Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet
translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring (1826-1911), British writer
I have loved; for the first time with passion I rave!
I then was the servant, but now am the slave;
I then was the servant of all:By this creature so charming I now am fast bound,
To love and love's guerdon she turns all around,
And her my sole mistress I call.
l've had faith; for the first time my faith is now strong!
And though matters go strangely, though matters go wrong,
To the ranks of the faithful I'm true:Though ofttimes 'twas dark and though ofttimes 'twas drear,
In the pressure of need, and when danger was near,
Yet the dawning of light I now view.
I have eaten; but ne'er have thus relish'd my food!
For when glad are the senses, and joyous the blood,
At table all else is effacedAs for youth, it but swallows, then whistles an air;
As for me, to a jovial resort I'd repair,
Where to eat, and enjoy what I taste.
I have drunk; but have never thus relish'd the bowl!
For wine makes us lords, and enlivens the soul,
And loosens the trembling slave's tongue.Let's not seek to spare then the heart-stirring drink,
For though in the barrel the old wine may sink,
In its place will fast mellow the young.
I have danced, and to dancing am pledged by a vow!
Though no caper or waltz may be raved about now,
In a dance that's becoming, whirl round.And he who a nosegay of flowers has dress'd,
And cares not for one any more than the rest,
With a garland of mirth is aye crown'd.
Then once more be merry, and banish all woes!
For he who but gathers the blossoming rose.
By its thorns will be tickled alone.To-day still, as yesterday, glimmers the star;
Take care from all heads that hang down to keep far,
And make but the future thine own.
from The Poems of Goethe (1874)
courtesy of vintagewinepoems.com