The Lake of Zürich
Fair is the majesty of all thy works
On the green earth, O Mother Nature, fair!
But fairer the glad face
Enraptured with their view.
Come from the vine-banks of the glittering lake,
Or, has thou climbed the smiling skies anew,
Come on the roseate tip.
Of evening’s breezy wing,
And teach my song with glee of youth to glow,
Sweet Joy, like thee, – with glee of shouting youths,
Or feeling Fanny’s laugh.
Behind us for already Uto lay,
At whose foot Zürich in the quiet vale
Feeds her free sons: behind,
Receding vine-clad hills.
Unclouded beamed the top of silver Alps:
And warmer beat the heart of gazing youths,
And warmer to their fair
Companions spoke its flow.
And Haller’s Doris sang, the pride of song;
And Hirzel’s Daphne, dear to Kleis and Gleim;
And we youths sang, and felt
As each were – Hagedorn.
Soon the green meadow took us to the cool
And shadowy forest, which becrowns the isle.
Then cam’st thou, Joy, thou cam’st
Down to full tide to us:
Yes, Goddess Joy, thyself! We felt, we clasped,
Best sister of Humanity, thyself;
With thy dear Innocence
Sweet thy inspiring breath, O cheerful Spring,
When the meads cradle thee, and they soft airs
Into the hearts of youths
And hearts of virgins glide!
Thou makest Feeling conqueror. Ah! Through thee,
Fuller, more tremulous heaves each blooming breast;
With lips spell-fixed by thee
Young Love unfaltering pleads.
Fair gleams the wine, when to the social change
Of thought, or heart-felt pleasure, it invites;
And the Socratic cup.
With dewy roses bound,
Sheds through the bosom bliss, and wakes resolves.
Such as the drunkard knows not, proud resolves,
Emboldening to despise
Whate’er the sage disowns.
Delightful thrills against the panting heart
Fame’s silver voice, – and immortality
Is a great thought, well worth
The toil of noble men.
By dint of song to live through after-times, –
Often to be with rapture’s thanking tone
By name invoked aloud,
From the mute grave invoked,
To form the pliant heart of sons unborn,
To plant thee, Love, thee, holy Virtue, there,
Gold-heaper, is well worth
The toil of noble men.
But sweeter, fairer, more delightful ‘tis
On a friend’s arm to know one’s self a friend!
Nor is the hour so spent
Unworthy heaven above.
Full of affection, in the airy shades
Of the dim forest, and with downcast look
Fixed on the silver wave,
I breathed this pious wish:
“O, were ye here, who love me though afar,
Whom, singly scattered in our country’s lap,
In lucky, hallowed hour,
My seeking bosom found:
Here would we build us huts of friendship, here
Together dwell forever!” – The dim wood
A shadowy Tempe seemed;
Elysium all the vale.