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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Goethe, Who yearns for the impossible I love

From Faust part II, Translated by G. Madison Priest


The Original Greek New Testament


By the lower Peneus
Peneus surrounded by waters and nymphs.


Wake and stir, ye whispering bushes,
Softly breathe, ye reeds and rushes,
Rustle, willows by the river,
Lisp, ye poplar sprays a-quiver,
To my interrupted dream!...
Fearful, stirring breezes wake me
And mysterious tremors shake me
From my rippling, restful stream.

Faust [stepping to the edge of the river].

If I dare such fancies harbour,
Deep within the tangled arbour
Of these twigs and bushes noises
Sounded as of human voices.
Wave doth seem a very chatter,
Zephyr sounds a jesting patter.

Nymphs [to Faust].

Ah, best were it for thee
To lie here, reviving
In coolness thy members
Worn out by their striving,
The rest thus enjoying
That from thee doth flee;
We'll rustle, we'll murmur,
We'll whisper to thee.

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