Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wanderers Nachtlied II
This Night-song of the Wanderer was written by the not quite thirty-year-old Goethe on the wall of a hunting lodge on the Kickelhahn, a mountain in Thuringia. It is not in regular meter, It is not stanzaic. It does not repeat itself; it moves rather like the wind in the pines, collecting rhymes and resonances as it goes, and then vanishing into silence.
Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh,
over all the mountain peaks is peace.
In allen Wipfeln spürest du
in all the treetops, you may hear
kaum einen Hauch
scarcely a breath
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
The birds have grown still in the forest:
Warte nur, balde
Only wait; soon
ruhest du auch'
you too shall rest.
The story goes that in fall 1831, in the 82nd year of his age, Goethe revisited that mountain lodge, saw the poem still written on the wall, and wept at the realization that the prediction "ruhest du auch" was soon to be fulfilled in him. He died six months later, on 22 March 1832. All roads of all travelers lead in the end to the same place.
23 Sept 2008 / Contact The Project / Exit to Reference Page