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Goethe viewed the writing of poetry as essentially autobiographical, and the works selected in this volume represent more than sixty years in the life of the poet. In early poems such as 'Prometheus, ' he rails against religion in an almost ecstatic fervor, while 'To the Moon' is an enigmatic meditation on the end of a love affair. The Roman Elegies show Goethe's use of Classical Goethe viewed the writing of poetry as essentially autobiographical, and the works selected in this volume represent more than sixty years in the life of the poet. In early poems such as 'Prometheus, ' he rails against religion in an almost ecstatic fervor, while 'To the Moon' is an enigmatic meditation on the end of a love affair. The Roman Elegies show Goethe's use of Classical meters in an homage to ancient Rome and its poets, and 'The Diary, ' suppressed for more than a century, is a narrative poem whose eroticism is combined with its morality. In selections from Faust, arguably his greatest and most personal work, Goethe creates an exhilarating depiction of humankind's eternal search for truth. - Dual-language edition - David Luke's exquisite verse translations are arranged chronologically - Includes an introduction and notes that place the poems in the context of the poet's life and times, as well as indexes of German and English titles and first lines For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


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Goethe viewed the writing of poetry as essentially autobiographical, and the works selected in this volume represent more than sixty years in the life of the poet. In early poems such as 'Prometheus, ' he rails against religion in an almost ecstatic fervor, while 'To the Moon' is an enigmatic meditation on the end of a love affair. The Roman Elegies show Goethe's use of Classical Goethe viewed the writing of poetry as essentially autobiographical, and the works selected in this volume represent more than sixty years in the life of the poet. In early poems such as 'Prometheus, ' he rails against religion in an almost ecstatic fervor, while 'To the Moon' is an enigmatic meditation on the end of a love affair. The Roman Elegies show Goethe's use of Classical meters in an homage to ancient Rome and its poets, and 'The Diary, ' suppressed for more than a century, is a narrative poem whose eroticism is combined with its morality. In selections from Faust, arguably his greatest and most personal work, Goethe creates an exhilarating depiction of humankind's eternal search for truth. - Dual-language edition - David Luke's exquisite verse translations are arranged chronologically - Includes an introduction and notes that place the poems in the context of the poet's life and times, as well as indexes of German and English titles and first lines For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

