soaring wing?
Do I long with Roman blood to spring,
When my Hermann calls?
Oh, how sweet the eye's wild gaze divine
Sweet to quaff the incense at that shrine!
Prouder, bolder, swells the breast.
That which once set every sense on fire,
That which once could every nerve inspire,
Scarce a half-smile now hath power to wrest!
That Orion might receive my fame,
On the time-flood's heaving waves my name
Rocked in glory in the mighty tide;
So that Kronos' dreaded scythe was shivered,
When against my monument is quivered,
Towering toward the firmament in pride.
Smil'st thou? No? to me naught's perished now!
Star and laurel I'll to fools allow,
To the dead their marble cell;
Love hath granted all as my reward,
High o'er man 'twere easy to have soared,
So I love him well!