Poems by Friedrich Schiller

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Pale, at its ghastly noon,
Let none resemble another; let each resemble the highest!
Thy wife is destined to deceive thee!
Angel-fair, Walhalla's charms displaying,
To Archimedes once a scholar came,
Oh, how infinite, how unspeakably great, are the heavens!
Twirl him! twirl him! blind and dumb
Thou in truth shouldst be one, yet not with the whole shouldst thou be so.
Naught is for man so important as rightly to know his own purpose;
Full many a shining wit one sees,
Oh thou degenerate child of the great and glorious mother,
Mirth the halls of Troy was filling,
If thou canst not give pleasure to all by thy deeds and thy knowledge,
Steer on, bold sailor Wit may mock thy soul that sees the land,
Free from blemish to be, is the lowest of steps, and highest;
Now hearken, ye who take delight
Deeper and bolder truths be careful, my friends, of avowing;
Most high and mighty Czar of all flesh, ceaseless reducer of empires, unfathomable glutton in the whole realms of nature.
Two are the roads that before thee lie open from life to conduct thee;
Even the moral world its nobility boasts vulgar natures
Millions busily toil, that the human race may continue;
Believe me, together
Mournful groans, as when a tempest lowers,
Past the despairing wail
On every nose he rightly read
Here lies a man cut off by fate
Into life's ocean the youth with a thousand masts daringly launches;
Oh, how many new foes against truth! My very soul bleedeth
Name, my Laura, name the whirl-compelling
A maiden blush o'er every feature straying,
Man frames his judgment on reason; but woman on love founds her verdict;
Enraged against a quondam friend,
A gentle was Fridolin,
Dearly I love a friend; yet a foe I may turn to my profit;
[From "Letters of Julius to Raphael," an unpublished Novel.]
Each one, when seen by himself, is passably wise and judicious;
How does the genius make itself known? In the way that in nature
"Do I believe," sayest thou, "what the masters of wisdom would teach me,
Understanding, indeed, can repeat what already existed,
Fools we may have in plenty, and simpletons, too, by the dozen;
Once for the sceptre of Germany, fought with Bavarian Louis
Strive, O German, for Roman-like strength and for Grecian-like beauty!
Thou hast produced mighty monarchs, of whom thou art not unworthy,
Only two virtues exist. Oh, would they were ever united!
Scarce has the fever so chilly of Gallomania departed,
Hark! like the sea in wrath the heavens assailing,
[This and the following poem are, with some alterations, introduced in the Play of "The Robbers."]
See you the towers, that, gray and old,
Trusty old Homer! to thee I confide the secret so tender;
[Literally "Dignity of Women."]
[Dignities would be the better title, if the word were not so essentially unpoetical.]
We speak with the lip, and we dream in the soul,
Where the pathway begins, eternity seems to lie open,
Since thou readest in her what thou thyself hast there written,
Joy, thou goddess, fair, immortal,
'Twixt the heavens and earth, high in the airy ocean,
Dreadest thou the aspect of death! Thou wishest to live on forever?
God alone sees the heart and therefore, since he alone sees it,
All, both in prose and in verse, in Germany fast is decaying;
'Twas not my nectar made thy strength divine,
See how a single rich man gives a living to numbers of beggars!
Knowledge to one is a goddess both heavenly and high, to another
Why can the living spirit be never seen by the spirit?
Thou that art ever the same, with the changeless One take up thy dwelling!
In cheerful faith that fears no ill
Could I from this valley drear,
Rightly said, Schlosser! Man loves what he has; what he has not, desireth;
Majesty of the nature of man! In crowds shall I seek thee?
I am a man! Let every one
Laura! a sunrise seems to break
'Tis ended!
I have a heartfelt aversion for crime, a twofold aversion,
Which religion do I acknowledge? None that thou namest.
