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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Poet: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dates: 28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832

Nationality: German

Title of Poem: A Pupil In Magic

I am now,–what joy to hear it!–
Of the old magician rid;
And henceforth shall ev’ry spirit
Do whate’er by me is bid;
I have watch’d with rigour
All he used to do,
And will now with vigour
Work my wonders too.

Wander, wander
Onward lightly,
So that rightly
Flow the torrent,
And with teeming waters yonder
In the bath discharge its current!

And now come, thou well-worn broom,
And thy wretched form bestir;
Thou hast ever served as groom,
So fulfil my pleasure, sir!
On two legs now stand,
With a head on top;
Waterpail in hand,
Haste, and do not stop!

Wander, wander
Onward lightly,
So that rightly
Flow the torrent,
And with teeming waters yonder
In the bath discharge its current!

See! he’s running to the shore,
And has now attain’d the pool,
And with lightning speed once more
Comes here, with his bucket full!

Back he then repairs;
See how swells the tide!
How each pail he bears
Straightway is supplied!

Stop, for, lo!
All the measure
Of thy treasure
Now is right!–

Ah, I see it! woe, oh woe!
I forget the word of might.
Ah, the word whose sound can straight
Make him what he was before!
Ah, he runs with nimble gait!

Would thou wert a broom once more!
Streams renew’d for ever
Quickly bringeth he;
River after river
Rusheth on poor me!

Now no longer
Can I bear him;
I will snare him,
Knavish sprite!
Ah, my terror waxes stronger!
What a look! what fearful sight

Oh, thou villain child of hell!
Shall the house through thee be drown’d
Floods I see that wildly swell,
O’er the threshold gaining ground.

Wilt thou not obey,
Oh, thou broom accurs’d?
Be thou still I pray,
As thou wert at first!

Will enough
Never please thee?
I will seize thee,
Hold thee fast,
And thy nimble wood so tough,
With my sharp axe split at last.

See, once more he hastens back!
Now, oh Cobold, thou shalt catch it!
I will rush upon his track;
Crashing on him falls my hatchet.

Bravely done, indeed!
See, he’s cleft in twain!
Now from care I’m freed,
And can breathe again.

Woe, oh woe!
Both the parts,
Quick as darts,
Stand on end,
Servants of my dreaded foe!
Oh, ye gods protection send!

And they run! and wetter still
Grow the steps and grows the hail.
Lord and master hear me call!
Ever seems the flood to fill,

Ah, he’s coming! see,
Great is my dismay!
Spirits raised by me
Vainly would I lay!

“To the side
Of the room
Hasten, broom,
As of old!
Spirits I have ne’er untied
Save to act as they are told.”


Brief Biography: Goethe was a writer and statesman. His work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of meters and styles. Goethe was a literary celebrity by the age of 25. He was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar in 1782.