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Parables And Riddles

Friedrich Schiller 1759 (Marbach am Neckar) – 1805 (Weimar)



I.

  A bridge of pearls its form uprears
  High o'er a gray and misty sea;
  E'en in a moment it appears,
  And rises upwards giddily.

  Beneath its arch can find a road
  The loftiest vessel's mast most high,
  Itself hath never borne a load,
  And seems, when thou draw'st near, to fly.

  It comes first with the stream, and goes
  Soon as the watery flood is dried.
  Where may be found this bridge, disclose,
  And who its beauteous form supplied!

  II.

  It bears thee many a mile away,
  And yet its place it changes ne'er;
  It has no pinions to display,
  And yet conducts thee through the air.

  It is the bark of swiftest motion
  That every weary wanderer bore;
  With speed of thought the greatest ocean
  It carries thee in safety o'er;
  One moment wafts thee to the shore.

  III.

  Upon a spacious meadow play
  Thousands of sheep, of silvery hue;
  And as we see them move to-day,
  The man most aged saw them too.

  They ne'er grow old, and, from a rill
  That never dries, their life is drawn;
  A shepherd watches o'er them still,
  With curved and beauteous silver horn.

  He drives them out through gates of gold,
  And every night their number counts;
  Yet ne'er has lost, of all his fold,
  One lamb, though oft that path he mounts.

  A hound attends him faithfully,
  A nimble ram precedes the way;
  Canst thou point out that flock to me,
  And who the shepherd, canst thou say?

  IV.

  There stands a dwelling, vast and tall,
  On unseen columns fair;
  No wanderer treads or leaves its hall,
  And none can linger there.

  Its wondrous structure first was planned
  With art no mortal knows;
  It lights the lamps with its own hand
  'Mongst which it brightly glows.

  It has a roof, as crystal bright,
  Formed of one gem of dazzling light;
  Yet mortal eye has ne'er
  Seen Him who placed it there.

  V.

  Within a well two buckets lie,
  One mounts, and one descends;
  When one is full, and rises high,
  The other downward wends.

  They wander ever to and fro--
  Now empty are, now overflow.
  If to the mouth thou liftest this,
  That hangs within the dark abyss.
  In the same moment they can ne'er
  Refresh thee with their treasures fair.

  VI.

  Know'st thou the form on tender ground?
  It gives itself its glow, its light;
  And though each moment changing found.
  Is ever whole and ever bright.
  In narrow compass 'tis confined,
  Within the smallest frame it lies;
  Yet all things great that move thy mind,
  That form alone to thee supplies.

  And canst thou, too, the crystal name?
  No gem can equal it in worth;
  It gleams, yet kindles near to flame,
  It sucks in even all the earth.
  Within its bright and wondrous ring
  Is pictured forth the glow of heaven,
  And yet it mirrors back each thing
  Far fairer than to it 'twas given.

  VII.

  For ages an edifice here has been found,
  It is not a dwelling, it is not a Pane;
  A horseman for hundreds of days may ride round,
  Yet the end of his journey he ne'er can attain.

  Full many a century o'er it has passed,
  The might of the storm and of time it defies!
  Neath the rainbow of Heaven stands free to the last,--
  In the ocean it dips, and soars up to the skies.

  It was not vain glory that bade its erection,
  It serves as a refuge, a shield, a protection;
  Its like on the earth never yet has been known
  And yet by man's hand it is fashioned alone.

  VIII.

  Among all serpents there is one,
  Born of no earthly breed;
  In fury wild it stands alone,
  And in its matchless speed.

  With fearful voice and headlong force
  It rushes on its prey,
  And sweeps the rider and his horse
  In one fell swoop away.

  The highest point it loves to gain;
  And neither bar nor lock
  Its fiery onslaught can restrain;
  And arms--invite its shock.

  It tears in twain like tender grass,
  The strongest forest-trees;
  It grinds to dust the harden
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:30 min read
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Friedrich Schiller

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet philosopher historian and playwright During the last seventeen years of his life Schiller struck up a productive if complicated friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang Goethe with whom he frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics and encouraged Goethe to finish works he left merely as sketches this relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism They also worked together on Die Xenien The Xenies a collection of short but harshly satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe verbally attacked those persons they perceived to be enemies of their aesthetic agenda. more…

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