The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Threatening Signs

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THREATENING SIGNS.

If Venus in the evening sky
Is seen in radiant majesty,
If rod-like comets, red as blood,
Are 'mongst the constellations viewed,
Out springs the Ignoramus, yelling:
"The star's exactly o'er my dwelling!
What woeful prospect, ah, for me!"
Then calls his neighbour mournfully:
"Behold that awful sign of evil,
Portending woe to me, poor devil!
My mother's asthma ne'er will leave her,
My child is sick with wind and fever;
I dread the illness of my wife,
A week has passed, devoid of strife,—
And other things have reached my ear;
The Judgment Day has come, I fear!"

His neighbour answers: "Friend, you're right!
Matters look very bad to-night.
Let's go a street or two, though, hence,
And gaze upon the stars from thence."—
No change appears in either case.
Let each remain then in his place,
And wisely do the best he can,
Patient as any other man.