Ah, on the thousand Paths of the green earth the ardent searcher will never find Your godhke forms, and was it for this I learned your speech. The saga of your past, that my always mourning soul Should rush down blindly to your shades before its time? Where your sacred hill covers its lonely head with clouds, To Parnassus will I go, and when, in the dark of the oaks. The glimmering spring of Kastalia meets me, wandering, I will pour from a blossom-scented cup, there on the rich. Springing green, water mixed with tears, and with it, all you sleepers, I shall make a death oflFering.
There in the quiet valley, near Tempers overhanging rocks, 1 will Hve with you, and there, O glorious names, I will call you at night, and when you storm in anger Because a plow has profaned your graves, I will atone With the voice of the heart and with pious song, O holy shades. Until my soul is wholly accustomed to Hfe with you.
Then will your acolyte ask much of you, O dead. And of you, the living, as well, you high powers of the skyi When you pass by carrying your years over the ruins, You in undeviating course, for often this labyrinth Under the stars dismays me, like chill winds at the bosom. So that I search for counsel, and no longer do The prophetic groves of Dodona speak comfort to those in need.
And dumb is the Delphic god, and lonely and empty lie The paths where once, led lightly by his hopes, A questioner could chmb to the seat of the honest seer. But there is light on high, it speaks to mankind even today, Full of bright meanings, and the voice of the great thun- derer Calls: Do you think of me? And the sorrowful waves of the sea-god Resound: Do you never think of me as before? For the gods rest happily in feeling hearts, and today, As always, the inspiring powers gladly guide A striving man, and over the hills of the homeland The encompassing atmosphere rests and rules and stays So that a loving people, gathered in its father's arms.
May be humanly happy again and possess a spirit in com- mon. Men are bound to their own tasks Alone, and in the roaring workshop each can hear Only himself. They work hke savages, steadily. With powerful, restless arms, but always and always The labor of the fools is sterile, like the Furies. So it will be until, awakened from anxious dreams, The souls of men arise, youthfully glad, and the blessed Breath of love blows in a newer time, as it often did For the blossoming children of Hellas, and over freer brows The spirit of nature, the far-wandering, shines for us again In silent, hngering divinity from golden clouds.
Ah, do you linger still? And must God-created men Live always, O day, as if they were in the depths of the earth, All lonely there below, while ever-living spring Dawns unsung over the heads of the sleepers? Not any longerl Already I hear, in the distance, A festive choral song on the green hill and its echo in the grove, Where the breasts of the young lift happily and where the souls of the people Quietly join in a freer song for the honor of The god to whom the heights and the valleys are sacred; For where a youthful, growing stream runs gaily on Under the flowers of the land, and where on sunny plains The rich grain and the orchard ripen, there, in festival.
Even the pious wear crowns, and on the hill of the city A heavenly hall of joy, seemingly man-made, shines. For life is now full of godlike sensibility. And everywhere, O Nature, you appear again As perfection to your children, and as from mountain springs Your blessings flow into the waking soul of the people. Ah, then, O joys of Athens, O great achievements in Sparta, O precious springtime in Greece, when our holy harvest comes, When it ripens, O glorious spirits of all the ancient world, Come back and see that the year's perfection is near!
Then our festival will honor you, long-gone days! Conceal the griever From peering day! And crown with eternal leaf, you groves Of laurel, the hill of your dead ones there at Marathon, Where the youths died in victory. Ah, there on the fields of Chaeronea, Where the last Athenians ran away with their weapons.
But you, O immortal sea-god, if the song of the Greeks No longer rises from the waves to please you, as before. Still sound for me often in my soul, that over your waters The fearless, lively spirit, like a swimmer, may move In freshness and strength and understand the speech of the gods. Change and becoming, and if this destructive, raging time Should seize my head too firmly and the needs and errors Of mortal men should rock my life with blows.
Let me remember then the silence of your depths. Bliiht Jonien, ist es die Zeit? Deiner Inseln ist noch, der bliihenden, keine verloren. Alle leben sie noch, die Heroenmiitter, die Inseln, Bliihend von Jahr zu Jahr, und wenn zu Zeiten, vom Abgrund Losgelassen, die Flamme der Nacht, das untre Gewitter, Eine der Holden egriff und die Sterbende dir in den Schoos sank, Gottlicher, du, du dauertest aus, denn iiber den dunkeln Tiefen ist manches schon dir auf und untergegangen.
Auch die Himmhschen, sie, die Krafte der Hohe, die stillen. Wenn die allverklarende dann, die Sonne des Tages, Sie, des Orients Kind, die Wunderthatige, da ist, Dann die Lebenden all' im goldenen Traume beginnen, Den die Dichtende stets des Morgens ihnen bereitet, Dir, dem trauern- den Gott, dir sendet sie froheren Zauber, Und ihr eigen freund- liches Licht ist selber so schon nicht, Denn das Liebeszeichen, der Kranz, den immer, wie vormals Deiner gedenk, doch sie um die graue Loke dir windet.
Dann sendest du iiber das Land sie, Dass am heissen Gestad die gewittertrun- kenen Walder Rauschen und woogen mit dir, dass bald, dem wandernden Sohn gleich, Wenn der Vater ihn ruft, mit den tausend Bachen Maander Seinen Irren enteilt und aus der Ebne Kayster Dir entgegenfrohlokt, und der Erstgeborne, der Alte, Der zu lange sich barg, dein majestatischer Nil izt Hochher- schreitend aus fernem Gebirg, wie im Klange der Waffen, Sieg- reich kommt, und die offenen Arme der Sehnende reichet.
Dennoch einsam diinkest du dir; in schweigender Nacht hort Deine Weheklage der Fels, und ofters entflieht dir Ziirnend von SterbHchen weg die gefliigelte Wooge zum Himmel. Sage, wo ist Athen? Stiegen dort die Saulen empor und leuchteten dort nicht Sonst vom Dache der Burg herab die Cot- ter gestalten?. I Rauschte dort die Stimme des volks, die stiirmisch- bewegte, Aus der Agora nicht her, und eilten aus freudigen Pforten Dort die Gassen dir nicht zu geseegnetem Haf en herun- ter? Leicht aus spricht er das Wort, und schnell, wie der flammende Bergquell, Wenn er furchtbar umher vom gahrenden Atna gegossen, Stadte begrabt in der purpurnen Fluth und bliihende Garten, Bis der brennende Strom im heiligen Meere sich kiihlet, So mit dem Konige nun, versengend, stadteverwiistend, Stiirzt von Ekbatana daher sein prachtig Getiimmel; Wehl und Athene, die herrliche, fallt; wohl schauen und ringen Vom Gebirg, wo das Wild ihr Geschrei hort, fliehende Greise Nach den Wohnungen dort zuriik und den rau- chenden Tempeln; Aber es wekt der Sohne Gebet die heilige Asche I Nun nicht mehr, im Tal ist der Tod, und die Wolke des Brandes Schwindet am Himmel dahin, und weiter im Lande zu emdten, Zieht, vom Frevel erhizt, mit der Beute der Perse voriiber.
Blutige Boten, Erschlagne des Heers, und berstende Schiffe Wirft die Racherin ihm zahllos, die donnemde Wooge, Vor den Thron, wo er sizt am bebenden Ufer, der Arme, Schauend die Flucht, und fort in die fliehende Menge gerissen, Eilt er, ihn treibt der Gott, es treibt sein irrend Geschwader tJber die Fluthen der Gott, der spottend sein eitel Geschmeid ihm Endlich zerschlug und den Schwachen erreicht' in der drohenden Riistung. Aber liebend zuriik zum einsamharrenden Strome Kommt der Athener Volk und von den Bergen der Heimath Woogen, freu- dig gemischt, die glanzenden Schaaren herunter Ins verlassene Thai, achi gleich der gealterten Mutter, Wenn nach Jahren das Kind, das verlorengeachtete, wieder Lebend ihr an den Busen kehrt, ein erwachsener Jiingling, Aber im Gram ist ihr die Seele gewelkt und die Freude Kommt der hoffnungsmiiden zu spat und miihsam vemimmt sie, Was der liebende Sohn in seinem Danke geredet; So erscheint den Kommenden dort der Boden der Heimath.
