The Power Of Song

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

The foaming stream from out the rock
      With thunder roar begins to rush,--
    The oak falls prostrate at the shock,
      And mountain-wrecks attend the gush.
    With rapturous awe, in wonder lost,
      The wanderer hearkens to the sound;
    From cliff to cliff he hears it tossed,
      Yet knows not whither it is bound:
    'Tis thus that song's bright waters pour
    From sources never known before.

    In union with those dreaded ones
      That spin life's thread all-silently,
    Who can resist the singer's tones?
      Who from his magic set him free?
    With wand like that the gods bestow,
      He guides the heaving bosom's chords,
    He steeps it in the realms below,
      He bears it, wondering, heavenward,
    And rocks it, 'twixt the grave and gay,
    On feeling's scales that trembling sway.

    As when before the startled eyes
      Of some glad throng, mysteriously,
    With giant-step, in spirit-guise,
      Appears a wondrous deity,
    Then bows each greatness of the earth
      Before the stranger heaven-born,
    Mute are the thoughtless sounds of mirth,
      While from each face the mask is torn,
    And from the truth's triumphant might
    Each work of falsehood takes to flight.

    So from each idle burden free,
      When summoned by the voice of song,
    Man soars to spirit-dignity,
      Receiving force divinely strong:
    Among the gods is now his home,
      Naught earthly ventures to approach--
    All other powers must now be dumb,
      No fate can on his realms encroach;
    Care's gloomy wrinkles disappear,
    Whilst music's charms still linger here,

    As after long and hopeless yearning,
      And separation's bitter smart,
    A child, with tears repentant burning,
      Clings fondly to his mother's heart--
    So to his youthful happy dwelling,
      To rapture pure and free from stain,
    All strange and false conceits expelling,
      Song guides the wanderer back again,
    In faithful Nature's loving arm,
    From chilling precepts to grow warm.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:34 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,997
Words 303
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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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