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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Dedication of ‘Aladdin’—to Goethe
By Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1779–1850)
Translation of Sir Theodore Martin

      BORN in far northern clime,
Came to mine ears sweet tidings in my prime
        From fairy-land;
      Where flowers eternal blow,
      Where power and beauty go,        5
        Knit in a magic band.
      Oft, when a child, I’d pore
In rapture on the ancient saga lore;
        When on the wold
      The snow was falling white,        10
      I, shuddering with delight,
        Felt not the cold.
      When with his pinion chill
The winter smote the castle on the hill,
        It fanned my hair;        15
      I sat in my small room,
      And through the lamp-lit gloom
        Saw Spring smile fair.
      And though my love in youth
Was all for Northern energy and truth,        20
        And Northern feats,
      Yet for my fancy’s feast
      The flower-appareled East
        Unveiled its sweets.
      To manhood as I grew,        25
From North to South, from South to North, I flew;
        I was possessed
  By yearnings to give voice in song
  To all that had been struggling long
        Within my breast.        30
      I heard bards manifold,
But at their minstrelsy my heart grew cold;
        Dim, colorless, became
      My childhood’s visions grand;
      Their tameness only fanned        35
        My wilder flame.
      Who did the young bard save?
Who to his eye a keener vision gave,
        That he the child
      Amor beheld, astride        40
      The lion, far off ride,
        Careering wild?
      Thou, great and good! Thy spell-like lays
      Did the enchanted curtain raise
        From fairy-land,        45
      Where flowers eternal blow,
      Where power and beauty go,
        Knit in a loving band.
      Well pleased thou heardest long
Within thy halls the stranger-minstrel’s song;        50
        Taught to aspire
      By thee, my spirit leapt
      To bolder heights, and swept
        The German lyre.
      Oft have I sung before;        55
And many a hero of our Northern shore,
        With grave stern mien,
      By sad Melpomene
      Called from his grave, we see
        Stalk o’er the scene.        60
      And greeting they will send
To friend Aladdin cheerly as a friend:
        The oak’s thick gloom
      Prevails not wholly where
      Warbles the nightingale, and fair        65
        Flowers waft perfume.
      On thee, to whom I owe
New life, what shall my gratitude bestow?
        Naught has the bard
      Save his own song! And this        70
Thou dost not, trivial as the tribute is,
        With scorn regard.

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