Ha! A rush of bliss
flows suddenly through all my senses!
I feel a glow, a holy joy of life
which sets my veins and flesh afire.
Was it a god that drew these signs
which soothe my inward raging
and fill my wretched heart with joy,
and with mysterious strength
reveal about me Nature’s pulse?
Am I a god? The light pervades me so!
In these pure ciphers I can see
living Nature spread out before my soul.
At last I understand the sage’s words:
“The world of spirits is not closed:
your mind is shut, your heart is dead!
Pupil, stand up and unafraid
bathe your earthly breast in morning light!”
How things are weaving one in one;
each lives and works within the other.
Heaven’s angels dip and soar
and hold their golden pails aloft;
with fragrant blessings on their wings,
they penetrate the earthly realm from Heaven
and all make all resound in harmony.
What pageantry! But alas, a pageant and no more!
Where shall I clasp you, infinity of Nature?
You breasts, where? You wellspring of all life?
Heaven and earth depend on you —
toward you my parched soul is straining.
You flow, you nourish, yet I crave in vain.
From Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe / Translated by Peter Salm