Denn es fragen umsonst nach ihren Hainen die Frommen, Und die Sieger empf angt die freundliche Pforte nicht wieder, Wie den Wanderer sonst sie empfieng, wenn er froh von den Inseln Wiederhekrt' und die seelige Burg der Mutter Athene I t ber sehnendem Haupt ihm fernherglanzend heraufgieng. Aber wohl sind ihnen bekannt die verodeten Gassen Und die trauemden Garten umher und auf der Agora, Wo des Portikus Saulen gestiirzt imd die gottlichen Bilder Liegen, da reicht, in der Seele bewegt, und der Treue sich freuend, Jezt das liebende Volk zum Bunde die Hande sich wieder.
Aber Gezelte bauet das Volk, es schliessen die alten Nachbarn wieder sich an, und nach des Herzens Gewohnheit Ordnen die luftigen Wohnungen sich umher an den Hiigeln. Schon auch sprossen und bliihn die Blumen malig, die goldnen, Auf zertre- tenem Feld, von frommen Handen gewartet, Griinet der Olbaum auf, und auf Kolonos Gefilden Nahren friedlich, wie sonst, die Athenischen Rosse sich wieder.
Siehl und dem Schaf- fenden dient der Wald, ihm reicht mit den andern Bergen nahe zur Hand der Pentele Marmor und Erze; Aber lebend, wie er, und froh und herrlich entquillt es Seinen Handen, und leicht, wie der Sonne, gedeiht das Geschafft ihm. Brunnen steigen empor und iiber die Hiigel in reinen Bahnen gelenkt, ereilt der Quell das glanzende Beken; Und umher an ihnen erglanzt, gleich festhchen Helden Am gemeinsamen Kelch, die Reihe der Wohn- ungen, hoch ragt Der Prytanen Gemach, es stehn Gymnasien offen, I Gottertempel entstehn, ein heihgkiihner Gedanke, Steigt, Unsterblichen nah, das Olympion auf in den Ather Aus dem seeligen Hain; noch manche der himmlischen HallenI Mutter Athene, dir auch, dir wuchs dein herrlicher Hiigel Stolzer aus der Trauer empor und bliihte noch lange, Gott der Woogen und dir, und deine Liebhnge sangen Frohversammelt noch oft am Vorgebirge den Dank dir.
O die Kinder des Gliiks, die frommen I wandeln sie fern nun Bei den Vatem daheim, und der Schicksalstage vergessen, Drii- ben am Lethestrom, und bringt kein Sehnen sie wieder? Sieht mein Auge sie nie? Dort im schweigenden Thai, an Tempes hangenden Felsen, Will ich wohnen, mit euch, dort oft, ihr herrlichen Nahmen! Her euch rufen, bei Nacht, und wenn ihr ziirnend escheinet, Weil der Pflug die Graber entweiht, mit der Stimme des Herzens Will ich, mit frommen Gesang, euch siihnen, heilige SchattenI Bis, zu leben mit euch, sich ganz die Seele gewohnet.
Fragen wird der Geweihtere dann euch manches, ihr TodtenI Euch, ihr Le- benden auch, ihr hohen Krafte des Himmelsl Wenn ihr iiber dem Schutt mit euren Jahren vorbeigeht, Ihr in der sicheren BahnI denn oft ergreiffet das Irrsaal Unter den Sternen mir, wie schaurige Liifte, den Busen, Dass ich spahe nach Rath, und lang schon reden sie nimmer Trost den Bediirftigen zu, die prophe- tischen Haine Dodonas, Stumm ist der delphische Gott, und einsam liegen und ode Langst die Pfade, wo einst, von Hoff- nungen leise geleitet, Fragend der Mann zur Stadt des redlichen Sehers herauf stieg.
Aber droben das Licht, es spricht noch heute zu Menschen, Schoner Deutungen voll und des grossen Don- nerers Stimme, Ruft es: denket ihr mein? Denn es ruhn die Himmlischen gem am fiihlenden Herzen, Immer, wie sonst, geleiten sie noch, die begeistemden Krafte, Gerne den strebenden Mann, und iiber den Bergen der Heimath Ruht und waltet und lebt allgegenwartig der Ather, I Dass ein liebendes Volk, in des Vaters Armen gesammelt, Menschlich freudig, wie sonst, und Ein Geist alien gemein sei. Ans eigene Treiben Sind sie ge- schmiedet allein, und sich in der tosenden Werkstatt Horet jeglicher nur und viel arbeiten die Wilden Mit gewaltigem Arm, rastlos, doch immer und immer Unfruchtbar, wie die Furien, bleibt die Miihe der Armen.
Achl und sau- mest du noch? Denn vol! Dann, dann, o ihr Freuden Athens! Hin nach Hellas schaue das Volk, und weinend und dankend Sanftige sich in Erinnerungen der stolze Triimiphtag. Aber bliihet indess, bis unsre Friichte beginnen, Bliiht, ihr Garten Joniens! Aber du, unsterblich, wenn auch der Grie- chengesang schon Dich nicht feiert, wie sonst, aus deinen Woogen, o Meergott!
Tone mir in die Seele noch oft, dass iiber den Wassem Furchtlosrege der Geist, dem Schwimmer gleich, in der Starken Frischem Gliike sich iib', und die Gottersprache, das Wechseln Und das Werden versteh', und wenn die reissende Zeit mir Zu gewaltig das Haupt ergreifft und die Noth und das Irrsaal Unter Sterblichen mir mein sterblich Leben erschiittert, Lass der Stille mich dann in deiner Tiefe gedenken. Cold the Walls stand And wordless, in the wind The weathercocks are rattling.
And all around, from sanctum to sanctum. Runs the refreshing, the now-melodious stream, Till the house and its cold blue shadows. And a marveling seized The souls of the smitten and night Was over the eyes of the best. For man can do much; he compels with his art The flood and the rock and the fury of fire; Man is puffed up and heeds not The sword, but many a mighty one Lies there struck down by the gods, and almost Resembles the hunted— which, Urged by sweet youth. Roams unrestingly over the mountains and feels Its strength in the noonday heat.
But when holy Twilight descends with the dancing zephyrs, and. With the cooler ray, the spirit of joy Comes to the soulful earth, then it succumbs. Unaccustomed to beauty, and slimibers in wakeful sleep Before the approach of the stars. So we. For with many The hght faded out of their eyes at the sight of the friendly, The god-sent gifts from Ionia, From burning Arabia; but never Once did the soul of those sleepers Rejoice at the lovable teaching, the lordly psalms, though a few Watched. And often they journeyed Contented among you, you dwellers in beautiful cities. Sat at the contests, the games where the hero invisibly.
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Secretly sat as of old with the poets. Watching the wrestlers and smilingly praising, Himself full of praise, the gravely indolent children. O what a ceaseless loving it was and still is! For we still, though divided, think of each other. Dwellers upon the glorious isthmus.
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But if you And this must be said , if you ancients Spoke not the Word, whence should it come? So we name you in all your Holy necessity, Naturel from whom, as though stepping Fresh from the bath. The limbs of the god-bom appear. Yet almost we live like the orphans.
All is as it was, perhaps— only that tenderness Comes not again, though young lovers, Wistful of childhood, are strangers no more in the house. Threefold they live like the first Sons of the morning. And faith was not given Vainly into our hearts; Not us, but you also it safeguards, you Children of destiny, truly, and there Where the sanctities are, the arms of the Word Which you left for us fumblers and gropers at your de- parture. There we shall find you, good spirits; and often. When the holy vapor swirls round us, We marvel and know not how to unriddle it.
You spice our breath with your nectar And then we exult or more often we fall Darkly to brooding— for he whom you love overmuch Rnoweth no rest until he be one of you. Therefore, good spirits, encircle me hghtly, Let me remain, for much still remains to be sung. Thus, too, with all things. So auch wir. Denn manchen erlosch Das Augenlicht schon vor den gottlichgesendeten Gaben, Den freundlichen, die aus lonien uns, Auch aus Arabia kamen, und froh ward Der teuern Lehr und auch der holden Gesange I Die Seele jemer Entschlafenen nie, Doch einige wachten.
Und sie wandelten oft Zufrieden unter euch, ihr Biirger schoner Stadte, I Beim Kampfspiel, wo sonst unsichtbar der Heros Ge- heim bei Dichtern sass, die Ringer schaut' und lachelnd Pries, der gepriesene, die miissigernsten Kinder. Ein unaufhorlich Lie- ben wars und ists. Die nihn nun. Aber wenn ihr, Und dies ist zu sagen, Ihr Alten all, nicht sagtet, woher Wir nennen dich: heiliggenotiget, nennen, Naturl dich wir, und neu, wie dem Bad entsteigt Dir alles Gottlichgeborne. Zwar gehn wir fast, wie die Waisen; Wohl ists, wie sonst, nur jene Pf lege nicht wieder; Doch Jiinglinge, der Kindheit gedenk, Im Hause sind auch diese nicht fremde.