See, he sitteth on his mat
Even the beauteous must die! This vanquishes men and immortals;
Enmity be between ye! Your union too soon is cemented;
Fair bride, attended by our blessing,
Seeking to find his home, Odysseus crosses each water;
E'en by the hand of the wicked can truth be working with vigor;
Once to a horse-fair, it may perhaps have been
All that thou doest is right; but, friend, don't carry this precept
What wonder this? we ask the lympid well,
Four elements, joined in
You tell me that you feel surprise
From earth I seem to wing my flight,
Maiden, stay! oh, whither wouldst thou go?
Yes! even I was in Arcadia born,
Monument of our own age's shame,
Let the creative art breathe life, and the bard furnish spirit;
Dramatis Personae.
I, too, at length discerned great Hercules' energy mighty,
A mighty oak here ruined lies,
Both of us seek for truth in the world without thou dost seek it,
Wilt thou not the lambkins guard?
Nowhere in the organic or sensitive world ever kindles
Thou hast crossed over torrents, and swung through wide-spreading ocean,
That which Grecian art created,
Wouldst thou give pleasure at once to the children of earth and the righteous?
How gracefully, O man, with thy palm-bough,
Hear I the creaking gate unclose?
Dost thou desire the good in art? Of the good art thou worthy,
Earthly gods my lyre shall win your praise,
Say, where is now that glorious race, where now are the singers
Heavy and solemn,
I can recognize only as such, the one that enables
"How can I know the best state?"
[In spite of Mr. Carlyle's assertion of Schiller's "total deficiency in humor," [12] we think that the following poem suffices to show that he possessed the gift in no ordinary degree, and that if the aims of a genius so essentially earnest had allow
All, thou gentle one, lies embraced in thy kingdom; the graybeard
Where will a place of refuge, noble friend,
See how we hate, how we quarrel, how thought and how feeling divide us!
Does pleasant spring return once more?
No! I this conflict longer will not wage,
How does nature proceed to unite the high and the lowly
At Aix-la-Chapelle, in imperial array,
Once to the song and chariot-fight,
Into the sieve we've been pouring for years,
See how, like lightest waves at play, the airy dancers fleet;
Why are taste and genius so seldom met with united?
Merely because thou hast made a good verse in a language poetic,
"What knight or what vassal will be so bold
"Take the world!" Zeus exclaimed from his throne in the skies
Ever strive for the whole; and if no whole thou canst make thee,
Wreathe in a garland the corn's golden ear!
Giddily onward it bears thee with resistless impetuous billows;
If thou never hast gazed upon beauty in moments of sorrow,
Work as much as thou wilt, alone thou'lt be standing forever,
Once more, then, we meet
Fame with the vulgar expires; but, Muse immortal, thou bearest
Priam's castle-walls had sunk,
Why run the crowd? What means the throng
Ye offspring of the morning sun,
Ah! happy he, upon whose birth each god
Woman, never judge man by his individual actions;
Trust me, 'tis not a mere tale, the fountain of youth really runneth,
The goblet is sparkling with purpled-tinged wine,
The air is perfumed with the morning's fresh breeze,
Lovely he looks, 'tis true, with the light of his torch now extinguished;
By no kind Augustus reared,
Aphrodite preserves her beauty concealed by her girdle;
Before his lion-court,
Ye in the age gone by,
Through the world which the Spirit creative and kind
Seerest thou the highest, the greatest!
Who is the bard of the Iliad among you? For since he likes puddings,
Ever honor the whole; individuals only I honor;
The tyrant Dionys to seek,
The Hypochondriacal Pluto. A Romance. Book I.
Forever fair, forever calm and bright,
Woman in everything yields to man; but in that which is highest,
And wilt thou, faithless one, then, leave me,
Tear forever the garland of Homer, and number the fathers
Good from the good, to the reason this is not hard of conception;
Time flies on restless pinions constant never.
Fear with his iron staff may urge the slave onward forever;
Hark where the bells toll, chiming, dull and steady,
Men now seek to explore each thing from within and without too!
She comes, she comes the burden of the deeps!
I chanced the other eve,
Wouldst thou know thyself, observe the actions of others.
"I Can love thee well, believe me,
Oh, nobly shone the fearful cross upon your mail afar,
It has ever been so, my friend, and will ever remain so:
"Vivos voco Mortuos plango Fulgura frango." [44]
[The scenery of Gotthardt is here personified.]
