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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

16) ... O glücklich wer noch hoffen kann ...

O glücklich, wer noch hoffen kann,
Aus diesem Meer des Irrtums aufzutauchen!
Was man nicht weiß, das eben brauchte man,
Und was man weiß, kann man nicht brauchen.
Oh, happy he who still hopes that he can
Emerge from Error's boundless sea!
What man knows not, is needed most by man,
And what man knows, for that no use has he.

These verses are similar to many situations of our reality and therefore they are famous. Some teachers in college put them under the exams. The sadness of these verses is the fact that they describe the reality with an absolute precision. This is one of our greatest problems. That what we know is useless and that what would be useful, we don't know.