The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/L'Envoi

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For works with similar titles, see L'Envoi.


Now, gentle reader, is our journey ended.
Mute is our minstrel, silent is our song;
Sweet the bard's voice whose strains our course attended,
Pleasant the paths he guided us along.
Now must we part,—oh, word all full of sadness,
Changing to pensive retrospect our gladness!

Reader, farewell! we part perchance for ever.
Scarce may I hope to meet with thee again;
But e'en though fate our fellowship may sever,
Reader, will aught to mark that tie remain?
Yes! there is left one sad, sweet bond of union,—
Sorrow at parting links us in communion.

But of the twain, the greater is my sorrow,—
Reader, and why?—Bethink thee of the sun,
How, when he sets, he waiteth for the morrow,
Proudly once more his giant race to run,—
Yet e'en when set, a glow behind him leaving,
Gladdening the spirit, which had else been grieving.

Thus mayst thou feel, for thou to Goethe only
Biddest farewell, nor carest aught for me.
Twofold my parting, leaving me all lonely,—
I now must part from Goethe and from thee,
Parting at once from comrade and from leader,—
Farewell great minstrel! farewell gentle reader!

Hushed is the harp, its music sunk in slumbers,
Memory alone can waken now its numbers.