Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
 
Harz Mountains
Hartz Mountains
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
 
(From Faust)
Translated by P. B. Shelley

FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES, in alternate Chorus.
THE LIMITS of the sphere of dream,
  The bounds of true and false, are past.
Lead us on, thou wandering gleam,
  Lead us onward, far and fast,
  To the wide, the desert waste.        5
But see, how swift advance and shift
  Trees behind trees, row by row,—
How, clift by clift, rocks bend and lift
  Their frowning foreheads as we go.
  The giant-snouted crags, ho, ho!        10
  How they snort, and how they blow!
 
Through the mossy sods and stones
Stream and streamlet hurry down,
A rushing throng! A sound of song
Beneath the vault of heaven is blown!        15
Sweet notes of love, the speaking tones
Of this bright day, sent down to say
That paradise on earth is known,
Resound around, beneath, above;
All we hope and all we love        20
Finds a voice in this blithe strain,
Which wakens hill and wood and rill,
And vibrates far o’er field and vale,
And which echo, like the tale
Of old times, repeats again.        25
To-whoo! to-whoo! near, nearer now
The sound of song, the rushing throng!
Are the screech, the lapwing, and the jay,
All awake as if ’t were day?
See, with long legs and belly wide,        30
A salamander in the brake!
Every root is like a snake,
And along the loose hillside,
With strange contortions through the night,
Curls, to seize or to affright;        35
And animated, strong, and many,
They dart forth polypus-antennæ,
To blister with their poison spume
The wanderer. Through the dazzling gloom
The many-colored mice that thread        40
The dewy turf beneath our tread,
In troops each other’s motions cross,
Through the heath and through the moss;
And in legions intertangled,
The fireflies flit, and swarm, and throng,        45
Till all the mountain-depths are spangled.
 
Tell me, shall we go or stay?
Shall we onward? Come along!
Everything around is swept
Forward, onward, far away!        50
Trees and masses intercept
The sight, and wisps on every side
Are puffed up and multiplied.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
Now vigorously seize my skirt, and gain
This pinnacle of isolated crag.        55
One may observe with wonder from this point
How Mammon glows among the mountains.
 
FAUST
                                        Ay—
And strangely through the solid depth below
A melancholy light, like the red dawn,        60
Shoots from the lowest gorge of the abyss
Of mountains, lighting hitherward; there rise
Pillars of smoke; here clouds float gently by;
Here the light burns soft as the enkindled air,
Or the illumined dust of golden flowers;        65
And now it glides like tender colors spreading,
And now bursts forth in fountains from the earth,
And now it winds one torrent of broad light
Through the far valley with a hundred veins;
And now once more within that narrow corner        70
Masses itself into intensest splendor.
And near us see sparks spring out of the ground,
Like golden sand scattered upon the darkness;
The pinnacles of that black wall of mountains
That hems us in are kindled.        75
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
                        Rare, in faith!
Does not Sir Mammon gloriously illuminate
His palace for this festival,—it is
A pleasure which you had not known before.
I spy the boisterous guests already.        80
 
FAUST
                            How
The children of the wind rage in the air!
With what fierce strokes they fall upon my neck!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
Cling tightly to the old ribs of the crag.
Beware! for if with them thou warrest        85
In their fierce flight towards the wilderness,
Their breath will sweep thee into dust, and drag
Thy body to a grave in the abyss.
  A cloud thickens the night.
Hark! how the tempest crashes through the forest!        90
  The owls fly out in strange affright:
The columns of the evergreen palaces
  Are split and shattered;
The roots creak, and stretch, and groan;
And, ruinously overthrown,        95
The trunks are crushed and shattered
By the fierce blast’s unconquerable stress.
Over each other crack and crash they all
In terrible and intertangled fall;
And through the ruins of the shaken mountain        100
  The airs hiss and howl,—
It is not the voice of the fountain,
  Nor the wolf in his midnight prowl.
 
    Dost thou not hear?
      Strange accents are ringing        105
    Aloft, afar, anear;
      The witches are singing!
    The torrent of a raging wizard’s-song
    Streams the whole mountain along.
 
 
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