We present this work in honor of the poet’s 250th birthday.

Johann Ludwig Tieck
1773 – 1853


So she wanders in the eternally same circle,
The time, in its old way,
Deaf and blind on their way.
The impartial human child
Always expecting from the next moment
An unexpected strange new happiness.
The sun goes and returns
Comes the moon and the night falls,
The hours guide the weeks down
The weeks bring the seasons.
From the outside nothing ever again.

from Faustus: his Life, Death, and Doom

Friedrich Maximilian Klinger
1752 – 1831

O the delightful moment! Precious reward of my toils!
Hell rejoices at thy curses, and expects a yet more frightful one from thee.
Fool! wast thou not born free?
Didst thou not bear in thy breast, like all who live in flesh,
the instinct of good as well as of evil?
Why didst thou transgress, with so much temerity,
the bounds which had been prescribed to thee?
Why didst thou endeavour to try thy strength with and against
Him who is not to be reached?
Did not God create you in such a manner,
that you were as much elevated above the devils
as above the beasts of the earth?
Did he not grant you the perceptive faculty of good and evil?
Were not your will and choice free?
We wretches are without choice, without will;
we are the slaves of evil and of imperious necessity;
constrained and condemned to all eternity to wish nothing but evil,
we are the instruments of revenge and punishment upon you.
Ye are kings of the creation, free beings,
masters of your destiny, which ye fix yourselves;
masters of the future, which only depends upon your actions.
It is on account of these prerogatives that we detest you,
and rejoice when, by your follies, your impatience, and your crimes,
you cease to be masters of yourselves.
It is only in resignation, Faustus, that present or future happiness consists.
Hadst thou remained what thou wast,
and had not doubt, pride, vanity, and voluptuousness
torn thee out of the happy and limited sphere for which thou wast born,
thou mightst have followed an honourable employment,
and have supported thy wife and children; and thy family,
which is now sunk into the refuse of humanity,
would have been blooming and prosperous;
lamented by them, thou wouldst have died calmly on thy bed,
and thy example would have guided thy posterity along the thorny path of life.

Translation by George Borrow

I Am Tired

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 225th birthday.

Luise Hensel
1798 – 1876


I am tired, go to bed,
Close both little eyes;
Father, let your eyes
Be over my bed!
If I have done wrong today,
Don’t look at it, beloved God!
Your mercy and Jesus’ blood
Turn all damage into good.
All those who are close to me,
God, let them rest in your hand!
Let all people, small and large,
Be under your protection.
Send rest to sick hearts,
Let teary eyes be closed;
Let the moon stand in the sky
And look upon the quiet world!

The Burning of the Books

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday.

Bertolt Brecht
1898 – 1956


When the Regime ordered that books with dangerous teachings
Should be publicly burnt and everywhere
Oxen were forced to draw carts full of books
To the funeral pyre, an exiled poet,
One of the best, discovered with fury, when he studied the list
Of the burned, that his books
Had been forgotten. He rushed to his writing table
On wings of anger and wrote a letter to those in power,
Burn me, he wrote with hurrying pen, burn me!
Do not treat me in this fashion. Don’t leave me out. Have I not
Always spoken the truth in my books? And now
You treat me like a liar! I order you:
Burn me!

Translation by H.R. Hays

from Oberon

We present this work in honor of the 210th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Christoph Martin Wieland
1733 – 1813


Now through the outward court swift speeds the knight ;
Within the second from his steed descends;
Along the third his pace majestic bends:
Where’er he enters, dazzled by his sight,
The guards make way, — his gait, his dress, his air,
A nuptial guest of highest rank declare.
Now he advances towards an ebon gate,
Where with drawn swords twelve Moors gigantic wait,
And piecemeal hack the wretch who steps unbidden there.
But the bold gesture and imperial mien Of Huon,
as he opes the lofty door, Drive back the swords that crossed his path before,
And at his entrance flamed with lightning sheen.
At once, with rushing noise, the valves unfold:
High throbs the bosom of our hero bold,
When, locked behind him, harsh the portals bray :
Through gardens decked with columns leads the way,
Where towered a gate incased with plates of massy gold.
There a large forecourt held a various race
Of slaves, a hapless race, sad harem slaves,
Who die of thirst ‘mid joy ‘s o’erflowing waves !
And when a man, whom emir honors grace,
Swells in his state before their hollow eye,
Breathless they bend, with looks that seem to die,
Beneath the weight of servitude oppressed ;
Bow down, with folded arms across the breast,
Nor dare look up to mark the pomp that glitters by.

Translation by Robyn Lowrie

The Haste of Love

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 425th birthday.

Martin Opitz
1597 – 1639


Ah, sweetheart, let us hurry
We still have time.
Delaying thus, we bury
Our mutual prime.

Beauty’s bright gift shall perish
As leaves grow sere;
All that we have and cherish
Shall disappear.

The cheek of roses fadeth
Gray grows the head;
And fire the eyes evadeth
And passion’s dead.

The mouth, love’s honeyed winner
Is formless, cold;
The hand, like snow, gets thinner
And thou art old!

So let us taste the pleasure
That youth endears,
Ere we are called to measure
The flying years.

Give, as thou lov’st and livest
Thy love to me,
Even though, in what thou givest
My loss should be!

Translation by Bayard Taylor

The Town

Karen Gershon
1923 – 1993


I did not want to feel at home
of what importance was the town
my family were driven from
how could I still have thought it mine
I have four children why should I
expend my love on stones and trees
of what significance were these
to have such power over me

As stones and trees absorb the weather
so these had stored my childhood days
and from a million surfaces
gave back my father and my mother
my presence there was dialogue
how could I have refused to answer
when my own crippled childhood broke
from streets and hillsides like a dancer


We present this work in honor of the 120th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Mathilde Wesendonck
1828 – 1902


Say, what wondrous dreams are these
Embracing all my senses,
That they have not, like bubbles,
Vanished to a barren void?

Dreams, that with every hour
Bloom more lovely every day,
And with their heavenly tidings
Float blissfully through the mind!

Dreams, that with glorious rays
Penetrate the soul,
There to paint an eternal picture:
Forgetting all, remembering one!

Dreams, as when the Spring sun
Kisses blossoms from the snow,
So the new day might welcome them
In unimagined bliss,

So that they grow and flower,
Bestow their scent as in a dream,
Fade softly away on your breast
And sink into their grave.

Translation by Richard Stokes

from Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nicht

Christiana Mariana von Ziegler
1695 – 1760


Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
If I couldn’t, three times a day,
be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
in my anguish I will turn into
a shriveled-up roast goat.

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
and, if someone wants to pamper me,
ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!