30 review for Selected Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Bibliographical note and acknowledgements I. The younger Goethe (1770-1786) --1. May Song / Mailied --2. Welcome and Parting / Willkommen und Abschied --3. Ganymede / Ganymed --4. Prometheus / Prometheus from the 'Urfaust', c. 1774 --5. 'Well, that's Philosophy I've read' (lines 354-97) / 'Habe nun, ach! Philosophie' --6. 'In life like a flood' (501-9) / 'In Lebensfluten' --7. 'There once was a King' (2759-82) / 'Es war ein König in Thule' --8. 'My heart's so heavy' (3374-413) //> Bibliographical note and acknowledgements I. The younger Goethe (1770-1786) --1. May Song / Mailied --2. Welcome and Parting / Willkommen und Abschied --3. Ganymede / Ganymed --4. Prometheus / Prometheus from the 'Urfaust', c. 1774 --5. 'Well, that's Philosophy I've read' (lines 354-97) / 'Habe nun, ach! Philosophie' --6. 'In life like a flood' (501-9) / 'In Lebensfluten' --7. 'There once was a King' (2759-82) / 'Es war ein König in Thule' --8. 'My heart's so heavy' (3374-413) / 'Meine Ruh ist hin' --9. 'What are the joys of heaven' (3345/65) / 'Was ist die Himmelsfreud' --10. 'Who killed me dead?' (4412-20) / 'Meine Mutter, die Hur' --11. On the Lake / Auf dem See --12. Restless Love / Rastlose Liebe --13. 'Why was deep insight given to us' / 'Warum gabst du uns die tiefen Blicke' --14. A Wanderer's Night Song I: 'Messenger of heaven' / Wandrers Nachtlied I: 'Der du von dem Himmel bist' --15. A Wanderer's Night Song II: 'Now stillness covers' / Wandrers Nachtlied II: 'Über allen Gipfeln' --16a. To the Moon (First version) / An den Mond (Erste Fassung) --16b. To the Moon (Final version) / An den Mond (Letzte Fassung) --17. The Fisherman / Der Fischer --18. The Elf King / Erlkönig --19. [The Song of the Fates] / [Das Lied der Parzen] --20. Human Limitations / Grenzen der Menschheit --21. Divinity / Das Göttliche --22. 'Oh do you know the land' / 'Kennst du das Land' --23. 'Only the lonely heart' / 'Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt' --24. 'Who never wept to eat his bread' / 'Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß' --25. Anacreon's Grave / Anakreons Grab II. Classical and middle years (1786-1810) from the Roman Elegies, 1788-90 --26. II. 'Speak to me, stones' / 'Saget, Steine, mir an' --27. III. 'More than I ever had hoped' / 'Mehr als ich ahndete schön' --28. VII. 'Now on classical soil I stand' / 'Froh empfind ich mich nun' --29. XV. 'Eros was ever a rogue' / 'Amor bleibet ein Schalk' --30. XVII. 'You were two perilous serpents' / 'Zwei gefährliche Schlangen' --31. XVIII. 'Caesar would hardly have got me' / 'Cäsarn wär ich wohl nie' --32. XXIII. 'Strength, and a bold and liberal' / 'Zieret Stärke den Mann' --33. XXIV. 'Once in the garden's far corner' / 'Hinten im Winkel des Gartens' from the Venetian Epigrams, 1790 --34. 1. 'Pagan burial-urns and sarcophagi' / 'Sarkophagen und Urnen' --35. 9. 'Give me, Priapus, another name for it!' / 'Gib mir statt "der Schwanz"' --36. 16. 'If I'd the husband I need' / 'Wär ich ein häusliches Weib' --37. 21. 'Dear little shape that might have' / 'Wie von der künstlichsten Hand' --38. 28. 'Show us the parts of the Lord!' / 'Heraus mit dem Teile des Herrn!' --39. 30. 'Goats, go and stand on my left!' / 'Böcke, zur Linken mit euch!' --40. 33. 'Oh, how intently I used to observe' / 'O wie achtet ich sonst' --41. 40. 'It is such joy to hug my beloved' / Wonniglich ists, die Geliebte' Miscellaneous classical epigrams, c. 1796 --42. '"Why", asked Beauty, "oh Zeus,"' / 'Warum bin ich vergänglich' --43. 'True love is love that stays constant' / 'Das ist die wahre Liebe' --44. 