The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Welcome and Departure

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[Another of the love-songs addressed to Frederica.]

To horse!—away, o'er hill and steep!
Into the saddle blithe I sprung;
The eve was cradling earth to sleep,
And night upon the mountain hung.
With robes of mist around him set.
The oak like some huge giant stood,
While with its hundred eyes of jet,
Peered darkness from the tangled wood.

Amidst a bank of clouds, the moon
A sad and troubled glimmer shed;
The wind its chilly wings unclosed,
And whistled wildly round my head.
Night framed a thousand phantoms dire,
Yet did I never droop nor start;
Within my veins what living fire!
What quenchless glow within my heart!

We met; and from thy glance a tide
Of stifling joy flowed into me:
My heart was wholly by thy side,
My every breath was breathed for thee.
A blush was there, as if thy cheek
The gentlest hues of spring had caught,
And smiles so kind for me!—Great powers!
I hoped, yet I deserved them not!

But morning came to end my bliss;
A long, a sad farewell we took;
What joy—what rapture in thy kiss,
What depth of anguish in thy look!
I left thee, sweet! but after me,
Thine eyes through tears looked from above;
Yet to be loved—what ecstasy!
What ecstasy, ye gods, to love!