The Golden Goblet: Selected Poems of Goethe

The Golden Goblet: Selected Poems of Goethe


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The Golden Goblet traces Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poetry from the idealism of youth to the liberation of maturity. In contrast to his rococo contemporaries, Goethe’s poetry draws on the graceful simplicity of German folk rhythms to develop complex, transcendent themes. This robust selection, artfully translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Frederick Turner, explores transformation, revolution, and illumination in Goethe’s lush lyrical style that forever altered the course of German literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941920794
Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Pages: 140
Sales rank: 786,825
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) is the most prominent and influential figure in German letters. Born in Frankfurt, he published his breakout novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, in 1774 at the age of twenty-five, and the first part of his lyric masterpiece, Faust, in 1808. Goethe was a poet, novelist, literary critic, diplomat, and scientist, publishing works crossing the spectrum from tales of romantic despair to dense scientific tomes. His involvement in the literary movement Sturm und Drang was formative in the development of Romanticism, and his writings created a new paradigm in German high culture.

Zsuzsanna Ozsváth is the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas and Director of the Holocaust Studies Program. Ozsváth received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and her research focuses on aesthetics and ethics in German, Hungarian, and French literature. In 1992, she received the Milan Fust Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious literary prize, with her co-translator, Frederick Turner, for Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklos Radnoti (Princeton University Press, 1992).

Frederick Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Turner received his B.Litt, a PhD-level terminal degree, from Oxford University, and his research considers poetry, aesthetics, and Shakespeare. He received the prestigious Milan Fust Prize with co-translator Zsuzsanna Ozsváth for Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklos Radnoti (Princeton University Press) in 1992.

Read an Excerpt


to the recipient of a collection of early poems

So here they are! You have them now!—
These artless, toil-less songs somehow
Sprung from a brookside meadow.
With youth’s sweet pain, in love, aflame,
I played the young man’s ancient game,
And thus I sang its credo.

Sing, you who cannot help but sing
Upon a pretty day of spring;
And youth enlists their fable.
The poet squints, far off, for whom
Hygienic calm has pressed its thumb
Upon his parted eyeball.

Half cross-eyed and half wise, he peers—
Your bliss incites a few wet tears,
He wails in clause and meter.
He listens to his own good sense,
Supplying his best eloquence,
Knows the brief joys are sweeter.

You sigh, and sing, and melt, and kiss,
And shout with joy: the close abyss
Unknowingly disparage.
Escape the field, the sun, the rill,
Slink off, as if in winter’s chill,
To seek the hearth of marriage.

You laugh at me and call me fool;
The fox who lost his tail would school
Us all to like curtailment.
But here the tale must surely fail:
This honest fox, snared by the tail,
Warns you from such beguilement.


Wild Rose

Once a boy a wild rose spied,
Rosebud in the heather;
Young and fresh as morningtide,
Ran to see, all eager-eyed,
Joyful, gazing thither.
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Rosebud in the heather.

Then the boy said: I’ll pick you,
Rosebud in the heather!
Rosebud answered: I’ll prick you,
I’ll not be forgot by you:
I’ll not bear it either.
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Rosebud in the heather.

And the rude lad plucked her then,
Rosebud from the heather;
Rosebud pricked him, but in vain
Was for her all grief and pain,
She must ache forever.
Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
Rosebud in the heather.


The New Amadis

When that I was but a boy,
Locked up on my own,
Many years I spent that way
Just as if alone
In my mother’s womb.

You were then my waking dream,
Golden fantasy;
And the ardent hero I,
Just like Prince Pipí,
Errant, ventured by.

Crystal castles I had wrought,
And destroyed them too;
And into the dragon’s gut
My bright spear I threw.
What a man I’d be!

Chivalrous I now set free
That fair fish-princess,
Who with parfit courtoisie
Led me to the messe
In my gallantry.

Bread of heaven was her kiss,
Glowing as the wine—
Ah, I almost died of this.
Mailed with sunblaze like a shrine,
Glorious was she.

Who has stolen her from me?
Did some magic band
Hold her back from liberty?
Where’s her native land?
Where’s the path? Tell me.


Wanderer’s Storm Song

Not rain, nor storm,
Can shake his heart
Whom you have not forsaken, Genius.
Against the hailstorm, Against the cloud-wrack
He whom you have not deserted
Will be singing
Like the lark, Genius,
O you on high! Whom you never leave, O Genius,
On fiery wings you will raise him up Above the muddy path;
He will wander
Over the ooze of Deucalion’s inundation;
Python shall he destroy, light, great,
Pythian Apollo.

Whom you never leave, O Genius,
You will bear up with your fleecy wings
Where he sleeps upon the rock,
Cover him with guardian-pinions
In the midnight’s darkest grove.

Whom you never leave, O Genius,
You in deepest snow will
Warmly swaddle;
To what’s warm bow down the muses,
To what’s warm bow down the graces.

Hover around me, Muses! Graces!
This is water, that is earth,
And, the son of water and the earth,
I am free to wander
As a god.

Pure you are, as the heart of water,
Pure as the earth’s aeon-deep marrow;
You hover round me and I hover
Over earth, and over water,
As a god.

