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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Hymn to Joy
By Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)
 
Translation of Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton

SPARK from the fire that gods have fed—
  Joy—thou elysian child divine,
Fire-drunk, our airy footsteps tread,
  O Holy One! thy holy shrine.
Strong custom rends us from each other,        5
  Thy magic all together brings;
And man in man but hails a brother,
  Wherever rest thy gentle wings.
 
Chorus—Embrace, ye millions—let this kiss,
    Brothers, embrace the earth below!        10
  Yon starry worlds that shine on this,
      One common Father know!
 
He who this lot from fate can grasp,—
  Of one true friend the friend to be,
He who one faithful maid can clasp,—        15
  Shall hold with us his jubilee;
Yes, each who but one single heart
  In all the earth can claim his own!
Let him who cannot, stand apart,
  And weep beyond the pale, alone!        20
 
Chorus—Homage to holy Sympathy,
    Ye dwellers in our mighty ring;
  Up to yon star pavilions—she
      Leads to the Unknown King!
 
All being drinks the mother dew        25
  Of joy from Nature’s holy bosom;
And Vice and Worth alike pursue
  Her steps that strew the blossom.
Joy in each link: to us the treasure
  Of Wine and Love; beneath the sod,        30
The worm has instincts fraught with pleasure;
  In heaven the Cherub looks on God!
 
Chorus—Why bow ye down—why down—ye millions?
    O World, thy Maker’s throne to see,
  Look upward—search the star pavilions:        35
      There must his mansion be!
 
Joy is the mainspring in the whole
  Of endless Nature’s calm rotation;
Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll
  In the great Timepiece of Creation;        40
Joy breathes on buds, and flowers they are;
  Joy beckons—suns come forth from heaven;
Joy rolls the spheres in realms afar,—
  Ne’er to thy glass, dim Wisdom, given!
 
Chorus—Joyous as suns careering gay        45
    Along their paths on high,
  March, brothers, march your dauntless way,
    As chiefs to victory!
 
Joy from Truth’s pure and lambent fires,
  Smiles out upon the ardent seeker;        50
Joy leads to virtue man’s desires,
  And cheers as Suffering’s step grows weaker.
High from the sunny slopes of Faith,
  The gales her waving banners buoy;
And through the shattered vaults of Death,        55
  Lo, ’mid the choral Angels—Joy!
 
Chorus—Bear this life, millions, bravely bear—
    Bear this life for the better one!
  See the stars! a life is there,
      Where the reward is won.        60
 
Men like the Gods themselves may be,
  Though men may not the Gods requite;
Go soothe the pangs of Misery,
  Go share the gladness with delight.
Revenge and hatred both forgot,        65
  Have naught but pardon for thy foe;
May sharp repentance grieve him not,
  No curse one tear of ours bestow!
 
Chorus—Let all the world be peace and love,
    Cancel thy debt-book with thy brother;        70
  For God shall judge of us above,
      As we shall judge each other!
 
Joy sparkles to us from the bowl:
  Behold the juice whose golden color
To meekness melts the savage soul,        75
  And gives Despair a hero’s valor.
Up, brothers! Lo, we crown the cup!
  Lo, the wine flashes to the brim!
Let the bright fount spring heavenward! Up!
  To the Good Spirit this glass! To him!        80
 
Chorus—Praised by the ever-whirling ring
    Of stars, and tuneful Seraphim,—
  To the Good Spirit, the Father-King
      In heaven! This glass to him!
 
Firm mind to bear what fate bestows;        85
  Comfort to tears in sinless eyes;
Faith kept alike with friends and foes;
  Man’s oath eternal as the skies;
Manhood,—the thrones of Kings to girth,
  Though bought by life or limb the prize;        90
Success to merit’s honest worth;
  Perdition to the brood of lies!
 
Chorus—Draw closer in the holy ring;
    Swear by the wine-cup’s golden river,
  Swear by the stars, and by their King,        95
      To keep this vow forever.
 
 
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