Hermann And Dorothea - V. Polyhymnia

THE COSMOPOLITE.

BUT the Three, as before, were still sitting and talking together,
With the landlord, the worthy divine, and also the druggist,
And the conversation still concern'd the same subject,
Which in every form they had long been discussing together.
Full of noble thoughts, the excellent pastor continued
'I can't contradict you. I know 'tis the duty of mortals
Ever to strive for improvement; and, as we may see, they strive also
Ever for that which is higher, at least what is new they seek after,
But don't hurry too fast! For combined with these feelings, kind Nature
Also has given us pleasure in dwelling on that which is ancient,
And in clinging to that to which we have long been accustom'd.
Each situation is good that's accordant to nature and reason.
Many things man desires, and yet he has need of but little;
For but short are the days, and confined is the lot of a mortal.
I can never blame the man who, active and restless,
Hurries along, and explores each corner of earth and the ocean
Boldly and carefully, while he rejoices at seeing the profits
Which round him and his family gather themselves in abundance.
But I also duly esteem the peaceable burgher,
Who with silent steps his paternal inheritance paces,
And watches over the earth, the seasons carefully noting.
'Tis not every year that he finds his property alter'd;
Newly-planted trees cannot stretch out their arms tow'rds the heavens
All in a moment, adorn'd with beautiful buds in abundance.
No, a man has need of patience, he also has need of
Pure unruffled tranquil thoughts and an intellect honest;
For to the nourishing earth few seeds at a time he entrusteth,
Few are the creatures he keeps at a time, with a view to their breeding,
For what is Useful alone remains the first thought of his lifetime.
Happy the man to whom Nature a mind thus attuned may have given!
'Tis by him that we all are fed. And happy the townsman
Of the small town who unites the vocations of town and of country.
He is exempt from the pressure by which the poor farmer is worried,
Is not perplex'd by the citizens' cares and soaring ambition,
Who, with limited means,--especially women and maidens,--
Think of nothing but aping the ways of the great and the wealthy,
You should therefore bless your son's disposition so peaceful,
And the like-minded wife whom we soon may expect him to marry.

Thus he spoke. At that moment the mother and son stood before them.
By the hand she led him and placed him in front of her husband
'Father,' she said, 'how often have we, when talking together,
Thought of that joyful day in the future, when Hermann, selecting
After long waiting his bride at length would make us both happy!
All kinds of projects we form'd. designing first one, then another
Girl as his wife, as we talk'd in the manner that parents delight in.
Now the day has arrived; and now has his bride been conducted
Hither and shown him by Heaven; his heart at length has decided.
Were we not always saying that he should choose for himself, and
Were you not lately wishing that he might feel for a maiden
Warm and heart-felt emotions? And now has arrived the right moment!
Yes, he has felt and has chosen, and like a man has decided.
That fair maiden it is, the Stranger whom he encounter'd.
Give her him; else he'll remain--he has sworn it--unmarried for ever.'

And the son added himself:--'My father, O give her! My heart has
Chosen purely and truly: she'll make you an excellent daughter.'

But the father was silent. Then suddenly rose the good pastor,
And address'd him as follows:--' One single moment's decisive
Both of the life of a man, and of the whole of his Future.
After lengthen'd reflection, each resolution made by him
Is but the work of a moment; the prudent alone seize the right one.
Nothing more dangerous is, in making a choice, than revolving
First this point and then that, and so confusing the feelings.
Pure is Hermann's mind; from his youth I have known him; he never,
Even in boyhood, was wont to extend his hand hither and thither.
What he desired, was suitable to him; he held to it firmly.
Be not astonish'd and scared, because there appears on a sudden
What you so long have desired. 'Tis true the appearance at present
Bears not the shape of the wish, as you in your mind had conceived it.
For our wishes conceal the thing that we wish for; our gifts too
Come from above upon us, each clad in its own proper figure.
Do not now mistake the maiden who has succeeded
First in touching the heart of your good wise son, whom you love so.
Happy is he who is able to clasp the hand of his first love,
And whose
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and politician. more…

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"Hermann And Dorothea - V. Polyhymnia" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Oct. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/21692/hermann-and-dorothea---v.--polyhymnia>.

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