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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Gone in the Wind
By Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866)
 
Translation of James Clarence Mangan

SOLOMON! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
Like the swift shadows of noon, like the dreams of the blind,
Vanish the glories and pomps of the earth in the wind.
 
Man! canst thou build upon aught in the pride of thy mind?        5
Wisdom will teach thee that nothing can tarry behind;
Though there be thousand bright actions embalmed and enshrined,
Myriads and millions of brighter are snow in the wind.
 
Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.        10
All that the genius of man hath achieved or designed
Waits but its hour to be dealt with as dust by the wind.
 
Say, what is pleasure? A phantom, a mask undefined.
Science? An almond, whereof we can pierce but the rind.
Honor and affluence? Firmans that Fortune hath signed        15
Only to glitter and pass on the wings of the wind.
 
Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
Who is the fortunate? He who in anguish hath pined!
He shall rejoice when his relics are dust in the wind!        20
 
Mortal! be careful with what thy best hopes are entwined.
Woe to the miners for truth—where the lampless have mined!
Woe to the seekers on earth for—what none ever find!
They and their trust shall be scattered like leaves on the wind.
 
Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.        25
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
Happy in death are they only whose hearts have consigned
All earth’s affections and longings and cares to the wind.
 
Pity thou, reader! the madness of poor human-kind,
Raving of knowledge—and Satan so busy to blind!        30
Raving of glory—like me;—for the garlands I bind
(Garlands of song) are but gathered, and—strewn in the wind!
 
Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
I, Abul-Namez, must rest; for my fire hath declined,        35
And I hear voices from Hades like bells on the wind.
 
 
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