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A TRANSLATION

OF

GOETHE’S PROEMIUM TO “GOTT UND \VELT.”

To Him who from eternity, self-stirred,
Himself hath made by His creative word !

To Him, Supreme, who causeth faith to be,
Trust, hOpe, love, power, and endless energy !
To Him, who, seek to name Him as we will,
UNKNOWN within Himself abideth still !

Strain ear and eye, till sight and sense be dim;

Thou’lt find but faint similitudes of Him:

Yea, and thy spirit in her flight of flame '

Still strives to gauge the symbol and the name:

Charmed and compelled thou climb’st from height to height,
And round thy path the world shines wondrous bright;
Time, space, and size, and distance cease to be,

And every step is fresh infinity.

What were the God who sat outside to scan

The spheres that ’neath His finger circling ran ?
God dwells within, and moves the world and moulds,
Himself and Nature in one form enfolds:

Thus all that lives in Him, and breathes, and is,
Shall ne’er His puissance, ne’er His Spirit miss.

The soul of man, too, is a universe ;

Whence follows it that race with race concurs

In framing all it knows of good and true

God ?—yea, its own God ; and, with homage due,

Surrenders to His sway both earth and heaven;

Fears Him, and loves, where place for love is given.

J. A. S.

Spectator, September 24, 1870.

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