Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called one of the greatest dramatic works of modern European literature. His other well-known literary works include his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.
Goethe was one of the key figures of German literature and the movement of Weimar Classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; this movement coincides with Enlightenment, Sentimentalism (Empfindsamkeit), Sturm und Drang and Romanticism. The author of the scientific text ...
WHO rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."
"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."
"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."
"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."
The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,--
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.
from a translation by
Who rides so late where winds blow wild?
It is the father grasping his child;
He holds the boy embraced in his arm
He clasps him snugly, he keeps him warm.
"My son, why cover your face in such fear?"
"O don't you see the ErlKing near?
The ErlKing with his crown and train!"
"My son, the mist is on the plain."
"Sweet lad, o come and join me, do!
Such pretty games I'll play with you;
On the shore gay flowers their colors unfold
My mother has made you a garment of gold."
"My father, my father, o can you not hear
The promise the ErlKing breathes in my ear?"
"Be calm, stay calm my child, lie low
In withered leaves the night winds blow."
"Will you, sweet lad, come along with me?
My daughters shall care for you tenderly;
In the night my daughters their revelry keep,
They'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep."
"My father, my father, o can you not trace
The ErlKing's daughters in that gloomy place?"
"My son, my son, I see it clear
How grey the ancient willows appear."
"I love you, your comeliness charms me, my boy
And if you're not willing, then force I'll employ!"
"Now father, o father, he's seizing my arm
The ErlKing has done me the cruelest harm!"
The father shudders, his ride is wild
In his arms he's holding the shivering child
He reaches home with toil and dread.
In his arms, the child was dead.
We cannot remain long in a conscious state or in consciousness, we must take refuge again in the unconscious since there are our roots.
You can put up with everything in this world except not with a long stretch of beautiful days.
Nature is so perfect that the Trinity couldn't have fashioned her any more perfect. She is an organ on which our Lord plays and the devil works the bellows.
When married one has to get into an argument once in a while since in this way one learns about the other.
Every day one should at least listen to a little song, read a good poem, look at a fine painting, and, if possible, say a few reasonable words.
There is no way to face the great advantages of another person than through love.
Are we not also married to conscience which we would love to get rid of often enough since it is more bothersome than a man or a woman ever could become?
One doesn't always lose when one has to do without.
Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.
Idea and experience will never coincide in the center; only through art and action are they united.
How can one learn to know oneself? Never by introspection, rather by action. Try to do your duty, and you will know right away what you are like.
We who didn't inherit political power nor are made to acquire riches like nothing better than that which expands and solidifies the power of the spirit.
If we could do away with death, we wouldn't object; to do away with capital punishment will be more difficult. Were that to happen, we would reinstate it from time to time.
If the artist is not also a craftsman, the artist is nothing, but calamity: most of our artists are nothing but craftsmen.
What one doesn't understand one doesn't possess.