Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Introductory to Arabia
Mahomet’s Song
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
 
Translated by J. S. Dwight

SEE the rocky spring,
Clear as joy,
Like a sweet star gleaming!
O’er the clouds, he
In his youth was cradled        5
By good spirits,
’Neath the bushes in the cliffs.
 
Fresh with youth,
From the cloud he dances
Down upon the rocky pavement;        10
Thence, exulting,
Leaps to heaven.
 
For a while he dallies
Round the summit,
Through its little channels chasing        15
Motley pebbles round and round;
Quick, then, like determined leader,
Hurries all his brother streamlets
Off with him.
 
There, all round him in the vale,        20
Flowers spring up beneath his footstep,
And the meadow
Wakes to feel his breath.
But him holds no shady vale,
No cool blossoms,        25
Which around his knees are clinging,
And with loving eyes entreating
Passing notice;—on he speeds
Winding snake-like.
 
Social brooklets        30
Add their waters. Now he rolls
O’er the plain in silvery splendor,
And the plain his splendor borrows;
And the rivulets from the plain,
And the brooklets from the hillsides        35
All are shouting to him: Brother,
Brother, take thy brothers too,
Take us to thy ancient Father,
To the everlasting ocean,
Who e’en now with outstretched arms,        40
Waits for us,—
Arms outstretched, alas! in vain
To embrace his longing ones;
For the greedy sand devours us,
Or the burning sun above us        45
Sucks our life-blood; or some hillock
Hems us into ponds. Ah! brother,
Take thy brothers from the plain,
Take thy brothers from the hillsides
With thee, to our Sire with thee!        50
 
Come ye all, then!
Now, more proudly,
On he swells; a countless race, they
Bear their glorious prince aloft!
On he rolls triumphantly,        55
Giving names to countries. Cities
Spring to being ’neath his foot.
 
Onward, with incessant roaring,
See! he passes proudly by
Flaming turrets, marble mansions,        60
Creatures of his fulness all.
 
Cedar houses bears this Atlas
On his giant shoulders. Rustling,
Flapping in the playful breezes,
Thousand flags about his head are        65
Telling of his majesty.
 
And so bears he all his brothers,
And his treasures, and his children,
To their Sire, all joyous roaring,
Pressing to his mighty heart.        70
 
 
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