Schiller: “Thoughts, 1781”



What mean the joyous sounds from yonder vine-clad height?

What the exulting Evoe?

Why glows the cheek? Whom is’t that I, with pinions light,

Swinging the lofty Thyrsus see?

Is it the genius whom the gladsome throng obeys?

Do I his numerous train descry?

In plenty’s teeming horn the gifts of heaven he sways,

And reels from very ecstacy!—

See how the golden grape in glorious beauty shines,

Kissed by the earliest morning-beams!

The shadow of yon bower, how lovingly it signs,

As it with countless blessings teams!

Ha! glad October, thou art welcome unto me!—

October’s first-born, welcome thou!

Thanks of a purer kind, than all who worship thee,

More heartfelt thanks I’m bringing now!

For thou to me the one whom I have loved so well,

And love with fondness to the grave,

Who merits in my heart forevermore to dwell,—

The best of friends in Rieger gave.

‘Tis true thy breath doth rock the leaves upon the trees,

And sadly make their charms decay;

Gently they fall:—and swift, as morning phantasies

With those who waken, fly away.

‘Tis true that on thy track the fleecy spoiler hastes,

Who makes all Nature’s chords resound

With discord dull, and turns the plains and groves to wastes,

So that they sadly mourn around.

See how the gloomy forms of years, as on they roll,

Each joyous banquet overthrows,

When, in uplifted hand, from out the foaming bowl,

Joy’s noble purple brightly flows!

See how they disappear, when friends sweet converse hold,

And loving wander arm-in-arm;

And, to revenge themselves on winter’s north wind cold,

Upon each other’s breasts grow warm!

And when spring’s children smile upon us once again,

When all the youthful splendor bright,

When each melodious note of each sweet rapturous strain

Awakens with it each delight:

How joyous then the stream that our whole soul pervades!

What life from out our glances pours!

Sweet Philomela’s song, resounding through the glades,

Ourselves, our youthful strength restores!

Oh, may this whisper breathe—(let Rieger bear in mind

The storm by which in age we’re bent!)—

His guardian angel, when the evening’s star so kind

Gleams softly from the firmament!

In silence be he led to yonder thundering height,

And guided be his eye, that he,

In valley and on plain, may see his friends aright.

And that, with growing ecstacy,

On yonder holy spot, when he their number tells,

He may experience friendship’s bliss,

Now first unveiled, until with pride his bosom swells,

Conscious that all their love is his.

Then will the distant voice be loudly heard to say:

“And G—, too, is a friend of thine!

When silvery locks no more around his temples play,

G— still will be a friend of thine!”

“E’en yonder”—and now in his eye the crystal tear

Will gleam—”e’en yonder he will love!

Love thee too, when his heart, in yonder spring-like sphere,

Linked on to thine, can rapture prove!”