'Whom shall you trust, honest friend?' / 'Wem zu glauben ist' --45. 'Strive towards wholeness' / 'Immer strebe zum Ganzen' --46. 'Let us not all be the same' / 'Gleich sei keiner dem andern' from Hermann and Dorothea, 1796-7 --47. 'Thus the men talked' (Canto IV, lines 1-104) / 'Also sprachen die Männer' --48. 'So together they walked' (Canto VIII, 1-104) / 'Also gingen die zwei' from Faust, Part One, 1797-1808 --49. Dedication (lines 1-32) / Zueignung --50. [Song of the Archangels] (243-70) / [Gesang der Erzengel] --51. 'Ice thaws on the river' (903-40) / 'Vom Eise befreit' --52. 'In the beginning was the word' (1224-37) / 'Geschrieben steht' --53. The God and the Dancing-girl / Der Gott und die Bajadere --54. Permanence in Change / Dauer im Wechsel --55. Nature and Art / Natur und Kunst --56. Nocturne / Nachtgesang --57. The Diary / Das Tagebuch III. The later Goethe (1810-1832) from the West-Eastern Divan, 1814-1818 --58. Hegira / Hegira --59. Singing and Shaping / Lied und Gebilde --60. A Phenomenon / Phänomen --61. A Past within the Present / Im gegenwärtigen Vergangenes --62. Talismans / Talismane --63. Unbounded / Unbegrenzt --64. Suleika speaks / Suleika spricht --65. The Secret / Geheimes --66. Engulfed / Versunken --67. 'Love for love and hour for hour' / 'Lieb um liebe, Stund um stunde' --68. 'Beloved, let me show you' / 'An vollen Büschelzweigen' --69a. 'As I sailed on the Euphrates' / 'Als ich auf dem Euphrat schiffte' --69b. 'This I'm happy to interpret!' / 'Dies zu deuten bin erbötig!' --70. Ginkgo biloba / Gingo biloba --71. The Night of the Full Moon / Vollmondnacht --72. 'West wind, how I envy you' / 'Ach, um deine feuchten Schwingen' --73. 'King Behramgur, they say, invented' / 'Behramgur, sagt man, hat den Reim' --74a. Summer Night / Sommernacht --74b. 'Well, so at last I've learnt' / 'So hab ich endlich' --75. Privileged Animals / Begünstigte Tiere --76. Higher and Highest Matters / Höheres und Höchstes --77. Ecstatic Longing / Selige Sehnsucht Miscellaneous late poems and epigrams --78. Old Age / Das Alter --79. Advertisement / Annonce --80. 'If a man's dead idle' / 'Wer aber recht bequem ist' --81. 'A man's a misfit' / 'Dem ist es schlecht' --82. 'The hero Napoleon came' / 'Am Jüngsten Tag' --83. [The Death of a Fly] / [Fliegentod] --84. At Midnight / Um Mitternacht --85. Primal Words. Orphic / Urworte. Orphisch --86. The Pariah / Paria --The Pariah's Prayer / Des Paria Gebet --Legend / Legende --The Pariah's Thanksgiving / Dank des Paria --87. A Trilogy of Passion / Trilogie der Leidenschaft --To Werther / An Werther --Elegy / Elegie --Reconcilement / Aussöhnung --88. The Bridegroom / Der Bräutigam --89. [On Contemplating Schiller's Skull] / Bei Betrachtung von Schillers Schädel] --90. 'Dusk has fallen' / 'Dämmrung senkte sich von oben' --91. To the Rising Full Moon / Dam aufgehenden Vollmonde --92. [A Legacy] / [Vermächtnis] from Faust, Part Two, 1800-1831 --93. 'When a fragrance has descended' (lines 4634-65) / 'Wenn sich lau die Lüfte füllen' --94. 'How strong and pure the pulse' (4679-727) / 'Des Lebens Pulse schlagen' --95. 'So much admired and so much censured' (8488-515) / 'Bewundert viel und viel' --96. 'The jagged summits on its mountain' (9526-61) / 'Und duldet auch auf seiner Berge' --97. 'We shall dwell amid this tremor' (9992-10038) / 'Wir in dieser tausend Äste' --98. 'A watchman by calling' (11288-303) /'Zum Sehen geboren' --99. 'Woods, hitherwavering' (11844-89) / 'Waldung, sie schwankt heran' --100. 'All that must disappear' (12104-11) / 'Alles Vergängliche' Notes Index of German titles and first lines Index of English titles and first lines