Sie leben dreifach, eben wie auch Die ersten Sohne des Himmels. Und nicht umsonst ward uns In die Seele die Treue gegeben. Nicht uns, auch Eures bewahrt sie, [ Und bei den Heiligtiimern, den Waffen des Worts, I Die scheidend ihr den Ungeschickteren uns, Ihr Schicksals- sohne, zuriickgelassen, Ihr guten Geister, da seid ihr auch, Oftmals, wenn einen dann die heilige Wolk umschwebt, Da staunen wir und wissens nioht zu deuten. Ihr aber wiirzt mit Nektar uns den Othem Und dann frohlocken wir oft oder es bef aUt uns Ein Sinnen, wenn ihr aber einen zu sehr liebt, Er ruht nicht, bis er euer einer geworden.
Darum, ihr Giitigenl umgebet mich leicht, Damit ich bleiben moge, denn noch ist manches zu singen, Jetzt aber endiget, selig- weinend, Wie eine Sage der Liebe, Mir der Gesang, und so auch ist er Mir, mit Erroten, Erblassen, Von Anfang her ge- gangen. Doch Alles geht so. There it is that on feast days go The swarthy women Upon silken ground, At the time of March When night is equal with day. And over slow passes. Heavy with golden dreams, Drift wild airs bringing sleep. But let one hand me, Full of the dark hght. The fragrant cup. That I might rest; for sweet Sleep would be, under shadows. It is not good Soulless to be, with mortal Thoughts.
Yet good Is converse, and to say The heart's meaning, to hear much Of days of love, And events, the doing of deeds. But where are the friends? Bellarmin With the companion? Many a one Bears shyness, timid to go to the source; The beginning of riches is truly In the sea. They, the seafarers, Like painters, assemble The beautiful of the earth, and do not disdain Winged war, and suffer To live alone, yearlong, under The leafless mast, where the night is not lit up With the glow-lamps of the town's feast days. Nor the playing of strings nor innate dancing.
The river goes out. The sea, though, Takes and gives recollection, And love, too, fixes the eyes intently. What endures, however, poets create. Nicht ist es gut Seellos von sterb- lichen Gedanken zu seyn. Wo aber sind die Freunde? Bellarmin Mit dem Gefahrten? Was bleibet aber, stiften die Dichter.
But where danger is, there Arises salvation also. In darkness dwell The eagles, and fearless across the abyss Go the sons of the Alps On hghtly built bridges. Therefore, since all round are upheaped The summits of time. And those that dwell nearest in love Must languish on uttermost mountains, Give us then innocent water, pinions give us, to pass Over with constant minds and again return. So I spoke, when swifter Than I had fancied, and far.
Whither I never had thought to come, A Genius bore me away From my house. In the twilight The shadowy woods darkened as I went And the yearning brooks of my home; No more did I know these lands. Yet soon in fresh radiance. Mysterious In the golden smoke. Swiftly sprung up With the tread of the sun, Asia bloomed out before me. But high in the light Blossoms the silver snow, And, witness to life everlasting. On attainless walls The immemorial ivy grows, and upborne Upon living columns of cedars and laurels Are the solemn, The divinely built palaces.
But about Asia's portals. Running hither and thither In hazardous wastes of sea Ripple shadowless ways enough, Yet the seaman knoweth the isles. Yet bountiful In the needier house Is she nonetheless. And when out of shipwreck or in Lament for his home Or the departed friend.
One of the strangers Draws near to her, she hears it with joy, And her children. The voices of the warm glade And the rock-dwelling breezes And the rocks too, they hear him, and lovingly The echo rings out to the lament of the man. And the watchful man viewed well The face of the god As, at the mystery of the vine. They sat together, at the hour of the banquet, And quietly prescient in his great soul The Lord spake death and the last love; For never enough Had he of words for telling of kindness At that time, and gladdening.
When he saw it, the wrath of the world. For all things are good. Therefore he died. Of that There were much to be said. And the friends saw How he gazed forth victorious, The most joyful of all, at the last. Yet they mourned, as now It was grown evening, astounded, For in their souls the men weighed A mighty decision, but they loved Life under the sun, and they would not leave The face of the Lord and their homeland.
Inwrought was that As fire in the iron, and at their side Went the shadow of the Beloved. Therefore he sent them The Spirit, and the house trembled. And the storm of God Rolled far-thundering over their fateful heads. Where brooding Were gathered the heroes of death Now as he, in departure, Once more appeared before them. No good Had it been later, cleaving abruptly And truthless, the work of man, and it was joy From now on To dwell in loving night and maintain Steadfast in simple eyes Abysses of wisdom.
And deep On the mountains too Living images flourish. Yet it is dreadful how far and wide God endlessly scatters the living. Dreadful it is to leave The face of dear friends and to wander Far over the mountains alone. When the Heavenly Spirit, Known before in communion, Was single in meaning; and though it was never foretold them, Yet by their very Hair did it seize them. As, hastening away into the distance, God of a sudden looked back, and conjuring Him to remain, naming the evil, Bounden henceforth as with golden cords. They gave one another their hands.
It is the cast of the Sower, as he seizes The wheat with his spade And flings across to the clear grain. Driving it over the threshing floor. The husks fall at his feet, But in the end cometh the com. And no evil it is if something Is lost and the living sound Fades from our speech, For heavenly labor is like to our own. The Highest would not have AH at one time. So long as the pit bear iron. And Etna ghttering resin, So I have riches To fashion an image and see in the semblance Christ as he had been.
But when one spurred himself on, And sadly speaking on the way where I was weaponless. Overpowered me, so that I marveled and an impostor Would be moulding an image of God- Visible in anger did I once See the sovereigns of heaven. Not that I were To become anything, but to learn. Kindly they are, but most Hateful to them as long as they reign Is falsehood, as there dwells Himianity then no more among men.
For they do not reign, rather Fate Reigns more immortally. And when ascends higher The heavenly pageant of triumph. The exulting Son of the Most High, Like to the sun itself, is named by the mighty An emblem, and here is the staff Of song signaling down. For nothing is common. It wakens the dead Who are not yet caught by the rawness of death. But many shy eyes Wait to behold the Hght. They would not Blossom forth in the sharp radiance. Though the golden bridle guideth their courage. But when, As from swelHng eyebrows Forgetful of the world.
Quietly shining strength falls From the Holy Scriptures, Rejoicing in grace They yield themselves to calm vision. Quiet is his sign In the thimderous sky. And One stands beneath it His life long. For Christ Hves yet. But the heroes, his sons. All are come and the Holy Scriptures From him, and the deeds of the earth Have illumined the hghtning till now, A contest unwaning. But he is there. For his works Are known to him from everlasting. Too long, too long already Has the glory of the Blessed been viewless. For each of the Blessed demand sacrifice. Yet if one were passed over Ne'er did it bring about good.
We have served the earth our mother And of late we have served The light of the sim Unwittingly, but the Father who rules over all Loves best that the constant Letter be fostered, And enduring existence Interpreted well. With this is accordant The song of my people. Wo aber Gefahr ist, wachst I Das Rettende auch. So sprach ich, da entfiihrte Mich schneller, denn ich vermutet I Und weit, wohin ich nimmer Zu kommen gedacht, ein Genius mich Vom eigenen Haus.
Denn alles ist gut. Drauf starb er. Vieles ware Zu sagen davon. Und es griinen Tief an den Bergen auch lebendige Bilder. Doch furchtbar ist, wie da und dort Unendlich hin zerstreut das Lebende Gott. Nicht alles will der Hochste zumal. Zwar Eisen traget der Schacht, Und glii- hende Harze der Atna, So hatt ich Reichtum, Ein Bild zu bil- den, und ahnlich Zu schaun, wie er gewesen, den Christ, Wenn aber einer spornte sich selbst, Und traurig redend, un- terweges, da ich wehrlos ware, Mich iiberfiele, dass ich staunt und von dem Gotte Das Bild nachahmen mocht ein Knecht— Im Zome sichtbar sah' ich einmal Des Himmels Herm, nicht, dass ich sein soUt etwas, sondern Zu lernen.
