The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Song of the Spirits over the Waters

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SONG OF THE SPIRITS OVER THE WATERS.

The soul of man is like to water;
From Heaven it cometh,
To Heaven it riseth,
And then returneth to earth,
For ever alternating.
Then foameth brightly,
In cloud-waves rolling,
O'er polished rocks.
Then tranquil flowing,
It wandereth, hiding,
Soft murmuring to depths below it.
Over scrags from the steep projecting
Falls it all roaring, foaming, step-like,
Far downward.
Then, level flowing.
Creeps to the meadow away:
And in the glassy sea
Gaze all the planets at their fair faces.

Wind is to wavelet tenderest lover:
Wind from the deep tears foam-crested billows.
Soul of man mortal, how art thou like water!
Fate of man mortal, how art thou like wind!