Set my breast on fire;Then above my head the blaze
That I wrote upon the sand--
Methought that all I had possess'd of yore
And yet a cross ne'er gain.
l've had faith; for the first time my faith is now strong!And though matters go strangely, though matters go wrong,
WHEN the pastor ask'd the foreign magistrate questions,What the people had suffer'd, how long from their homes they had wander'd,Then the man replied:--"By no means short are our sorrows,For we have drunk the bitters of many a long year together,All the more dreadful, because our fairest hopes have been blighted.Who can deny that his heart beat wildly and high in his bosomAnd that with purer pulses his breast more freely was throbbing,When the newborn sun first rose in the whole of its glory,When we heard of the right of man, to have all things in common,Heard of noble Equality, and of inspiriting Freedom!Each man then hoped to attain new life for himself, and the fettersWhich had encircled many a land appear'd to be broken,Fetters held by the hands of sloth and selfish indulgence.Did not all nations turn their gaze, in those days of emotion,Tow'rds the world's capital, which so many a long year had been so,And then more than ever deserved a name so distinguish'd?Were not the men, who first proclaim'd so noble a message,Names that are worthy to rank with the highest the sun ever shone on,Did not each give to mankind his courage and genius and language?
Our gaze on high ascends.We know no grief or pain,
Close by her side! so the bond beareth an impress divine!Oh then hasten, thou ship, with every favouring zephyr!
[This sweet Ballad, and the one entitled The Maid of the Mill'sRepentance, were written on the occasion of a visit paid by Goetheto Switzerland. The Maid of the Mill's Treachery, to which thelatter forms the sequel, was not written till the following year.]
Surely we for wine may languish!