Giitig sind sie, ihr Verhasstestes aber ist, Solange sie herrschen, das Falsche, und es gilt I Dann Menschliches unter Menschen nicht mehr. Denn sie nicht walten, es waltet aber Unsterblicher Schicksal und es wandelt ihr Werk Von selbst und eilend geht es zu Ende. Die Toten wecket Er auf, die noch getangen nicht Vom Rohen sind. Es warten aber Der scheuen Augen viele Zu schauen das Licht. Still ist sein Zei- chen I Am donnernden Himmel. Und Einer stehet daninter Sein Leben lang. Denn noch lebt Christus. Er ist aber dabei. Denn seine Werke sind Ihm alle bewusst von jeher. Zu lang, zu lang schon ist Die Ehre der Himmlischen unsicht- bar.
Dem f olgt deutscher Gesang. Ripened the fruit, in fire cast, baked And tried on the earth, and it is the law That all go back into it, like snakes, Prophetic, dreaming on The hills of the heavens. And there is so much Like a burden Of logs on the shoulders That has to be borne. Though the roads Are not right. For discrepant, As horses, go the tethered Elements and the immemorial Laws of the earth.
And ever A longing strains after the fetterless. But there is so much That has to be borne. And one must be true. Let us look not before, though, Nor after. May we be rocked, rather, as A boat is cradled at sea. Aber bos sind Die Pfade. Und immer Ins Ungebundene gehet eine Sehnsucht. Vieles aber ist Zu behalten. Und Noth die Treue. Vorwarts aber und riikwarts woUen wir [ Nicht sehn.
Uns wiegen lassen, wie Auf schwankem Kahne der See. Voices calmly wending filled And aired is the ancient Bliss-wont hall; fragrant above green carpets floats The happy cloud, stand gleaming wide, Of ripest fruit abundant, and of golden-wreathed bowls. Well meted out, resplendent rows Uprising here and there aside of the Smoothed ground, the tables.
For, coming from afar Hither, at eventide, Loving guests have bid themselves. Dawn fills my eyes. Well-nigh I deem This celebration's prince. Him, to behold That smiles upon a day's great labor: Although you will deny your strangeness And, wearied by your glorious course, Cast down your eyes, forgotten, softly shaded.
And will take on a friendly shape, O Widely Known, Yet bends the knees your awe. Nothing outstrips you; But this I know: of mortal you came not. Wisdom may show me many a thing, but Where a god enters as well A more luminous day wiU break. Yet not xmheralded he comes: And he whom neither flame nor flood deterred Need not be vainly startled by this stillness, now That neither man nor spirit yields to order. Downstream to sleep, at the sounding of peace. But, days endeared of innocence, you also bring Today, O loved ones, the celebration, and The spirit blossoms in this quiet round; And hasten forth I must, although, O friends, my locks are gray, an eternal youth Preparing the wreaths for the feast.
And many a one I would gladly ask; but you. Concerned, stem but friendly, for mankind, who Far off beneath Syrian palms, Close by that city, would sit by the well: The com fields mstled, quietly the cool Air breathed in the shade of the sacred mountains. So did loving friends shade you, Like faithful clouds tempering Your rays cast toward man.
A mortal doom, amidst your words, was to fold A darker shade around you, dreadful fate. So transient Is what Heaven proffers; but not in vain therefore, For but lightly a god will touch, knowing What are our limits, the human abode. Nor can we reckon the moment.
Then, too, Hcense may walk unleashed, Blasphemers shall reach the holy spot From distant parts, exercising their frenzy To strike at a fate; yet gratitude Does not come straight in the wake of divine gifts: It must be won through ordeal. Had not the giver been thrifty always, Surely the sacred treasures of our hearth Would have turned all to destruction.
Even so, much was granted us from above. Fire we received. And the shores, and the floods of the sea. Before your eyes the stars Teach you, who shall never become their equal. Of the eternally living, however. Whence joy flows, and song, One came, a son, valiantly calm. And now we behold him. Knowing his father, now That, to hold his celebration. The high Spirit of the World Has descended toward us.
Too great he was to be the lord of ages; Too far his realm to be ever exhausted. Even so, one day a god may choose labor To be like the mortals, sharing their fate. For it is decreed that all shall recognize each other. And language hold sway once silence has returned. Yet where the Spirit liveth we venture forth. Contending for the best. Thus I judge it best —When the painter has at last achieved his likeness And stepped, masterful, from his workshop, lord of love only— That equity reign All the way from earth to heaven.
Man has experienced much since the dawn. Ever since speech began, and mutual notice; But song follows apace. And the vision of time, divinely unfolding. Sign of the Spirit, lies before us, bonds of aUiance Fastening his might to the powers of nature. Not him alone, but the unborn generations This token proves: just as in plants Mother Earth, and air, and light will join together.
Yet as a final token, O holy powers, This very day of celebration testifies For you, a mark of love. You, unforgettable one, at time's decline, Our celebration's youthful prince. No sooner wiU This race lie down imtil You, promised ones, each single one Of you, immortal beings, to pronounce Your heaven's bounties, have arrived In our house. Fragrant breezes Are your herald. The steaming downs announce you And the ground, still resounding with tempests. Now the cheek is refreshed with hope And in front of the opened bouse The mother sits with her child.
Regarding this utter peace. And fewer seem the agonies. A harbinger has caught the soul, A promise sent, of golden light. Keeping the aged from dying. Well wrought from above are The savors of life. And labors banned. For all is pleasing now, But most of all Simphcity: for the vainly sought. The golden fruit. You grieved, O Mother, like The Honess when. Nature, You lost your children. Too eagerly loving, you suffered their loss.
When robbed of them by a foe Whom you almost took for your own son, A satyr mingling with gods. Thus you did much of your building And buried many a thing. For you are hated by those whom You, powerful beyond time. Had drawn forth into hght. Now you know and, knowing, relax: For gladly rests down below.
So it may ripen, the anxiously caring world. Denn feme kommend haben Hieher, zur Abendstunde, Sich liebende Gaste beschieden. Nichts vor dir, [ Nur Fines weiss ich, Sterbliches bist du nicht. Ein Weiser mag mir manches erhellen; wo aber Ein Gott auch noch erscheint, Da ist doch andere Klarheit. Das ist, sie horen das Werk, Langst vorbereitend, von Morgen nach Abend, jetzt erst, Denn un- ermesslich brausst, in der Tief e verhallend, Des Donnerers Echo, das tausendjahrige Wetter, Zu schlaf en, iibertont von Friedens- lauten, hinunter.
Und manchen mocht' ich laden, aber o du, Der freundlichemst den Menschen zugethan, Dort unter syrischer Pahne, Wo nahe lag die Stadt, am Brunnen geme war; Das Komf eld rauschte rings, still athmete die Kiihlung Vom Schatten des geweihetenGebirges; I Und die lieben Freunde, das treue Gewolk, Umschatteten dich auch, damit der heiligkiihne Durch Wildniss mild dein Straal zu Menschen kam, o JiinglingI Ach' aber dunkler umschattete, mit- ten im Wort, dich I Furchtbarentscheidend ein todtlich Verhang- nis.
So ist schnell Verganglich alles Himmlische; aber umsonst nicht; Denn schonend riihrt des Maases allzeit kundig Nur einen Augenblick die Wohnimgen der Menschen Ein Gott an, imver- selm, und keiner weiss es, wenn? Auch dart alsdann das Freche driiber gehn Und kommen muss zum heilgen Ort das Wilde Von Enden fern, iibt rauhbetastend den Wahn, Und trif t daran ein Schicksal, aber Dank, Nie folgt der gleich hemach dem gott- gegebenen Geschenke; I Tiefpriif end ist es zu f assen.
Des Gottlichen aber empfiengen wir Doch viel. Und es lehret Gestim dich, das Vor Augen dir ist, doch nimnier kannst du ihm gleichen. Denn langst war der zum Herm der Zeit zu gross Und weit aus reichte sein Feld; wann hats ihn aber erschopfet? Einmal mag aber ein Gott auch Tagewerk erwahlen, Gleich sterblichen und theilen alles Schicksal. Schicksalgesetz ist diss, dass alle sich erfahren, Dass, wenn die Stille kehrt, auch eine Sprache sei.
