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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

11) ... Wenn ihr's nicht fühlt, ihr werdet´s nicht erjagen ...

Wenn ihr's nicht fühlt, ihr werdet's nicht erjagen,
Wenn es nicht aus der Seele dringt
Und mit urkräftigem Behagen
Die Herzen aller Hörer zwingt.
Sitzt ihr nur immer! leimt zusammen,
Braut ein Ragout von andrer Schmaus
Und blast die kümmerlichen Flammen
Aus eurem Aschenhäuschen 'raus!
Bewundrung von Kindern und Affen,
Wenn euch darnach der Gaumen steht-
Doch werdet ihr nie Herz zu Herzen schaffen,
Wenn es euch nicht von Herzen geht.
Unless you feel, naught will you ever gain;
Unless this feeling pours forth from your soul
With native, pleasing vigour to control
The hearts of all your hearers, it will be in vain.
Pray keep on sitting! Pray collect and glue,
From others' feasts brew some ragout;
With tiny heaps of ashes play your game
And blow the sparks into a wretched flame!
Children and apes will marvel at you ever,
If you've a palate that can stand the part;
But heart to heart you'll not draw men, no, never,
Unless your message issue from your heart.

These verses express another truth and they do it in a very powerful language. There are a lot of people, above all professors, who believe to quote thousands of personalities, Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, the Bible, Schopenhauer, Heidegger etc. etc. to convince their auditory. The simple truth is that these people do not have to say anything of their own. They do not have any confidence in that, what they think themselves. These discussions are usually very boring and always the same.

There are only a few professors that are able to talk freely without a text and who can react spontaneously to the auditory. He, who is really convinced by something, and he, who wants to tell something, tells it in his own words. These kind of discurses are much more fascination. To arm oneself with quotes might be a legitimate defence, but basicly it is a sign of cowardice.