Goethe: “Solace in Tears”



Come, tell me why this sadness now,

When all so glad appears?

One sees it in thine eyes, my friend:

Thou’st surely been in tears.


“And if I go alone and weep,

‘T is grief I can’t impart;

And ‘t is so sweet, when tears will flow,

And ease the heavy heart.”


Thy gladsome friends, they call to thee:

O, come unto our breast!

And whatso’er thy heavy loss,

Confide it to the rest.


“Ye talk and stir, and do not dream

What ‘t is that ails poor me:

Ah, no! ‘t is nothing I have lost,

Though somewhat wanting be.”


Then gather up thy spirits once;

Thy blood is youthsome yet:

To youth like thine there wanteth not

The strength to seek and get.


“Ah, no!  to get it, that were vain:

It stands off all too far;

It dwells so high, it shines so fair,

As fair as yonder star.”


The stars we do not seek to have;

We but enjoy their light,

As we look up in ecstasy,

On every pleasant night.


“And I look up in ecstasy,

Full many a lovely day;

So leave me to my mood at night,

To weep while weep I may.”



Translator:  John S. Dwight, 1839