Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




KNOW'ST thou the land where the fair citron blows,

Where the bright orange midst the foliage glows,

Where soft winds greet us from the azure skies,

Where silent myrtles stately laurel's rise

Know'st thou it well?


                   'Tis there 'tis there

That I with thee, beloved one, would repair.


Know'st thou the house? On columns rests its pile,

Its halls are gleaming, and it's chambers smile,

And marble statues stand and gaze on me:

"Poor child! what sorrow hath befallen thee?"

Know'st thou it well?


                    'Tis there, 'tis there

That I with thee, protector, would repair!


Know'st thou the mountain, and its cloudy bridge?

The mule can scarcely find the misty ridge;

In caverns dwells the dragon's olden brood,

The frowning crag obstructs the raging flood,

Know'st thou it well?


                   'Tis there, tis there

Our path lies--Father--thither, oh repair!

The Erl-King

WHO rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."

"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."

"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."

The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,--
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.