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Um Mitternacht

Um Mitternacht

Um Mitternacht ging ich, nicht eben gerne,
Klein kleiner Knabe, jenen Kirchhof hin
Zu Vaters Haus, des Pfarrers; Stern an Sterne,
Sie leuchteten doch alle gar zu schön;
Um Mitternacht.
Wenn ich dann ferner in des Lebens Weite
Zur Liebsten mußte, mußte, weil sie zog,
Gestirn und Nordschein über mir im Streite,
Ich gehend, kommend Seligkeiten sog;
Um Mitternacht.
Bis dann zuletzt des vollen Mondes Helle
So klar und deutlich mir ins Finstere drang,
Auch der Gedanke willig, sinnig, schnelle
Sich ums Vergangne wie ums Künftige schlang;
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht

At midnight, as a very little boy, I would walk,
Far from willingly, past that churchyard
To father’s vicarage; star on star,
How beautifully they all shone;
At midnight.
When further on in life I had to go
To my beloved, had to because she drew me on,
I saw the stars and Northern Lights compete;
I came, I went, drinking in her bliss;
At midnight.
Until at last the moon’s full radiance
Pierced my darkness so clearly and brightly,
That also my thoughts, willingly, meaningfully, swiftly
Embraced the past and the future;
At midnight.

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Poet

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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