Translation:The Fair Magelone/XVII

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The Fair Magelone (1797)
by Ludwig Tieck, translated from German by Wikisource
Section 17
1141777The Fair Magelone — Section 171797Ludwig Tieck

17: Peter is Found by Fishermen

But meanwhile the wind rose and filled the sails, and the sailors hurried back to the ship to weigh anchor; only Peter was missing. They called him, but when he failed to appear, they departed.

They were already far offshore when Peter awoke from his refreshing sleep. He was alarmed when he realised that he had fallen asleep. He hurried to the shore, but no one was there and the ship was nowhere to be seen. Then a great sadness settled over his heart: all his hopes had vanished again. He fell down in a swoon and lay unconscious on the seashore. Night fell, though he was not aware of it.

After midnight the Moon rose and some fishermen landed on the island in a skiff to work. They found the young man lying on the ground as though dead. The mainland was not far away, so they placed him in their little skiff and set sail in the hope of restoring him to life. On the way Peter awoke. He was surprised to find the Moon shining in his face and to hear the straining of the oars. He could hear two strangers talking; they agreed to bring him to an old shepherd, who could take care of him. At times he thought that it was a dream, at times reality; and he remained uncertain until they finally made landfall at sunrise.

When Peter had lain for some time in the invigorating rays of the Sun, he recovered his strength and sat up. He offered thanks to God for rescuing him from the desert island. Then he gave the friendly fishermen a great quantity of gold, and had them point out to him the way to the shepherd's hut.

He passed through a thick and pleasant forest, through whose dark shadows the morning still dawned. He followed a meandering footpath, and reflected sadly on his fate. All the hardships he had suffered came fresh to his mind, and he grew so angry that he heartily wished he could finally die.

With these thoughts in mind he strode out of the forest and found himself on the edge of a beautiful green meadow that was gleaming in the morning light. Opposite him lay a little lonely hut; nearby some sheep were being driven by an old man across a hill. Everything glimmered red and friendly, and the quiet calm gave to Peter's soul a sense of repose. He realized that this was the hut that the fishermen had directed him to, and he wished to rest here a few days to refresh himself. So he crossed the meadow, in which many wild flowers bloomed red and yellow and azure, and approached the little hut. Before the door sat a beautiful slender girl; a lamb was frolicking in the grass at her feet. While he was crossing the meadow, she sang:

Blest is he who lives his life
Far from the turmoil of the world,
That yonder in the bustling crowd
Flows down like a torrent in flood.

We are all friends here:
Man, beast and flowering plant.
Mutually respectful of one another,
We are the embodiment of love.

The tender lambs frolic
Delighted by my feet.
The turtledoves sing
And coo good morning.

The rose-bush with greetings
Tenders his offspring,
There in the valley the blue host
Of sweet violets.

And while I am weaving garlands,
The grove resounds and rustles.
It wafts me the scent of the lime
In the golden moonlight.

All discord is left behind.
Pride, persecution, jealousy:
There is no place for them
Here in this golden age.

Pleasant jests wait upon me,
And troubled care withdraws.
But my heart alone
Is not yet at peace.

Because I once knew what it is to love
And to gaze upon and kiss a loved one,
But now I am banished
Far away to a distant land.

Joy only makes me sad
And casts a shadow over my quiet mind;
For my dear beloved
Is now gone forever.

Recall your bygone pleasures
And revive your spirits.
Remember the melancholy joys.
Otherwise your heart will break.

Dawn still smiles on me
Often, to be sure.
A faint hope then lulls
My heart to peaceful rest:

That I might find him again
Whom once I knew so well,
And that a band woven from good fortune
Might bind us together again.

Who knows through what shades
His feet are passing today.
Then he comes across the meadow
And all my sorrow is blown away.

The sighs and the tears:
A new happiness extinguishes them.
And hope and fear and longing:
It melts them in a moment.