Schiller: “Partition of the Earth”

From “Faust: A Drama, by Goethe, and Schiller’s Song of the Bell.” Translated by Lord Francis Leveson Gower. London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street. 1823.





When Jove had encircled our planet with light,

And had roll’d the proud orb on its way,

And had given the moon to illume it by night,

And the bright sun to rule it by day;

The reign of its surface he form’d to agree

With the wisdom that govern’d its plan;

He divided the earth, and apportion’d the sun,

And he gave the dominion to man.


The hunter he sped to the forest and wood,

And the husbandman seized on the plain;

The fisherman launch’d his canoe on the flood,

And the merchant embark’d on the main.

The mighty partition was finish’d at last,

When a figure came listlessly on;

But fearful and wild were the looks that he cast

When he found that the labour was done.


The mien of disorder, the wreath which he wore,

And the frenzy that flash’d from his eye,

And the lyre of ivory and gold which he bore,

Proclaim’d that the poet was nigh;

And he rush’d all in tears, at the fatal decree,

To the foot of the Thunderer’s throne,

And complain’d that no spot of the earth or the sea

Had been given the bard as his own.


And the Thunderer smiled at his prayer and his mien,

Though he mourn’d the request was too late;

And he ask’d in what regions the poet had been

When his lot was decided by fate.

Oh! Pardon the error, he humbly replied,

Which sprung from a vision too bright;

My soul at the moment was close at thy side,

Entranced in these regions of light.


It hung on thy visage, it bask’d in thy smile,

And it rode on thy glances of fire;

And forgive, if, bewilder’d and dazzled the while,

It forgot every earthly desire.


The earth, said the Godhead, is portion’d away,

And I cannot reverse the decree;

But the heavens are mine, and the regions of day,

And their portal is open to thee.


Lord Leveson Gower, Francis Egerton

First Earl of Ellesmere