Ne'er does he taste the fruit of the tree that he raised with such trouble;
Humanity's bright image to impair.
Within a vale, each infant year,
The clouds fast gather,
Other masters one always can tell by the words that they utter;
I see her still - by her fair train surrounded,
Where sails the ship? It leads the Tyrian forth
Religion 'twas produced this poem's fire;
"How far beneath me seems the earthly ball!
Doubtless an epoch important has with the century risen;
If thou feelest not the beautiful, still thou with reason canst will it;
Man is in truth a poor creature, I know it, and fain would forget it;
Stern as my conscience, thou seest the points wherein I'm deficient;
Her likeness Madame Ramler bids me find;
Look outside, good friend, I pray!
What thou thinkest, belongs to all; what thou feelest, is thine only.
The principle by which each thing
Hast thou the infant seen that yet, unknowing of the love
Which among the philosophies will be enduring? I know not,
Youth's gay springtime scarcely knowing
Plague's contagious murderous breath
Play on thy mother's bosom, babe, for in that holy isle
"Who would himself with shadows entertain,
The foaming stream from out the rock
Mighty art thou, because of the peaceful charms of thy presence;
Was it always as now? This race I truly can't fathom.
Ring and staff, oh to me on a Rhenish flask ye are welcome!
Thou'rt welcome in my box to peep!
Upon his battlements he stood,
An aged satyr sought
She sought to breathe one word, but vainly;
See in the babe two loveliest flowers united yet in truth,
Sure of the spring that warms them into birth,
'Tis thy Muse's delight to sing God's pity to mortals;
Years has the master been laboring, but always without satisfaction;
Life she received from fable; the schools deprived her of being,
By love are blest the gods on high,
Two genii are there, from thy birth through weary life to guide thee;
Two are the pathways by which mankind can to virtue mount upward;
A youth, impelled by a burning thirst for knowledge
Man of virtue has need;-into life with boldness he plunges,
Hail to thee, mountain beloved, with thy glittering purple-dyed summit!
Farewell! the beauteous sun is sinking fast,
The name of Wirtemberg they hold
Three words will I name thee around and about,
Three errors there are, that forever are found
Beside the brook the boy reclined
Whither was it that my spirit wended
When the happy appear, I forget the gods in the heavens;
What mean the joyous sounds from yonder vine-clad height?
Tell me all that thou knowest, and I will thankfully hear it!
Wouldst thou teach me the truth? Don't take the trouble! I wish not,
Thee would I choose as my teacher and friend. Thy living example
Are the sports of our youth so displeasing?
"I Have sacrificed all," thou sayest, "that man I might succor;
Severe the proof the Grecian youth was doomed to undergo,
Prate not to me so much of suns and of nebulous bodies;
Far away, where darkness reigneth,
Thou, by whom, freed from rules constrained and wrong,
When o'er the chords thy fingers stray,
Who and what gave to me the wish to woo thee
Ever take it for granted, that man collectively wishes
Speechless to thousands of others, who with deaf hearts would consult him,
Do I dream? can I trust to my eye?
Yes, my friends! that happier times have been
That is the only true secret, which in the presence of all men
"Give me only a fragment of earth beyond the earth's limits,"
Not in the crowd of masqueraders gay,
What I had been without thee, I know not yet, to my sorrow
Let thy speech be to thee what the body is to the loving;
Welcome, gentle Stripling,
The dead has risen here, to live through endless ages;
Do what is good, and humanity's godlike plant thou wilt nourish;
Many are good and wise; yet all for one only reckon,
Nature in charms is exhaustless, in beauty ever reviving;
Once wisdom dwelt in tomes of ponderous size,
That which I learned from the Deity,
When hostile elements with rage resound,
Wouldst thou, my friend, mount up to the highest summit of wisdom,
If thou anything hast, let me have it, I'll pay what is proper;
Sweet friend, the world, like some fair infant blessed,
Wheresoever thou wanderest in space, thy Zenith and Nadir