From Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Once more you hover close,elusive shapes
my eye but dimly glimpsed when I was young.
Shall I now try to hold you captive?
Do these illusions still attract my heart?
Nearer yet you crowd! So be it! Do your will
as forth from mist and fog you rise about me-
the breath of magic that surrounds your train
stirs in my breast a youthful strength of feeling.
Images of happy days accompany you,
and many dear familiar shades emerge,
first loves and friendships too,
like ancient tales whose words are half forgotten;
pain is renewed, lament reiterates
life's perplexing labyrinth
and names kind friends, cheated of joy by fortune,
who have disappeared ahead of me.
The souls for whom I sang my early songs
will never hear the songs that follow;
those many friends are all dispersed,
their first response, alas! is long since muted.
My tragic song will now be heard by strangers
whose very praise must cause my heart misgivings,
and those to whom my song gave pleasure,
if they still live, roam scattered everywhere.
I feel the spell of long-forgotten yearning
for that serene and solemn spirit realm,
and like an aeolian harp my murmuring song
lets its uncertain tones float through the air.
I feel a sense of dread, tear after tear is falling,
my rigid heart is tenderly unmanned-
what I possess seems something far away
and what has disappeared proves real.
4 months ago