Little Miss Splendid

Remembrance of Things Past, Seize the Day, and In Search of Beauty and Joy

J.W. von Goethe – Nähe des Geliebten (Nearness of the Beloved) April 18, 2010

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German writer and polymath during the period of the Romanticism. He’s works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, philosophy, pantheism and science.

The most important of Goethe’s works produced before he went to Weimar were his tragedy Götz von Berlichingen (1773), and the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther(1774), which gained him enormous fame. The next work, his epic closet drama Faust, was to be completed in stages, and only published in its entirety after his death. Goethe’s poetic work served as a model for an entire movement in German poetry termed Innerlichkeit (“introversion”) and represented by, for example, Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856).

THE ORIGINAL

Nähe des Geliebten

Ich denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer
Vom Meere strahlt;
Ich denke dein, wenn sich des Mondes Flimmer
In Quellen malt.
Ich sehe dich, wenn auf dem fernen Wege
Der Staub sich hebt;
In tiefer Nacht, wenn auf dem schmalen Stege
Der Wandrer bebt.
Ich höre dich, wenn dort mit dumpfem Rauschen
Die Welle steigt.
Im stillen Haine geh ich oft zu lauschen,
Wenn alles schweigt.
Ich bin bei dir, du seist auch noch so ferne.
Du bist mir nah!
Die Sonne sinkt, bald leuchten mir die Sterne.
O wärst du da!

VARIOUS ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

Nearness of the Beloved

I think of you when sunlight on the ocean
Glimmers at noon;
I think of you when shimmers in the river
Mirror the moon.
I see you in the rise of dust that covers
The distant ridge,
In each deep midnight where the wanderer quivers
On the high bridge,
I hear you in the low and muffled rustle
Of rolling seas.
I often go to quiet groves and listen
To things at peace.
I am with you. However far you are,
I know you’re near!
The setting sun sets stars up over me.
I want you here!

(more…)

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