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webassets/ShakespearecobbeportraitWIKI.jpg
The "Cobbe" Portrait Which May Depict Sir William Shakespeare Before He Became Bald

Would you like to have some of your own material published here?  Call 913 492-1564 and ask for Mason Emerson now.

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"THE ELF KING" (ERLKONIG)
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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In metro K.C. some 16% of people claim German ancestry, and German and Irish cultures in particular have been strong in the area since the 1800s.  Appreciation for German poets such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is therefore natural.  He is considered the greatest poet in German culture although it needs added that in the German-speaking nations there is also a great respect and appreciation for England's William Shakespeare.

The following poem is Goethe's "Elf King" which I, as a German literature major, have translated into English.  In German mythology an elf wasn't necessarily thought of as a purely good albeit slightly mischevious little creature, but rather as a being who could also appear in spirit form and act maliciously, hence to be kept away from children whose attention it might draw.

THE ELF KING
 

Who rides so late through Night and the Wind?
Tis a father with his dear dear child,

He holds the young boy snug in his arms,

He holds him secure, he holds him warm.

“My son, why do you hide your face in fear?”

“Look, Father, don’t you see the Elfking?

The Elfking with his crown and his robe?”

“My son, tis but a wisp of fog.”

“You beloved child, come, go with me!
Such lovely games I shall play with thee,

Many gay flowers are on the shore,
My mother has many golden garments.”

“My Father, my Father, don’t you hear it now,

What the Elfking softly promises me?”

“Please be quiet, just stay calm, my child;

In the dry leaves does rustle the wind.

“Wilt thou, you fine child, go off with me?

My daughters shall await thee prettily;

My daughters do lead forth the nightly dances,

They shall rock and dance until you fall asleep.”

“My Father, my Father, and don’t you see there

Elfking’s daughter in that dark place?”

My son, my son, I see it indeed:

It seems like the old willows so gray.”

“I love you, for I’m drawn by thine winsome figure;

And if you’re not willing, I’ll take you by force.”

“My Father, my Father, now he has seized me!
Elfking's given me a deadly blow!”

The father shudders, he rides so swiftly,

He holds in his arms his groaning dear child,
Reaches the courtyard with great distress;

In his arms his dear child was now dead.


Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?

Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;

Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,

Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

«Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?»
Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht?

Den Erlenkönig mit Kron und Schweif? –

«Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.» –

«Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!

Gar schöne Spiele spiel' ich mit dir;

Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,

Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.»

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,

Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht? –
«Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind;
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.» –

«Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön;

Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn,
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.»

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort

Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort? –

«Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.»

«Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt.»

Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an!

Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan! –

Dem Vater grausets, er reitet geschwind,

Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,

Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not;

In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Elsewhere here you will also find Goethe's poem "Little Rose (or Rosey) On The Heath" which is about a young man and woman upon the heath, their relationship and its attendant thesis.  A heath is a moor or area of land that is not cultivated as with a mountain meadow.

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HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
 
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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WILD NIGHTS!
By Emily Dickinson

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

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O MY LUVE’S LIKE A RED, RED ROSE

By Robert Burns

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it ware ten thousand mile.

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LET ME NOT…

William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments. Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds,
or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
that looks on tempests and is never shaken;
it is the star to every wandering bark,
whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
within his bending sickle’s compass come:
love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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MY MISTRESS’ EYES
By William Shakespeare

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

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She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron


She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,—
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

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MEETING AT NIGHT
Robert Browning

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.


Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

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FLOWERS--WELL--IF ANYBODY
By Emily Dickinson

Flowers—Well—if anybody
Can the ecstasy define—
Half a transport—half a trouble—
With which flowers humble men:
Anybody find the fountain
From which floods so contra flow—
I will give him all the Daisies
Which upon the hillside blow.

Too much pathos in their faces
For a simple breast like mine—
Butterflies from St. Domingo
Cruising round the purple line—
Have a system of aesthetics—
Far superior to mine.

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SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A SUMMER'S DAY
By William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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MY HIGHLAND LASSIE
By Robert Burns

Nae gentle dames, tho' e'er sae fair,
Shall ever be my muse's care;
Their titles a' are empty show;
Gie me my Highland Lassie, O.
Within the glen sae bushy, O,
Aboon the plain sae rushy, O,
I sit me down wi' right good will,
To sing my Highland Lassie, O.

Oh, were yon hills and valleys mine,
Yon palace and yon gardens fine!
The world then the love should know
I bear my Highland Lassie, O.
Within the glen...

She has my heart, she has my hand,
By sacred troth and honor's band!
Till the mortal stroke shall lay me low,
I'm thine, my highland Lassie, O.
Farewell the glen so bushy, O!
Farewell the plain so rushy, O!
To other lands I now must go,
To sing my Highland Lassie, O!

ROSLEIN AUF DER HEIDE
By Goethe

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Some would opine that this poem by Goethe is a rhymed (in German) story of either unrequitted if not stolen love, lust or passion.  As with "Elf-King," it is not passive but full of action, thus better embedding its imagery and message more quickly and firmly into the reader's mind.  Its simple message may be for men and boys to beware that if they would steal affections or aught else from women and girls then they naturally can expect to have to pay some pain in return for the rest of their lives for as the adage goes, there's no rose but has a thorn.

LITTLE ROSE ON THE HEATH

Saw a boy a little rose stand,
Little rose on the heath,
Twas so young and morning fair,
Ran he quick it near to see,
See it with greatest joy.
Rosey, Rosey, Rosey red,
Little rose upon the heath.

The boy spoke: "I'll break you,
Little Rose upon the heath."
Rosey spoke: "I will stick you,
So you'll always think of me,
And I'll not suffer it."
Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, red,
Little Rose on the heath.

And the wild body did break
That Rosey upon the heath.
Rosey defended and stuck,
Helped him not his Ooch and Ouch,
Just had to endure it.
Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, red,
Rosey upon the heath.

Sah ein Knab' ein Röslein stehn,
Röslein auf der Heiden,
War so jung und morgenschön,
Lief er schnell es nah zu sehn,
Sah's mit vielen Freuden.
Röslein, Röslein, Röslein rot,
Röslein auf der Heiden.

Knabe sprach: "Ich breche dich,
Röslein auf der Heiden."
Röslein sprach: "Ich steche dich,
Dass du ewig denkst an mich,
Und ich will's nicht leiden."
Röslein, Röslein, Röslein rot,
Röslein auf der Heiden.

Und der wilde Knabe brach
's Röslein auf der Heiden.
Röslein wehrte sich und stach,
Half ihm doch kein Weh und Ach,
Musst es eben leiden.
Röslein, Röslein, Röslein rot,
Röslein auf der Heiden.