by: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)

      HE sought to breathe one word, but vainly--
      Too many listeners were nigh;
      And yet my timid glance read plainly
      The language of her speaking eye.
      Thy silent glades my footstep presses,
      Thou fair and leaf-embosom'd grove!
      Conceal within thy green recesses
      From mortal eye our sacred love!
      Afar with strange discordant noises,
      The busy day is echoing;
      And, 'mid the hollow hum of voices,
      I hear the heavy hammer ring.
      'Tis thus that man, with toil ne'er-ending,
      Extorts from Heaven his daily bread;
      Yet oft unseen the Gods are sending
      The gifts of fortune on his head!
      Oh, let mankind discover never
      How true love fills with bliss our hearts!
      They would but crush our joy forever,
      For joy to them no glow imparts.
      Thou ne'er wilt from the world obtain it--
      'Tis never captured save as prey;
      Thou needs must strain each nerve to gain it,
      E'er Envy dark asserts her sway.
      The hours of night and stillness loving,
      It comes upon us silently--
      Away with hasty footsteps moving
      Soon as it sees a treach'rous eye.
      Thou gentle stream, soft circlets weaving,
      A wat'ry barrier cast around,
      And, with thy waves in anger heaving,
      Guard from each foe this holy ground!

"The Secret" is reprinted from The Poems of Schiller. Trans. Edgar A. Bowring. New York: Hurst & Company, 1872.




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