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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

5) ... so gib mir auch die Zeiten wieder ...

So gib mir auch die Zeiten wieder,
Da ich noch selbst im Werden war,
Da sich ein Quell gedrängter Lieder
Ununterbrochen neu gebar,
Da Nebel mir die Welt verhüllten,
Die Knospe Wunder noch versprach,
Da ich die tausend Blumen brach,
Die alle Täler reichlich füllten.
Ich hatte nichts und doch genug:
Den Drang nach Wahrheit und die Lust am Trug.
Gib ungebändigt jene Triebe,
Das tiefe, schmerzenvolle Glück,
Des Hasses Kraft, die Macht der Liebe,
Gib meine Jugend mir zurück!
Then give me back the time of growing
When I myself was growing too,
When crowding songs, a fountain flowing,
Gushed forth unceasing, ever new;
When still the mists my world were veiling,
The bud its miracle bespoke;
When I the thousand blossoms broke,
Profusely through the valleys trailing.
Naught, yet enough had I when but a youth,
Joy in illusion, yearning toward the truth.
Give impulse its unfettered dower,
The bliss so deep 'tis full of pain,
The strength of hate, Love's mighty power,
Oh, give me back my youth again!

This is another very good example of the heterogenic character of Faust. The poet does not respond to what the Jester says, but introduces a new theme. He cries for his lost youth. Very likely that one cannot explain what he feels in an rational manner. But the author of this chapter believes, that many people have experienced the same feelings that are described here. When we are young, we have a lot of questions. We are more open and much more idealistic. In the way we are getting older, we lose this and we find ourselves trapped in the routine. Whether this is the destiny of every single one of us, the author can't say. Maybe the perception of the world changes with the years, because the knowledge grows. People that turn to wood with the year, may never have been young, but were born as old ones. In his answer the Jester tells him.

  Das Alter macht nicht kindisch, wie man spricht,
Es findet uns nur noch als wahre Kinder.
  Age makes not childish, as one oft avers;
It finds us still true children merely.