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

    Translated poetry... and most of it rhymed... (from Prometheus) "Have you ever soothed The pain that burdened me? Have you ever dried My terrified tears? Was I not forged into manhood By almighty Time And everlasting Destiny, My masters and yours? Perhaps you thought I should find life hateful And flee into deserts Because not all my dreams Blossomed to ripeness? Here I sit, making men In my Translated poetry... and most of it rhymed... (from Prometheus) "Have you ever soothed The pain that burdened me? Have you ever dried My terrified tears? Was I not forged into manhood By almighty Time And everlasting Destiny, My masters and yours? Perhaps you thought I should find life hateful And flee into deserts Because not all my dreams Blossomed to ripeness? Here I sit, making men In my own image, A race that shall be like me, A race that shall suffer and weep And know joy and delight too, And heed you no more Than I do!" ---- (from his Classical / Middles Years / Roman journey) "And when she sinks into sleep, wakeful and thoughtful I lie. Often I even compose my poetry in her embraces, Counting hexameter beats, tapping them out on her back Softly, with one hand’s fingers. She sweetly breathes in her slumber, Warmly the glow of her breath pierces the depths of my heart. Eros recalls, as he tends our lamp, how he did the same service For his Triumvirs, the three poets of Love, long ago." [...] "Tenderest love is the bond between us, and faithfullest longing; Only our mutual desire varies, as appetites do. If I so much as press on her hand, I shall see her enchanting Eyes reopen – ah no! let me still study her shape! Eyes, stay closed! you make me confused and drunken, too soon you Bring to an end this pure, quiet, contemplative joy. Look, how splendid these forms, how nobly moulded her limbs are! Did Ariadne sleep so? Theseus, oh how could you leave? Only one kiss on those lovely lips – flee, Theseus! she wakes! Now You are her captive – her gaze holds you for ever in thrall." - " True love is love that stays constant for ever, whatever its fortune: Whether requited or scorned, filled or sent empty away."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Lecter

    I loved this. This is possibly the first book of poetry I have found myself totally lost in. It got to the point where my husband would try to talk to me and I was getting resentful every time he interrupted me haha. Goethe writes so unflinchingly and beautifully. I enjoyed it immensely.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anima

    Dedication ‘Uncertain shapes, visitors from the past At whom I darkly gazed so long ago, My heart’s mad fleeting visions – now at last Shall I embrace you, must I let you go? Again you haunt me: come then, hold me fast! Out of the mist and murk you rise, who so Besiege me, and with magic breath restore, Stirring my soul, lost youth to me once more. You bring back memories of happier days And many a well-loved ghost again I greet; As when some old half-faded lege Dedication ‘Uncertain shapes, visitors from the past At whom I darkly gazed so long ago, My heart’s mad fleeting visions – now at last Shall I embrace you, must I let you go? Again you haunt me: come then, hold me fast! Out of the mist and murk you rise, who so Besiege me, and with magic breath restore, Stirring my soul, lost youth to me once more. You bring back memories of happier days And many a well-loved ghost again I greet; As when some old half-faded legend plays About our ears, sorrowing strains repeat My journey through life’s labyrinthine maze, Old griefs revive, old friends, old loves I meet, Those dear companions, by their fate’s unkind Decree cut short, who left me here behind....’ Unbounded ‘That you can never end, that makes you great, And to have no beginning is your fate. Your circling song is like the vault of stars, Its end is its beginning, and what was Before all things and after all shall be Moves in the midst of all for all to see. From you, true poet, fountain of delight, Wave upon wave flows, countless, infinite: Your lips for ever poised to kiss, Your soul outstreaming its sweet note, Your loving heart outpoured, your throat Thirsty for wine’s deep mysteries...’ Primal Words. Orphic DAIMON   Destiny As on the day that gave you to the world, As then the planets stood to greet the sun, Even so since then your life has all unfurled By that same law at that same hour begun. You are, as seers and sibyls have foretold, Yourself, and from yourself you cannot run; For neither time nor any power can shatter The evolving life-form of imprinted matter. TYCHE   Chance And yet a pleasing, changeful element Moves with us, round us, mitigates that stern Restriction; you are not alone, you are meant To do as others do, from them to learn. Life is a toy, and toying it is spent; It takes a lucky or an unlucky turn. The quiet years have passed now, and time came Full course; the lamp awaits the enkindling flame...’

