Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Asiatic Russia: Caucasus, the Mountains
Prometheus
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
 
Translated by J. S. Dwight

BLACKEN thy heavens, Jove,
With thunder-clouds,
And exercise thee, like a boy
Who thistles crops,
With smiting oaks and mountain-tops!        5
Yet must thou leave me standing
My own firm Earth;
Must leave my cottage, which thou didst not build,
And my warm hearth,
Whose cheerful glow        10
Thou enviest me.
 
I know naught more pitiful
Under the sun than you, Gods!
Ye nourish scantily,
With altar-taxes        15
And with cold lip-service,
This your majesty;—
Would perish, were not
Children and beggars
Credulous fools.        20
 
When I was a child,
And knew not whence or whither,
I would turn my wildered eye
To the sun, as if up yonder were
An ear to hear to my complaining,—        25
A heart, like mine,
On the oppressed to feel compassion.
 
Who helped me,
When I braved the Titans’ insolence?
Who rescued me from death,        30
From slavery?
Hast thou not all thyself accomplished,
Holy-glowing heart?
And, glowing young and good,
Most ignorantly thanked        35
The slumberer above there?
 
I honor thee? For what?
Hast thou the miseries lightened
Of the down-trodden?
Hast thou the tears ever banished        40
From the afflicted?
Have I not to manhood been moulded
By omnipotent Time,
And by Fate everlasting,—
My lords and thine?        45
 
Dreamedst thou ever
I should grow weary of living,
And fly to the desert,
Since not all our
Pretty dream-buds ripen?        50
Here sit I, fashion men
In mine own image,—
A race to be like me,
To weep and to suffer,
To be happy and to enjoy themselves,—        55
All careless of thee too,
As I!
 
 
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