I Wo aber wirkt der Geist, sind auch wir mit, und streiten, Was wohl das Beste sei. So diinkt mir jezt das Beste, Wenn nun vollendet sein Bild und fertig ist der Meister, Und selbst ver- klart davon aus seiner Werkstatt tritt, Der stille Gott der Zeit und nur der Liebe Gesez Das schonausgleichende gilt von hier an bis zum Himmel. Und das Zeitbild, das der grosse Geist entfaltet, Ein Zeichen liegts vor uns, das zwischen ihm und andem Ein Biindnis zwi- schen ihm und andem Machten ist.
Nicht er allein, die Uner- zeugten, Ew'gen Sind kennbar alle daran, gleichwie auch an den Pflanzen Zulezt ist aber doch, ihr heiligen Machte, fiir euch Das Liebeszeichen, das Zeugnis Dass ihrs noch seiet, der Festtag. So hast du manches gebaut, Und manches begraben, Denn es hasst dich, was Du, vor der Zeit Allkraftige, zum Lichte gezogen. Nun kennest, nun lassest du diss; I Denn gerne fiihllos ruht, Bis dass es reift, furchtsam- geschaftiges drunten.
What here we are, far oflF a god amends With harmonies, everlasting recompense, and peace. For a while, especially during his sojourn in Jena, he was subjected to Schiller's influence. In Leipzig he met Friedrich Schlegel and became deeply attached to him and his new ideas. After his graduation from the Wit- tenberg law school , he moved to Tennstedt, in Thuringia, to train for a pubHc post and met there in the thirteen-year-old Sophie von Kiihn with whom he fell in love.
At her death the poet was imconsolable, and out of his grief sprang his Hymns to the Night in which he expressed a mystical death wish, granted soon there- after: he died of consimiption in , when scarcely twenty-nine. In addition to the Hymns, considered a land- mark in the history of German poetry, Novahs wrote two lyrical novels— The Novices of Sais and Henry of Ofter- dingen, wherein the symboHc 'l lue flower" of the Roman- tics first blossomed— an essay, "Christianity or Europe," in which he glorified the medieval spirit, and finally his Spir- itual SongSy inspired by the rituals and festivals of the church and praising the Virgin Mary as the great symbol of the Infinite.
When numbers, figures, no more hold the key To solve the living creatures' mystery, When those who kiss and sing have knowledge more Than all the deeply learned scholars' store. And when in poesy and faerie Men read the world's eternal story, Then will a secret word obhge to flee All of this mad perversity. Gifted with feehng, Bestows not his love On the all-joyful light? As life's inmost soul It is breathed By the giant world Of restless stars Who swim in its blue ocean. By the sparkling stone, The peaceful plant.
By the creatures' Many-fashioned Ever-moving Hfe. It is breathed by the clouds Many-hued, by the zephyrs. And, above all, By the glorious strangers, With the thoughtful eyes. The swinging gait, And the sounding lips. Indeed, the man appeared to have been one of the beasts of burden in our great social mill; one of those Parisian Ratons whom their Bertrands do not even know by sight; a pivot in the obscure machinery that disposes of misery and things unclean; one of those men, in short, at sight of whom we are prompted to remark that, "After all, we cannot do without them.
Ihre grau und schwarzen Augen hatten einen sanften Ausdruck und spiegelten christliche Entsagung. Stately Paris ignores the existence of these faces bleached by moral or physical suffering; but, then, Paris is in truth an ocean that no line can plumb. You may survey its surface and describe it; but no matter how numerous and painstaking the toilers in this sea, there will always be lonely and unexplored regions in its depths, caverns unknown, flowers and pearls and monsters of the deep overlooked or forgotten by the divers of literature.
The Maison Vauquer is one of these curious monstrosities. Two, however, of Mme. Vauquer's boarders formed a striking contrast to the rest. There was a sickly pallor, such as is often seen in anaemic girls, in Mlle. Victorine Taillefer's face; and her unvarying expression of sadness, like her embarrassed manner and pinched look, was in keeping with the general wretchedness of the establishment in the Rue Nueve-Saint-Genevieve, which forms a background to this picture; but her face was young, there was youthfulness in her voice and elasticity in her movements.
This young misfortune was not unlike a shrub, newly planted in an uncongenial soil, where its leaves have already begun to wither. The outlines of her figure, revealed by her dress of the simplest and cheapest materials, were also youthful. There was the same kind of charm about her too slender form, her faintly colored face and light-brown hair, that modern poets find in mediaeval statuettes; and a sweet expression, a look of Christian resignation in the dark gray eyes. She was pretty by force of contrast; if she had been happy, she would have been charming.
Happiness is the poetry of woman, as the toilette is her tinsel. If the delightful excitement of a ball had made the pale face glow with color; if the delights of a luxurious life had brought the color to the wan cheeks that were slightly hollowed already; if love had put light into the sad eyes, then Victorine might have ranked among the fairest; but she lacked the two things which create woman a second time--pretty dresses and love-letters.
In Wuchs und Manieren, in Haltung und Auftreten erkannte man den Sohn aus adligem Hause, wo schon die erste Erziehung auf Tradition des guten Geschmacks aufgebaut wird. A book might have been made of her story. Her father was persuaded that he had sufficient reason for declining to acknowledge her, and allowed her a bare six hundred francs a year; he had further taken measures to disinherit his daughter, and had converted all his real estate into personalty, that he might leave it undivided to his son.
Victorine's mother had died broken-hearted in Mme. Couture's house; and the latter, who was a near relation, had taken charge of the little orphan. Unluckily, the widow of the commissary-general to the armies of the Republic had nothing in the world but her jointure and her widow's pension, and some day she might be obliged to leave the helpless, inexperienced girl to the mercy of the world. The good soul, therefore, took Victorine to mass every Sunday, and to confession once a fortnight, thinking that, in any case, she would bring up her ward to be devout.
She was right; religion offered a solution of the problem of the young girl's future. The poor child loved the father who refused to acknowledge her. Once every year she tried to see him to deliver her mother's message of forgiveness, but every year hitherto she had knocked at that door in vain; her father was inexorable. Her brother, her only means of communication, had not come to see her for four years, and had sent her no assistance; yet she prayed to God to unseal her father's eyes and to soften her brother's heart, and no accusations mingled with her prayers.
Couture and Mme. Vauquer exhausted the vocabulary of abuse, and failed to find words that did justice to the banker's iniquitous conduct; but while they heaped execrations on the millionaire, Victorine's words were as gentle as the moan of the wounded dove, and affection found expression even in the cry drawn from her by pain. Eugene de Rastignac was a thoroughly southern type; he had a fair complexion, blue eyes, black hair.
In his figure, manner, and his whole bearing it was easy to see that he had either come of a noble family, or that, from his earliest childhood, he had been gently bred. If he was careful of his wardrobe, only taking last year's clothes into daily wear, still upon occasion he could issue forth as a young man of fashion. Ordinarily he wore a shabby coat and waistcoat, the limp black cravat, untidily knotted, that students affect, trousers that matched the rest of his costume, and boots that had been resoled.
Vautrin the man of forty with the dyed whiskers marked a transition stage between these two young people and the others. He was the kind of man that calls forth the remark: "He looks a jovial sort! His face was furrowed by premature wrinkles; there was a certain hardness about it in spite of his bland and insinuating manner.
His bass voice was by no means unpleasant, and was in keeping with his boisterous laughter. He was always obliging, always in good spirits; if anything went wrong with one of the locks, he would soon unscrew it, take it to pieces, file it, oil and clean and set it in order, and put it back in its place again; "I am an old hand at it," he used to say. Not only so, he knew all about ships, the sea, France, foreign countries, men, business, law, great houses and prisons, --there was nothing that he did not know.
If any one complained rather more than usual, he would offer his services at once. He had several times lent money to Mme. Vauquer, or to the boarders; but, somehow, those whom he obliged felt that they would sooner face death than fail to repay him; a certain resolute look, sometimes seen on his face, inspired fear of him, for all his appearance of easy good-nature. In the way he spat there was an imperturbable coolness which seemed to indicate that this was a man who would not stick at a crime to extricate himself from a false position. His eyes, like those of a pitiless judge, seemed to go to the very bottom of all questions, to read all natures, all feelings and thoughts.
His habit of life was very regular; he usually went out after breakfast, returning in time for dinner, and disappeared for the rest of the evening, letting himself in about midnight with a latch key, a privilege that Mme. Vauquer accorded to no other boarder. But then he was on very good terms with the widow; he used to call her "mamma," and put his arm round her waist, a piece of flattery perhaps not appreciated to the full! The worthy woman might imagine this to be an easy feat; but, as a matter of fact, no arm but Vautrin's was long enough to encircle her.
