Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 (Frankfurt) – 1832 (Weimar)
MOTHER AND SON.
THUS the men discoursed together; and meanwhile the mother
Went in search of her son,--at first in front of the dwelling
On the bench of stone, for he was accustom'd to sit there.
When she found him not there, she went to look in the stable,
Thinking perchance he was feeding his splendid horses, the stallions
Which he had bought when foals, and which he entrusted to no one.
But the servant inform'd her that he had gone to the garden.
Then she nimbly strode across the long double courtyard,
Left the stables behind, and the barns all made of good timber,
Enter'd the garden which stretch'd far away to the walls of the borough,
Walk'd across it, rejoicing to see how all things were growing,
Carefully straighten'd the props, on which the apple-tree's branches,
Heavily loaded, reposed, and the weighty boughs of the pear-tree,
Took a few caterpillars from off the strong-sprouting cabbage;
For a bustling woman is never idle one moment.
In this manner she came to the end of the long-reaching garden,
Where was the arbour all cover'd with woodbine: she found not her son there,
Nor was he to be seen in any part of the garden.
But she found on the latch the door which out of the arbour
Through the wall of the town had been made by special permission
During their ancestor's time, the worthy old burgomaster.
So she easily stepp'd across the dry ditch at the spot where
On the highway abutted their well-inclosed excellent vineyard.
Rising steeply upwards, its face tow'rd the sun turn'd directly.
Up the hill she proceeded, rejoicing, as farther she mounted,
At the size of the grapes, which scarcely were hid by the foliage.
Shady and well-cover'd in, the middle walk at the top was,
Which was ascended by steps of rough flat pieces constructed.
And within it were hanging fine chasselas and muscatels also,
And a reddish-blue grape, of quite an exceptional bigness,
All with carefulness planted, to give to their guests after dinner.
But with separate stems the rest of the vineyard was planted,
Smaller grapes producing, from which the finest wine made is.
So she constantly mounted, enjoying in prospect the autumn.
And the festal day, when the neighbourhood met with rejoicing,
Picking and treading the grapes, and putting the must in the wine-vats,
Every corner and nook resounding at night with the fireworks,
Blazing and cracking away, due honour to pay to the harvest.
But she uneasy became, when she in vain had been calling
Twice and three times her son, and when the sole answer that reach'd her
Came from the garrulous echo which out of the town towers issued.
Strange it appear'd to have to seek him; he never went far off,
(As he before had told her) in order to ward off all sorrow
From his dear mother, and her forebodings of coming disaster.
But she still was expecting upon the highway to find him,
For the doors at the bottom, like those at the top, of the vineyard
Stood wide open; and so at length she enter'd the broad field
Which, with its spreading expanse, o'er the whole of the hill's back extended.
On their own property still she proceeded, greatly rejoicing
At their own crops, and at the corn which nodded so bravely,
Over the whole field in golden majesty waving.
Then on the border between the fields she follow'd the footpath,
Keeping her eye on the pear-tree fix'd, the big one, which standing
Perch'd by itself on the top of the hill, their property bounded.
Who had planted it, no one knew; throughout the whole country
Far and wide was it visible; noted also its fruit was.
Under its shadow the reaper ate his dinner at noonday,
And the herdsman was wont to lie, when tending his cattle.
Benches made of rough stones and of turf were placed all about it.
And she was not mistaken; there sat her Hermann and rested
On his arm he was leaning, and seem'd to be looking cross country
Tow'rds the mountains beyond; his back was turn'd to his mother.
Softly creeping up, she lightly tapp'd on his shoulder;
And he hastily turn'd; she saw that his eyes full of tears were.
'Mother,' he said in confusion:--'You greatly surprise me!' and quickly
Wiped he away his tears, the noble and sensitive youngster.
'What! You are weeping, my son?' the startled mother continued
'That is indeed unlike you! I never before saw you crying!
Say, what has sadden'd your heart? What drives you to sit here all lonely
Under the shade of the pear-tree? What is it that makes you unhappy?'
Then the excellent youth collected himself, and made answer
'Truly that man can have no heart, but a bosom of iron,
Who no sympathy feels for the wants of unfortunate exiles;
He has no se
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Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:
"Hermann And Dorothea - IV. Euterpe" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 21 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/21690/hermann-and-dorothea---iv.--euterpe>.