The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Vanitas, Vanitatum Vanitas
VANITAS, VANITATUM VANITAS.
On nothing have I set my heart,
So in the world I bear my part,
And whoso will be friend of mine
Must join with me, and not decline
To clink a glass of wine.
I set my heart on goods and wealth,
I lost thereby my nerves and health,
The coins they rolled off far and wide.
And what with one hand I did hide.
In t'other would not bide.
On woman next I set my heart,
From them I suffered many a smart,
The false one sought another lord.
With the true one I was greatly bored,
The best could not afford.
To travel next I did apply,
From house and kindred off did fly,
I'm pleased with nothing I have seen,—
The food was coarse, the bed not clean,
None knew what I did mean.
On honours next my heart I set,
But lo! my neighbour more did get,
And when I had advanced my name
The folks did look askance, and blame
As though I hurt their fame.
I set my heart on fighting then,
And many a battle we did gain,
We marched the foeman's country through,
Much profit there did not accrue,—
My leg's loss there I rue.
Now I have set my heart on nought.
The whole world to my feet is brought.
My song and feast to end I'm fain,
So every one your glasses drain,—
Let not a drop remain!