Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Aug. 28, 1749 - Mar. 22, 1832


The Wreaths

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Our German Klopstock, if he had his will,
Would bar us from the skirts of Pindus old.
No more the classic laurel should be priz'd,
But the rough leaflets of our native oak
Alone should glisten in the poet's hair;
Yet did himself, with spirit unreclaim'd
From first allegiance to those early Gods,
Lead up to Golgotha's most awful height
With more than epic pomp the new Crusade.
But let him range the bright angelic host
On either hill --no matter. By his grave
All gentle hearts should bow them down and weep.
For where a hero and a saint have died,
Or where a poet sang prophetical,
Dying as greatly as they greatly lived,
To give memorial to all after-times,
Of lofty worth and courage undismay'd;
There, in mute reverence, all devoutly kneel,
In homage of the thorn and laurel wreath,
That were at once their glory and their pang!



Poems And Ballads Of Goethe
Copyright 1859
William Edmondstoune Aytoun, D.C.L. ("A.")
and Theodore Martin ("M.")
Delisser & Procter
508 Broadway, New York