Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Switzerland: Zurich, the Lake
The Lake of Zurich
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724–1803)
 
Translated by W. Taylor

FAIR is the majesty of all thy works
On the green earth, O Mother Nature, fair!
    But fairer the glad face
    Enraptured with their view.
Come from the vine-banks of the glittering lake,—        5
Or, hast thou climbed the smiling skies anew,
    Come on the roseate tip
    Of evening’s breezy wing,
And teach my song with glee of youth to glow,
Sweet Joy, like thee,—with glee of shouting youths,        10
    Or feeling Fanny’s laugh.
 
Behind us far already Uto lay,—
At whose foot Zurich in the quiet vale
    Feeds her free sons; behind,
    Receding vine-clad hills.        15
Unclouded beamed the top of silver Alps;
And warmer beat the heart of gazing youths,
    And warmer to their fair
    Companions spoke its glow.
And Haller’s Doris sang, the pride of song;        20
And Hirzel’s Daphne, dear to Kleist and Gleim;
    And we youths sang, and felt
    As each were—Hagedorn.
 
Soon the green meadow took us to the cool
And shadowy forest, which becrowns the isle.        25
    Then cam’st thou, Joy, thou cam’st
    Down in full tide to us;
Yes, Goddess Joy, thyself! We felt, we clasped,
Best sister of Humanity, thyself;
    With thy dear Innocence        30
    Accompanied, thyself!
 
Sweet thy inspiring breath, O cheerful Spring,
When the meads cradle thee, and thy soft airs
    Into the hearts of youths
    And hearts of virgins glide!        35
Thou makest Feeling conqueror. Ah! through thee,
Fuller, more tremulous heaves each blooming breast;
    With lips spell-freed by thee
    Young Love unfaltering pleads.
 
Fair gleams the wine when to the social change        40
Of thought or heartfelt pleasure it invites;
    And the Socratic cup,
    With dewy roses bound,
Sheds through the bosom bliss, and wakes resolves,
Such as the drunkard knows not,—proud resolves,        45
    Emboldening to despise
    Whate’er the sage disowns.
 
Delightful thrills against the panting heart
Fame’s silver voice, and immortality
    Is a great thought, well worth        50
    The toil of noble men.
By dint of song to live through after-times,—
Often to be with rapture’s thanking tone
    By name invoked aloud,
    From the mute grave invoked,—        55
To form the pliant heart of sons unborn,—
To plant thee, Love, thee, holy Virtue, there,—
    Gold-heaper, is well worth
    The toil of noble men.
 
But sweeter, fairer, more delightful ’t is        60
On a friend’s arm to know one’s self a friend!
    Nor is the hour so spent
    Unworthy heaven above.
 
Full of affection, in the airy shades
Of the dim forest, and with downcast look        65
    Fixed on the silver wave,
    I breathed this pious wish:
“O, were ye here, who love me, though afar,
Whom, singly scattered in our country’s lap,
    In lucky, hallowed hour,        70
    My seeking bosom found;
Here would we build us huts of friendship, here
Together dwell forever!” The dim wood
    A shadowy Tempo seemed;
    Elysium all the vale.        75
 
 
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