Gleich alten Eheleuten hatten sie einander nichts mehr zu sagen. It was a characteristic trait of his generously to pay fifteen francs a month for the cup of coffee with a dash of brandy in it, which he took after dinner. Less superficial observers than young men engulfed by the whirlpool of Parisian life, or old men, who took no interest in anything that did not directly concern them, would not have stopped short at the vaguely unsatisfactory impression that Vautrin made upon them. He knew or guessed the concerns of every one about him; but none of them had been able to penetrate his thoughts, or to discover his occupation.
He had deliberately made his apparent good-nature, his unfailing readiness to oblige, and his high spirits into a barrier between himself and the rest of them, but not seldom he gave glimpses of appalling depths of character. He seemed to delight in scourging the upper classes of society with the lash of his tongue, to take pleasure in convicting it of inconsistency, in mocking at law and order with some grim jest worthy of Juvenal, as if some grudge against the social system rankled in him, as if there were some mystery carefully hidden away in his life.
Taillefer felt attracted, perhaps unconsciously, by the strength of the one man, and the good looks of the other; her stolen glances and secret thoughts were divided between them; but neither of them seemed to take any notice of her, although some day a chance might alter her position, and she would be a wealthy heiress. For that matter, there was not a soul in the house who took any trouble to investigate the various chronicles of misfortunes, real or imaginary, related by the rest.
Each one regarded the others with indifference, tempered by suspicion; it was a natural result of their relative positions. Practical assistance not one could give, this they all knew, and they had long since exhausted their stock of condolence over previous discussions of their grievances.
They were in something the same position as an elderly couple who have nothing left to say to each other. The routine of existence kept them in contact, but they were parts of a mechanism which wanted oil. There was not one of them but would have passed a blind man begging in the street, not one that felt moved to pity by a tale of misfortune, not one who did not see in death the solution of the all-absorbing problem of misery which left them cold to the most terrible anguish in others.
Diese Fragen streifen an gar manche Ungerechtigkeit der Welt. The happiest of these hapless beings was certainly Mme. Vauquer, who reigned supreme over this hospital supported by voluntary contributions. Those cells belonged to her. She fed those convicts condemned to penal servitude for life, and her authority was recognized among them. Where else in Paris would they have found wholesome food in sufficient quantity at the prices she charged them, and rooms which they were at liberty to make, if not exactly elegant or comfortable, at any rate clean and healthy?
If she had committed some flagrant act of injustice, the victim would have borne it in silence. Such a gathering contained, as might have been expected, the elements out of which a complete society might be constructed. And, as in a school, as in the world itself, there was among the eighteen men and women who met round the dinner table a poor creature, despised by all the others, condemned to be the butt of all their jokes.
At the beginning of Eugene de Rastignac's second twelvemonth, this figure suddenly started out into bold relief against the background of human forms and faces among which the law student was yet to live for another two years to come. This laughing-stock was the retired vermicelli-merchant, Father Goriot, upon whose face a painter, like the historian, would have concentrated all the light in his picture.
Arme Kleine! How had it come about that the boarders regarded him with a half-malignant contempt? Why did they subject the oldest among their number to a kind of persecution, in which there was mingled some pity, but no respect for his misfortunes? Had he brought it on himself by some eccentricity or absurdity, which is less easily forgiven or forgotten than more serious defects? The question strikes at the root of many a social injustice.
Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering, whether by reason of its genuine humility, or indifference, or sheer helplessness. Do we not, one and all, like to feel our strength even at the expense of some one or of something? The poorest sample of humanity, the street arab, will pull the bell handle at every street door in bitter weather, and scramble up to write his name on the unsullied marble of a monument.
In the year , at the age of sixty-nine or thereabouts, "Father Goriot" had sold his business and retired--to Mme. Vauquer's boarding house. When he first came there he had taken the rooms now occupied by Mme. Couture; he had paid twelve hundred francs a year like a man to whom five louis more or less was a mere trifle. For him Mme. Vauquer had made various improvements in the three rooms destined for his use, in consideration of a certain sum paid in advance, so it was said, for the miserable furniture, that is to say, for some yellow cotton curtains, a few chairs of stained wood covered with Utrecht velvet, several wretched colored prints in frames, and wall papers that a little suburban tavern would have disdained.
Possibly it was the careless generosity with which Father Goriot allowed himself to be overreached at this period of his life they called him Monsieur Goriot very respectfully then that gave Mme. Vauquer the meanest opinion of his business abilities; she looked on him as an imbecile where money was concerned. Goriot had brought with him a considerable wardrobe, the gorgeous outfit of a retired tradesman who denies himself nothing.
Vauquer's astonished eyes beheld no less than eighteen cambric-fronted shirts, the splendor of their fineness being enhanced by a pair of pins each bearing a large diamond, and connected by a short chain, an ornament which adorned the vermicelli-maker's shirt front. He usually wore a coat of corn-flower blue; his rotund and portly person was still further set off by a clean white waistcoat, and a gold chain and seals which dangled over that broad expanse.
When his hostess accused him of being "a bit of a beau," he smiled with the vanity of a citizen whose foible is gratified. The widow's eyes gleamed as she obligingly helped him to unpack the soup ladles, table-spoons, forks, cruet-stands, tureens, dishes, and breakfast services--all of silver, which were duly arranged upon shelves, besides a few more or less handsome pieces of plate, all weighing no inconsiderable number of ounces; he could not bring himself to part with these gifts that reminded him of past domestic festivals.
Vauquer, as he put away a little silver posset dish, with two turtle-doves billing on the cover. Do you know, I would sooner scratch the earth with my nails for a living, madame, than part with that. But I shall be able to take my coffee out of it every morning for the rest of my days, thank the Lord! I am not to be pitied. There's not much fear of my starving for some time to come. Sie redete ferner von guter Luft und idyllischer Ruhe.
Finally, Mme. Vauquer's magpie's eye had discovered and read certain entries in the list of shareholders in the funds, and, after a rough calculation, was disposed to credit Goriot worthy man with something like ten thousand francs a year. From that day forward Mme. Vauquer had her own ideas. Though Goriot's eyes seemed to have shrunk in their sockets, though they were weak and watery, owing to some glandular affection which compelled him to wipe them continually, she considered him to be a very gentlemanly and pleasant-looking man. Moreover, the widow saw favorable indications of character in the well-developed calves of his legs and in his square-shaped nose, indications still further borne out by the worthy man's full-moon countenance and look of stupid good-nature.
This, in all probability, was a strongly-build animal, whose brains mostly consisted in a capacity for affection. Though his manners were somewhat boorish, he was always as neat as a new pin and he took his snuff in a lordly way, like a man who knows that his snuff-box is always likely to be filled with maccaboy, so that when Mme. Vauquer lay down to rest on the day of M. Goriot's installation, her heart, like a larded partridge, sweltered before the fire of a burning desire to shake off the shroud of Vauquer and rise again as Goriot.
She would marry again, sell her boarding-house, give her hand to this fine flower of citizenship, become a lady of consequence in the quarter, and ask for subscriptions for charitable purposes; she would make little Sunday excursions to Choisy, Soissy, Gentilly; she would have a box at the theatre when she liked, instead of waiting for the author's tickets that one of her boarders sometimes gave her, in July; the whole Eldorado of a little Parisian household rose up before Mme.
Vauquer in her dreams. For three months from that day Mme. Veuve Vauquer availed herself of the services of M. Goriot's coiffeur, and went to some expense over her toilette, expense justifiable on the ground that she owed it to herself and her establishment to pay some attention to appearances when such highly-respectable persons honored her house with their presence.
She expended no small amount of ingenuity in a sort of weeding process of her lodgers, announcing her intention of receiving henceforward none but people who were in every way select. If a stranger presented himself, she let him know that M. Goriot, one of the best known and most highly-respected merchants in Paris, had singled out her boarding-house for a residence. In Wahrheit rechnete sie damit, sie um den Dienst zu bitten, Goriot auszuhorchen und sie bei ihm herauszustreichen.
It was this prospectus that attracted Mme. Vauquer saw to her table, lighted a fire daily in the sitting-room for nearly six months, and kept the promise of her prospectus, even going to some expense to do so. And the Countess, on her side, addressed Mme. Vauquer as "my dear," and promised her two more boarders, the Baronne de Vaumerland and the widow of a colonel, the late Comte de Picquoisie, who were about to leave a boarding-house in the Marais, where the terms were higher than at the Maison Vauquer.
