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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Prometheus
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
 
Translation of John Sullivan Dwight

        BLACKEN thy heavens, Jove,
            With thunder-clouds,
        And exercise thee, like a boy
            Who thistles crops,
      With smiting oaks and mountain-tops:        5
        Yet must leave me standing
            My own firm earth;
Must leave my cottage, which thou didst not build,
            And my warm hearth,
            Whose cheerful glow        10
            Thou enviest me.
 
        I know naught more pitiful
        Under the sun, than you, gods!
            Ye nourish scantily
            With altar taxes        15
        And with cold lip-service,
            This your majesty;—
            Would perish, were not
            Children and beggars
            Credulous fools.        20
 
            When I was a child,
      And knew not whence or whither,
      I would turn my ’wildered eye
      To the sun, as if up yonder were
      An ear to hear to my complaining—        25
            A heart, like mine,
    On the oppressed to feel compassion.
 
            Who helped me
    When I braved the Titans’ insolence?
        Who rescued me from death,        30
            From slavery?
    Hast thou not all thyself accomplished,
            Holy-glowing heart?
        And, glowing, young, and good,
        Most ignorantly thanked        35
        The slumberer above there?
 
        I honor thee! For what?
        Hast thou the miseries lightened
            Of the down-trodden?
    Hast thou the tears ever banished        40
            From the afflicted?
    Have I not to manhood been molded
            By omnipotent Time,
          And by Fate everlasting,
            My lords and thine?        45
 
            Dreamedst thou ever
      I should grow weary of living,
            And fly to the desert,
            Since not all our
            Pretty dream buds ripen?        50
 
            Here sit I, fashion men
            In mine own image,—
            A race to be like me,
            To weep and to suffer,
      To be happy and enjoy themselves,        55
        To be careless of thee too,
                As I!
 
 
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