Does that little peasant,
Fiery, sunburned, ever retreat?
Turn back, though all he hopes in reward
Be but your gifts, good Father Bromius,
And a bright-glowing warm hearthfire?
Brave in his return?
Should I, then, your companion,
One whom the Muses and the Graces
All await in expectation,
Whose life Muses and Graces
Glorified with wreaths of bliss,
Now turn back disheartened?

Father Bromius!
Genius you are too,
Genius of centuries;
That inner fire
Of Pindar;
To the world,
Phoebus Apollo.

Woe, woe! That inner glow,
Warmth of the soul,
Center it!
Glow, fire, back at
Phoebus Apollo;
Else cold be
His princely glance,
Gliding over you uncaring,
Struck with envy,
Lingers on the mighty cedar
Not delaying In its greening.

Why does my song name you last?
You from whom it began,
You in whom it ends,
You from whom it wells out,
Jupiter Pluvius!
You, you, my song jets forth,
Jupiter Pluvius,
You from whose Castalian Spring
This tributary stream
Flows idly on
In mortal happiness;
You who hold and protect me,
Jupiter Pluvius!

Not by the elm tree
—Storm-breathing deity!—
Did you ever visit
Him who cradled in his arms
That pair of doves,
Wreathed with the amiable rose,
Playful, flower-rejoicing,
Nor in the poplar grove
By the shores of Sybaris
On the tall mountainside
Upon whose brow shines the Sun,
Did you ever embrace
That bee-singing,
Honey-bubbling one
Who waves in greeting,

When the chariots rattled,
Wheel to wheel, toward the finish-line,
High flew the whipcrack
Of youth inflamed with victory;
The dust whirled
As down from the mountain
Whirl the hailstones of the storm;
Your soul burned, Pindar,
Always toward dangers
—Courage, Pindar—glowed,
Poor heart!
There on the hill,
Heavenly power!
But there’s enough fire
—Yonder is my hut—
To trudge all the way there.


Table of Contents

Introduction: A Biographical Sketch

“Who would poems understand…”

Dedication 1770

The Luck of Love, 1769-70

Maying, 1771

Welcome and Farewell, 1771

Wild-Rose, 1771

The New Amadis, 1771-1774

The Wanderer’s Storm-Song, 1772

Mahomet’s Song, 1772-1773

Prometheus, 1773

Ganymede, 1774

The King in Thule, 1774

To Cousin Kronos, the Coachman, 1774

On the Lake, 1775

The Artist’s Evening Song, 1775

The Bliss of Grief, 1775

Wanderer’s Night-Song, 1776 (1)

To Charlotte von Stein, 1776

Restless Love, 1776

Winter Journey in the Harz, 1777

To the Moon, 1777

All Things the Gods Bestow, 1777

Take This to Heart, 1777

The Fisherman, 1778

Song of the Spirits upon the Waters, 1779

Song of the Parcae, 1779

Wanderer’s Night Song, 1780 (2)

Night Thoughts, 1781

Human Limitations, 1781

My Goddess, 1781

The Elf-King, 1782

Divinity, early 1780s

“Joyful and Woeful,” 1788

Morning Complaints, 1888

Five Roman Elegies (1788-1790):

I, Speak, O stones of Rome …

III, Do not regret, beloved, …

V, Happy I find myself …

VII. How merry I am in Rome!...

IX. Flames, autumnal, glow…

The Nearness of the Beloved, 1795

The Silent Sea, 1796

“Do you know that land where lemon blossoms…”

“Ah, none but those who yearn ,” W. M.

“Who Never Ate His Bread with Tears,” W. M.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 1797

The God and the Dancer, 1797

The Bride of Corinth, 1797

The Metamorphosis of the Plants, 1799

Nature and Art, 1802

Permanence in Change, 1803

Night Song, 1804

World Soul, 1806

The Sonnet, 1806

The Metamorphosis of the Animals, 1806

Farewell, 1807

The Lover Writes Again, 1807-8

Take This to Heart, 1815

8 Poems from Goethe’s Der West-Ӧstliche Divan

Talismans, 1814-15

Blessed Yearning, 1814-15

To Zuleika, 1814-15

Ginkgo Biloba, 1814-15

Limitless, 1814-15

In a Thousand Forms, 1814-15

The Higher and the Highest, 1818

Elements, before 1815

Parabolic, 1815

Limitation, 1815

To Luna, 1815

Lovely is the Night, 1815

Muteness, 1816

Proem, 1816

Ur-Words. Orphic, 1817-18

At Midnight, 1818

Refinding, 1819

In Honor of Luke Howard, 1820

Always and Everywhere, 1820

The One and the All, 1821

Trilogy of Passion, 1823

The Pariah, probably 1823

The Bridegroom, probably 1825

From The Legacy, 1827

From the Chinese-German Daybook-Yearbook:

8. Twilight from the Heights. . . 1827-28;

Full Moon Rising, 1828,

Dornburg, 1828,

Ten poems from Faust, 1770-1829

1. Dedication

2. Prologue in Heaven

3. Faust in his Study

4. Faust Translating the Gospel

5. In Martha’s Garden

6. Mephistopheles speaks

7. The Bailey

8. Gretchen at the Spinning-Wheel

9. Faust’s Remorse

10. Chorus Mysticus

Goethe the Revolutionary

List of English and German Titles

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