Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
Harz Mountains
Ride to the Hartz in Winter
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
Translated by J. S. Dwight

FREE as the hawk,
Which, on yon dark morning cloud-pile
With soft-spread pinion resting,
Looks out for prey,
Float my loose song!        5
Sure a God hath
Unto each his path
Which the fortunate
Swift to happiest        10
Goal pursues:
But whom misfortune
Hath frozen to the heart,
He frets him vainly
Against the restraint of        15
The wire-woven cord, which
Soon shall the bitter scissors
Snap once for all.
To gloomy thicket
Rushes the reindeer wild,        20
And with the sparrows have
Long ago the rich folks
Into their swamps for shelter sunk.
Easy to follow the chariot,
When ’t is Fortune drives,        25
Just as the lumbering cart
Over the hard, smooth road rolls
After a monarch’s march.
But aside who fareth?
In the woods he loses his path;        30
Swiftly behind him
The boughs fly together,
The grass stands up again,
The desert o’erwhelms him.
Ah! but who healeth the pangs of        35
Him, whose balm becomes poison?
Who but hate for man
From the fulness of love hath drunk?
First despised, and now a despiser,
Wastes he secretly        40
All his own best worth,
Brooding over himself.
Is there on thy psalter,
Father of love, one tone
Which his ear would welcome?        45
O, then, quicken his heart!
Open his beclouded look
Over the thousand fountains
All round him thirsting there
In the desert.        50
Thou, who on each bestowest
Joys, a superabundant share,
Bless the brothers of the chase,
Out on track of wild beasts
With danger-loving zeal of youth,        55
Eager to take life,
Late avengers of mischief,
Which for years hath defied the
Farmer’s threatening cudgel.
But the lone wanderer wrap        60
In thy golden cloud-fleeces;
And wreathe with evergreen,
Till the summer roses be blowing,
The dripping ringlets,
O Love, of this thy poet!        65
With thy flickering torch thou
Lightest him on
Through the fords, in the night,
Over treacherous footing
On desolate commons.        70
With the thousand tints of the morn, thou
Smil’st to his heart so!
With the bitter cold blast
Bear’st him gloriously up.
Winter torrents down from the rocks roll        75
Into his anthems.
An altar of cheerfulest thanks
Seems to him the terrible summit’s
Snow-hung, hoary crown,
Wreathed with rows of pale sprites        80
By the marvellous people.
Thou stand’st, with unexplored bosom
Mysteriously prominent,
Over the astonished world,
And look’st from the clouds there        85
Down on its riches and majesty,
Which thou from the veins of these thy brothers
Bound thee here waterest.

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