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jared Hines

    On contemplating a waterfall: "The rainbow blooms, changing yet ever still […]. I watch a mirror here of man’s whole story, / And plain it speaks, ponder it as you will: / Our life’s a spectrum-sheen of borrowed glory." And a poem or prose piece for every emotion, mood, season. Some short and humorous verses and some tales of suffering and pleasure that read like dreams in a midsummer's night. Lip-smacking tasty and inexhaustible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    And have I lost thee evermore, Hast thou, oh, fair one, from me flown? Still in mine ear sounds, as of yore, Thine every word, thine every tone. As when at morn the wanderer's eye Attempts to pierce the air in vain, When, hidden in the azure sky, The lark high o'er him chants his strain: So do I cast my troubled gaze Through bush, through forest, o'er the lea; Thou art invoked by all my lays; Oh, come then, loved one, back to me!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Epstein

    If only you were really fluent in German, people always say, you'd appreciate Goethe. I'm not really fluent in German.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    3.5*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    In the introduction, Luke states that “Goethe the poet…is least European of all, in the sense that the frontiers of language, notoriously, are hardest for poetry to cross.” Luke has attempted to keep Goethe’s poetry, which also makes the difficulties in translation the highest. There are interesting factoids as well, such as the fact that a number of lines came from Goethe’s gift of developing poetry in a pre-conscious state, sometimes leaping from bed to write down lines. The lines a In the introduction, Luke states that “Goethe the poet…is least European of all, in the sense that the frontiers of language, notoriously, are hardest for poetry to cross.” Luke has attempted to keep Goethe’s poetry, which also makes the difficulties in translation the highest. There are interesting factoids as well, such as the fact that a number of lines came from Goethe’s gift of developing poetry in a pre-conscious state, sometimes leaping from bed to write down lines. The lines are wonderful. The beginning of Prometheus: “Cover your sky, Zeus, with vaporous clouds, and try out, like a boy knocking the heads off thistles, your strength against oak trees and mountain-tops: you still must leave me my earth standing, and my hut which you did not build, and my hearth for whose warm glow you envy me. I know of no poorer thing under the sun than you gods! Wretchedly you feed your majesty on sacrificial offerings and the breath of prayers, and you would starve if children and beggars were not fools full of hopes.” From “Sweet Lili” “Only air and light and the love of friends! Let no man lose heart who still has these.” “True love is that which remains for ever the same whether all that it asks is granted or all refused.” “I prefer an injurious truth to a useful error. Truth heals any pain it may inflict on us.” Epirrhema: “You must, in studying Nature, always consider both each single thing and the whole: nothing is inside and nothing is outside, for what is within is without. Make haste, then, to grasp this holy mystery which is public knowledge. Rejoice in the true illusion, in the serious game: no living thing is a unity, it is always manifold.” From “Nothing Better” “Anything in the world can be endured, except a series of wonderful days.” In general, I’m sure I’m losing much by not being able to read the German. That being said, Goethe is a true literary genius. Even with much lost in translation, this is wonderful verse. See my other reviews here!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Asiana Circus

    The first poem I fell in love with and made me emotional and wanting to be a writer was Goethe’s “The Erl-King”. I was about nine years old and was practicing for the school’s poetry competition with other students. I enjoyed being with kids who also loved poetry but hated to stand on the stage alone in front of all those people. I remember this older girl almost literally falling into the classroom, late and in a hurry. Since she had to leave early she came up next. I never heard her recite bef The first poem I fell in love with and made me emotional and wanting to be a writer was Goethe’s “The Erl-King”. I was about nine years old and was practicing for the school’s poetry competition with other students. I enjoyed being with kids who also loved poetry but hated to stand on the stage alone in front of all those people. I remember this older girl almost literally falling into the classroom, late and in a hurry. Since she had to leave early she came up next. I never heard her recite before… and it was perfect. Her voice was filled with fear, temptation, uncertainty, rush, and agony. I fell in love with her, the poem, and Goethe. I like to go back to this poem which now I know by heart. I love to read other poems and works of his as well, including Faust. Which is also a great read if you’re struggling with understanding life’s meaning, death, human morality, and faith. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Such a beautiful name!) was one of the key figures of the Weimar Classicism the movement coincided with Enlightenment, Sentimentality, Sturm und Drang, and Romanticism. https://asianacircus.com/11-best-poet...

