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  • Original Translation

Words of Delusion by Friedrich Schiller

Friedrich Schiller Monument in Frankfurt

Three words hears man of the highest import

Which fly from the mouth of the greatest;

Their sound is lost, the meaning ears abort,

They never console our ailing breast.

The sweetest fruit will forever be lost

So long as we in the mere shadows trust.

As long as he believes the Golden Age

Lay in the brave and noble deeds of yore,

The brave and noble will never assuage

What the foe and treacherous implore.

Unless thou from the ether uproot him,

Upon the earth finds he ever new skin.

As long as he believes that Fortune blooms

Only beneath the pure and noble ray,

Evil’s lush lips will only make her swoon

And earth will never see a peaceful day.

In both such night and day he’ll ceaseless roam

Ever searching for his eternal home.

As long as he believes the truth can stand

‘For the stern logic and the rules of men

Then not the wisest and gentlest hand

Will lift the veil and gain her holy fen.

For thou wilt rapture the soul with but a word,

Though the spirit is not by tempests stirred.

Thus from all these worldly falsehoods be free

And in thy heart let beauty truly glow!

What the ears cannot hear, what eyes can’t see

There lies the truth in its crystalline flow.

It lies not outside on the fools golden shore

It lies in you, from you flows evermore.

Translation © David B. Gosselin

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