Book Of Proverbs

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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CALL on the present day and night for nought,
Save what by yesterday was brought.
THE sea is flowing ever,
The land retains it never.
BE stirring, man, while yet the day is clear;
The night when none can work fast Draweth near.
WHEN the heavy-laden sigh,
Deeming help and hope gone by,
Oft, with healing power is heard,
Comfort-fraught, a kindly word.
How vast is mine inheritance, how glorious and sublime!
For time mine own possession is, the land I till is time!
UNWARY saith,--ne'er lived a man more true;
The deepest heart, the highest head he knew,--
"In ev'ry place and time thou'lt find availing
Uprightness, judgment, kindliness unfailing."
THOUGH the bards whom the Orient sun bath bless'd
Are greater than we who dwell in the west,
Yet in hatred of those whom our equals we find.
In this we're not in the least behind.

WOULD we let our envy burst,
Feed its hunger fully first!
To keep our proper place,
We'll show our bristles more;
With hawks men all things chase,
Except the savage boar.
BY those who themselves more bravely have fought
A hero's praise will be joyfully told.
The worth of man can only be taught
By those who have suffer'd both heat and cold.
"WHEREFORE is truth so far from our eyes,
Buried as though in a distant land?"
None at the proper moment are wise!

Could they properly understand,
Truth would appear in her own sweet guise,
Beauteous, gentle, and close at hand.
WHY these inquiries make,
Where charity may flow?
Cast in the flood thy cake,--
Its eater, who will know?
ONCE when I a spider had kill'd,
Then methought: wast right or wrong?
That we both to these times should belong,
This had God in His goodness willed.
MOTLEY this congregation is, for, lo!
At the communion kneel both friend and foe.
IF the country I'm to show,
Thou must on the housetop go.
A MAN with households twain
Ne'er finds attention meet,
A house wherein two women reign
Is ne'er kept clean and neat.
BLESS, thou dread Creator,
Bless this humble fane;
Man may build them greater,--
More they'll not contain.
LET this house's glory rise,
Handed to far ages down,
And the son his honour prize.
As the father his renown.
O'ER the Mediterranean sea
Proudly hath the Orient sprung;
Who loves Hafis and knows him, he
Knows what Caldron hath sung.
IF the ass that bore the Saviour
Were to Mecca driven, he
Would not alter, but would be
Still an ass in his behavior.
THE flood of passion storms with fruitless strife
'Gainst the unvanquished solid land.--
It throws poetic pearls upon the strand,
And thus is gain'd the prize of life.
WHEN so many minstrels there are,
How it pains me, alas, to know it!
Who from the earth drives poetry far?
Who but the poet!

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