  11. 4 out of 5

    James Violand

    Something is wanting because this is an English translation. Goethe’s poetry is renowned in the original German and a hint of his brilliance shines through. Still, disappointing only because I don’t know German.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julian BLOWER

    wow, lots of really stupid dick jokes and potty humor in this. the rest was good but i need a better selection.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Davidson

    Translations can be very problematic. I don't read Russian, although I can make out the Cyrillic script and pronounce the words. So how do I know whose Russian translations come closest to the original of Gogol? Or Chekhov? To a great extent, I have to rely on the expertise of others. In my opinion, the translator of this volume, John Whaley, is not just exceptional at translating, he is a masterful poet, as well. His scansion and rhymes are perfect and he manages to catch the essence Translations can be very problematic. I don't read Russian, although I can make out the Cyrillic script and pronounce the words. So how do I know whose Russian translations come closest to the original of Gogol? Or Chekhov? To a great extent, I have to rely on the expertise of others. In my opinion, the translator of this volume, John Whaley, is not just exceptional at translating, he is a masterful poet, as well. His scansion and rhymes are perfect and he manages to catch the essence of every poem he tackles. While I am no scholar, and cannot converse in German, my skills are good enough that, with the aid of a dictionary, I can tell how clever he is. In this volume, we are presented with both English and German versions, and both are always a delight to behold. This book deserves far greater recognition than it has. My favourite is “Was auch als warheit oder fabel” (Whether it is truth or fable). I hope that no one will feel intimidated looking at the exquisite original German verse followed by the beautiful English translations.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Bee

    Enjoyed most of these, and nice that the book includes both the English and the German, as well as a wide range of Goethe's work. However, with my own horrible, horrible (like honestly horrible) German I was able to pick out a few changes lost in translation, which is a shame. I always wonder what poems like these would be like if those translating them tried to stick to the original more instead of trying to make it rhyme... I suppose I'll just have to become fluent in order to really appreciat Enjoyed most of these, and nice that the book includes both the English and the German, as well as a wide range of Goethe's work. However, with my own horrible, horrible (like honestly horrible) German I was able to pick out a few changes lost in translation, which is a shame. I always wonder what poems like these would be like if those translating them tried to stick to the original more instead of trying to make it rhyme... I suppose I'll just have to become fluent in order to really appreciate Goethe's talent.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Crown

    Venetian Epigram 50: I always disliked them, all those apostles of freedom; in the last resort each of them was merely seeking licence for himself. If you want to liberate many, then have the courage to be a servant of many; and if you want to know how dangerous that is, just try it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I have kept several favorite quotes from this author in a small book and thought I would enjoy a book of his poetry. However, it was heavy going at times, and I resorted to some skimming, rather than reading word for word.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mugren Ohaly

    A collection of poems listed chronologically to show how Goethe grew as a poet. Although enjoyable, I would've preferred a collection of his best poems.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin von Goethe

    My copy of this book was published in 1888. It was poorly cut when it was bound so many of the pages are still intact and uncut - rendering it unreadable. I hope to get another copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    YAMAMURA Tsukiko

    poetry,Goethe,German,verse

  20. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla

    amazon.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    I don't normally read poetry and I was never a German or Literature major so it's been fun to catch up on the stuff.

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Literary Chick

    Hours of good, clean fun!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Silvi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Fry Beasley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anton

  28. 4 out of 5

    Artemiy Mysovskiy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gattopardo

  30. 5 out of 5

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