Both these ladies, moreover, would be very well to do when the people at the War Office had come to an end of their formalities. After dinner the two widows went together up to Mme. Vauquer's room, and had a snug little chat over some cordial and various delicacies reserved for the mistress of the house. Vauquer's ideas as to Goriot were cordially approved by Mme. The good-natured Countess turned to the subject of Mme.
Vauquer's dress, which was not in harmony with her projects. After much serious consideration the two widows went shopping together--they purchased a hat adorned with ostrich feathers and a cap at the Palais Royal, and the Countess took her friend to the Magasin de la Petite Jeannette, where they chose a dress and a scarf. Thus equipped for the campaign, the widow looked exactly like the prize animal hung out for a sign above an a la mode beef shop; but she herself was so much pleased with the improvement, as she considered it, in her appearance, that she felt that she lay under some obligation to the Countess; and, though by no means open-handed, she begged that lady to accept a hat that cost twenty francs.
The fact was that she needed the Countess' services on the delicate mission of sounding Goriot; the countess must sing her praises in his ears. She left him, revolted by his coarseness. He is absurdly suspicious, and he is a mean curmudgeon, an idiot, a fool; you would never be happy with him. Ich verstehe mich auf solche Fratzen. After what had passed between M. Goriot and Mme.
She left the next day, forgot to pay for six months' board, and left behind her wardrobe, cast-off clothing to the value of five francs. Eagerly and persistently as Mme. Vauquer sought her quondam lodger, the Comtesse de l'Ambermesnil was never heard of again in Paris. The widow often talked of this deplorable business, and regretted her own too confiding disposition. As a matter of fact, she was as suspicious as a cat; but she was like many other people, who cannot trust their own kin and put themselves at the mercy of the next chance comer--an odd but common phenomenon, whose causes may readily be traced to the depths of the human heart.
Perhaps there are people who know that they have nothing more to look for from those with whom they live; they have shown the emptiness of their hearts to their housemates, and in their secret selves they are conscious that they are severely judged, and that they deserve to be judged severely; but still they feel an unconquerable craving for praises that they do not hear, or they are consumed by a desire to appear to possess, in the eyes of a new audience, the qualities which they have not, hoping to win the admiration or affection of strangers at the risk of forfeiting it again some day.
Or, once more, there are other mercenary natures who never do a kindness to a friend or a relation simply because these have a claim upon them, while a service done to a stranger brings its reward to self-love. Such natures feel but little affection for those who are nearest to them; they keep their kindness for remoter circles of acquaintance, and show most to those who dwell on its utmost limits. Vauquer belonged to both these essentially mean, false, and execrable classes. I know that kind of phiz!
Eine der widerlichsten Eigenschaften der kleinen Seelen ist es, ihre eigene Kleinlichkeit bei den anderen vorauszusetzen. Wo lag nun die Ursache dieses Niederganges? Like all narrow natures, Mme. Vauquer was wont to confine her attention to events, and did not go very deeply into the causes that brought them about; she likewise preferred to throw the blame of her own mistakes on other people, so she chose to consider that the honest vermicelli maker was responsible for her misfortune.
It had opened her eyes, so she said, with regard to him. As soon as she saw that her blandishments were in vain, and that her outlay on her toilette was money thrown away, she was not slow to discover the reason of his indifference. In short, it was evident that the hope she had so fondly cherished was a baseless delusion, and that she would "never make anything out of that man yonder," in the Countess' forcible phrase. The Countess seemed to have been a judge of character. Vauquer's aversion was naturally more energetic than her friendship, for her hatred was not in proportion to her love, but to her disappointed expectations.
The human heart may find here and there a resting-place short of the highest height of affection, but we seldom stop in the steep, downward slope of hatred. Still, M. Goriot was a lodger, and the widow's wounded self-love could not vent itself in an explosion of wrath; like a monk harassed by the prior of his convent, she was forced to stifle her sighs of disappointment, and to gulp down her craving for revenge.
Little minds find gratification for their feelings, benevolent or otherwise, by a constant exercise of petty ingenuity. The widow employed her woman's malice to devise a system of covert persecution. She began by a course of retrenchment --various luxuries which had found their way to the table appeared there no more. The thrifty frugality necessary to those who mean to make their way in the world had become an inveterate habit of life with M.
Soup, boiled beef, and a dish of vegetables had been, and always would be, the dinner he liked best, so Mme. Vauquer found it very difficult to annoy a boarder whose tastes were so simple. He was proof against her malice, and in desperation she spoke to him and of him slightingly before the other lodgers, who began to amuse themselves at his expense, and so gratified her desire for revenge. Towards the end of the first year the widow's suspicions had reached such a pitch that she began to wonder how it was that a retired merchant with a secure income of seven or eight thousand livres, the owner of such magnificent plate and jewelry handsome enough for a kept mistress, should be living in her house.
Why should he devote so small a proportion of his money to his expenses? Until the first year was nearly at an end, Goriot had dined out once or twice every week, but these occasions came less frequently, and at last he was scarcely absent from the dinner-table twice a month. It was hardly expected that Mme. Vauquer should regard the increased regularity of her boarder's habits with complacency, when those little excursions of his had been so much to her interest.
She attributed the change not so much to a gradual diminution of fortune as to a spiteful wish to annoy his hostess. It is one of the most detestable habits of a Liliputian mind to credit other people with its own malignant pettiness. Unluckily, towards the end of the second year, M. Goriot's conduct gave some color to the idle talk about him.
He asked Mme. Vauquer to give him a room on the second floor, and to make a corresponding reduction in her charges. Apparently, such strict economy was called for, that he did without a fire all through the winter. Vauquer asked to be paid in advance, an arrangement to which M. Goriot consented, and thenceforward she spoke of him as "Father Goriot. Einen Monat nach diesem Besuch erhielt Herr Goriot wieder einen. What had brought about this decline and fall?
Conjecture was keen, but investigation was difficult. Father Goriot was not communicative; in the sham countess' phrase he was "a curmudgeon. Opinion fluctuated. Sometimes it was held that he was one of those petty gamblers who nightly play for small stakes until they win a few francs. A theory that he was a detective in the employ of the Home Office found favor at one time, but Vautrin urged that "Goriot was not sharp enough for one of that sort.
He was by turns all the most mysterious brood of vice and shame and misery; yet, however vile his life might be, the feeling of repulsion which he aroused in others was not so strong that he must be banished from their society--he paid his way. Besides, Goriot had his uses, every one vented his spleen or sharpened his wit on him; he was pelted with jokes and belabored with hard words. The general consensus of opinion was in favor of a theory which seemed the most likely; this was Mme. Vauquer's view. According to her, the man so well preserved at his time of life, as sound as her eyesight, with whom a woman might be very happy, was a libertine who had strange tastes.
These are the facts upon which Mme. Vauquer's slanders were based. Early one morning, some few months after the departure of the unlucky Countess who had managed to live for six months at the widow's expense, Mme. Vauquer not yet dressed heard the rustle of a silk dress and a young woman's light footstep on the stair; some one was going to Goriot's room. He seemed to expect the visit, for his door stood ajar.
The portly Sylvie presently came up to tell her mistress that a girl too pretty to be honest, "dressed like a goddess," and not a speck of mud on her laced cashmere boots, had glided in from the street like a snake, had found the kitchen, and asked for M. Goriot's room. Vauquer and the cook, listening, overheard several words affectionately spoken during the visit, which lasted for some time. When M. Goriot went downstairs with the lady, the stout Sylvie forthwith took her basket and followed the lover-like couple, under pretext of going to do her marketing. Goriot must be awfully rich, all the same, madame," she reported on her return, "to keep her in such style.
Just imagine it! While they were at dinner that evening, Mme. Vauquer went to the window and drew the curtain, as the sun was shining into Goriot's eyes. Goriot--the sun seeks you out," she said, alluding to his visitor. Er verzichtete auf den Schnupftabak, verabschiedete seinen Friseur und trug das Haar ungepudert.
Er hatte seinen blauen Rock, seine ganze Kleidung abgelegt und trug Sommer wie Winter einen groben kastanienbraunen Tuchrock, eine ziegenlederne Weste und grauwollene Beinkleider. Sie sehen sie noch manchmal? A month after this visit M. Goriot received another. The same daughter who had come to see him that morning came again after dinner, this time in evening dress. The boarders, in deep discussion in the dining-room, caught a glimpse of a lovely, fair-haired woman, slender, graceful, and much too distinguished-looking to be a daughter of Father Goriot's.
