The Shepherd’s Lament

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translated by Mark Gutglueck

On that mountain over there
A thousand times I have stood,
Leaning on my staff, regarding
The land and smiling good.

I stroll with my grazing flocks,
My dog protecting them near;
But when I get to the valley,
I will wonder how I got here.

Flowers blanket the entire meadow
Their beauty is expansive;
I pick some, but do not know
To whom I will them give.

The rain comes down in a deluge,
And I take shelter beneath a tree,
The clouds have blocked my vision
Of what I know there is to see.

Soon high across the azure sky,
A rainbow has arisen
Having come from the place where
Colors are born to be enlivened.

The rainbow has migrated far
From where she started, even half
A world away and across the sea;

So, my sheep let’s continue on, as I
Forlorn attend you, and sad must be.


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