The Winter Night.

A poem by Friedrich Schiller

Farewell! the beauteous sun is sinking fast,
The moon lifts up her head;
Farewell! mute night o'er earth's wide round at last
Her darksome raven-wing has spread.

Across the wintry plain no echoes float,
Save, from the rock's deep womb,
The murmuring streamlet, and the screech-owl's note,
Arising from the forest's gloom.

The fish repose within the watery deeps,
The snail draws in his head;
The dog beneath the table calmly sleeps,
My wife is slumbering in her bed.

A hearty welcome to ye, brethren mine!
Friends of my life's young spring!
Perchance around a flask of Rhenish wine
Ye're gathered now, in joyous ring.

The brimming goblet's bright and purple beams
Mirror the world with joy,
And pleasure from the golden grape-juice gleams
Pleasure untainted by alloy.

Concealed behind departed years, your eyes
Find roses now alone;
And, as the summer tempest quickly flies,
Your heavy sorrows, too, are flown.

From childish sports, to e'en the doctor's hood,
The book of life ye thumb,
And reckon o'er, in light and joyous mood,
Your toils in the gymnasium;

Ye count the oaths that Terence may he ne'er,
Though buried, calmly slumber!
Caused you, despite Minelli's notes, to swear,
Count your wry faces without number.

How, when the dread examinations came,
The boy with terror shook!
How, when the rector had pronounced his name,
The sweat streamed down upon his book!

All this is now involved in mist forever,
The boy is now a man,
And Frederick, wiser grown, discloses never
What little Fritz once loved to plan.

At length a doctor one's declared to be,
A regimental one!
And then, and not too soon, discover we
That plans soap-bubbles are alone. [68]

Blow on! blow on! and let the bubbles rise,
If but this heart remain!
And if a German laurel as the prize
Of song, 'tis given me to gain!

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