A few days later, and another young lady--a tall, well-moulded brunette, with dark hair and bright eyes--came to ask for M. Then the second daughter, who had first come in the morning to see her father, came shortly afterwards in the evening. She wore a ball dress, and came in a carriage. Vauquer and her plump handmaid. Sylvie saw not a trace of resemblance between this great lady and the girl in her simple morning dress who had entered her kitchen on the occasion of her first visit.
At that time Goriot was paying twelve hundred francs a year to his landlady, and Mme. Vauquer saw nothing out of the common in the fact that a rich man had four or five mistresses; nay, she thought it very knowing of him to pass them off as his daughters. She was not at all inclined to draw a hard-and-fast line, or to take umbrage at his sending for them to the Maison Vauquer; yet, inasmuch as these visits explained her boarder's indifference to her, she went so far at the end of the second year as to speak of him as an "ugly old wretch.
Father Goriot answered that the lady was his eldest daughter. Vauquer sharply. Towards the end of the third year Father Goriot reduced his expenses still further; he went up to the third story, and now paid forty-five francs a month.
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He did without snuff, told his hairdresser that he no longer required his services, and gave up wearing powder. When Goriot appeared for the first time in this condition, an exclamation of astonishment broke from his hostess at the color of his hair--a dingy olive gray. He had grown sadder day by day under the influence of some hidden trouble; among all the faces round the table, his was the most woe-begone.
There was no longer any doubt. Goriot was an elderly libertine, whose eyes had only been preserved by the skill of the physician from the malign influence of the remedies necessitated by the state of his health. The disgusting color of his hair was a result of his excesses and of the drugs which he had taken that he might continue his career.
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The poor old man's mental and physical condition afforded some grounds for the absurd rubbish talked about him. His diamonds, his gold snuff-box, watch-chain and trinkets, disappeared one by one. He had left off wearing the corn-flower blue coat, and was sumptuously arrayed, summer as well as winter, in a coarse chestnut-brown coat, a plush waistcoat, and doeskin breeches.
He grew thinner and thinner; his legs were shrunken, his cheeks, once so puffed out by contented bourgeois prosperity, were covered with wrinkles, and the outlines of the jawbones were distinctly visible; there were deep furrows in his forehead. In the fourth year of his residence in the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve he was no longer like his former self.
The hale vermicelli manufacturer, sixty-two years of age, who had looked scarce forty, the stout, comfortable, prosperous tradesman, with an almost bucolic air, and such a brisk demeanor that it did you good to look at him; the man with something boyish in his smile, had suddenly sunk into his dotage, and had become a feeble, vacillating septuagenarian. The keen, bright blue eyes had grown dull, and faded to a steel-gray color; the red inflamed rims looked as though they had shed tears of blood.
He excited feelings of repulsion in some, and of pity in others. The young medical students who came to the house noticed the drooping of his lower lip and the conformation of the facial angle; and, after teasing him for some time to no purpose, they declared that cretinism was setting in. Diese Folgerung war nicht zu widerlegen. Poiret war ein Adler, ein Gentleman neben Goriot. Poiret sprach, widerlegte, scherzte.
One evening after dinner Mme. Vauquer said half banteringly to him, "So those daughters of yours don't come to see you any more, eh? Seine Tante, Frau von Marcillac, war in ihren jungen Jahren bei Hofe vorgestellt worden und hatte dort die Spitzen der Aristokratie kennen gelernt. The old man scarcely seemed to hear the witticisms at his expense that followed on the words; he had relapsed into the dreamy state of mind that these superficial observers took for senile torpor, due to his lack of intelligence.
If they had only known, they might have been deeply interested by the problem of his condition; but few problems were more obscure. It was easy, of course, to find out whether Goriot had really been a vermicelli manufacturer; the amount of his fortune was readily discoverable; but the old people, who were most inquisitive as to his concerns, never went beyond the limits of the Quarter, and lived in the lodging-house much as oysters cling to a rock.
As for the rest, the current of life in Paris daily awaited them, and swept them away with it; so soon as they left the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, they forgot the existence of the old man, their butt at dinner. For those narrow souls, or for careless youth, the misery in Father Goriot's withered face and its dull apathy were quite incompatible with wealth or any sort of intelligence.
As for the creatures whom he called his daughters, all Mme.
Vauquer's boarders were of her opinion. With the faculty for severe logic sedulously cultivated by elderly women during long evenings of gossip till they can always find an hypothesis to fit all circumstances, she was wont to reason thus:. No objection could be raised to these inferences. So by the end of the month of November , at the time when the curtain rises on this drama, every one in the house had come to have a very decided opinion as to the poor old man.
Poiret was an eagle, a gentleman, compared with Goriot. Poiret would join the talk, argue, answer when he was spoken to; as a matter of fact, his talk, arguments, and responses contributed nothing to the conversation, for Poiret had a habit of repeating what the others said in different words; still, he did join in the talk; he was alive, and seemed capable of feeling; while Father Goriot to quote the Museum official again was invariably at zero degrees--Reaumur.
Eugene de Rastignac had just returned to Paris in a state of mind not unknown to young men who are conscious of unusual powers, and to those whose faculties are so stimulated by a difficult position, that for the time being they rise above the ordinary level.
Rastignac's first year of study for the preliminary examinations in law had left him free to see the sights of Paris and to enjoy some of its amusements. A student has not much time on his hands if he sets himself to learn the repertory of every theatre, and to study the ins and outs of the labyrinth of Paris. To know its customs; to learn the language, and become familiar with the amusements of the capital, he must explore its recesses, good and bad, follow the studies that please him best, and form some idea of the treasures contained in galleries and museums.
At this stage of his career a student grows eager and excited about all sorts of follies that seem to him to be of immense importance. He has his hero, his great man, a professor at the College de France, paid to talk down to the level of his audience. He adjusts his cravat, and strikes various attitudes for the benefit of the women in the first galleries at the Opera-Comique.
As he passes through all these successive initiations, and breaks out of his sheath, the horizons of life widen around him, and at length he grasps the plan of society with the different human strata of which it is composed. If he begins by admiring the procession of carriages on sunny afternoons in the Champs-Elysees, he soon reaches the further stage of envying their owners. Unconsciously, Eugene had served his apprenticeship before he went back to Angouleme for the long vacation after taking his degrees as bachelor of arts and bachelor of law.
The illusions of childhood had vanished, so also had the ideas he brought with him from the provinces; he had returned thither with an intelligence developed, with loftier ambitions, and saw things as they were at home in the old manor house. His father and mother, his two brothers and two sisters, with an aged aunt, whose whole fortune consisted in annuities, lived on the little estate of Rastignac. The whole property brought in about three thousand francs; and though the amount varied with the season as must always be the case in a vine-growing district , they were obliged to spare an unvarying twelve hundred francs out of their income for him.
He saw how constantly the poverty, which they had generously hidden from him, weighed upon them; he could not help comparing the sisters, who had seemed so beautiful to his boyish eyes, with women in Paris, who had realized the beauty of his dreams. The uncertain future of the whole family depended upon him. It did not escape his eyes that not a crumb was wasted in the house, nor that the wine they drank was made from the second pressing; a multitude of small things, which it is useless to speak of in detail here, made him burn to distinguish himself, and his ambition to succeed increased tenfold.
So also sah es Ende November in der Familienpension aus. Um die verlorene Zeit wieder einzubringen, hatte der tapfere Student sich vorgenommen, bis zum Morgen durchzuarbeiten. Das sollte die erste Nacht sein, die er hier im stillen Stadtviertel durchwachte. Wer in diese goldenen Salons zugelassen war, den hatte man in den hohen Adel aufgenommen.
Der Marquis von Ronquerolles nannte sie ein Vollblutpferd. He meant, like all great souls, that his success should be owing entirely to his merits; but his was pre-eminently a southern temperament, the execution of his plans was sure to be marred by the vertigo that seizes on youth when youth sees itself alone in a wide sea, uncertain how to spend its energies, whither to steer its course, how to adapt its sails to the winds.
At first he determined to fling himself heart and soul into his work, but he was diverted from this purpose by the need of society and connections; then he saw how great an influence women exert in social life, and suddenly made up his mind to go out into this world to seek a protectress there. Surely a clever and high-spirited young man, whose wit and courage were set off to advantage by a graceful figure and the vigorous kind of beauty that readily strikes a woman's imagination, need not despair of finding a protectress.
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