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Poems of Goethe

VANITAS! VANITATUM VANITAS!

MY trust in nothing now is placed,

       Hurrah!
So in the world true joy I taste,

       Hurrah!
Then he who would be a comrade of mine
Must rattle his glass, and in chorus combine,
Over these dregs of wine.

I placed my trust in gold and wealth,

       Hurrah!
But then I lost all joy and health,

       Lack-a-day!
Both here and there the money roll'd,
And when I had it here, behold,
From there had fled the gold!

I placed my trust in women next,

       Hurrah!
But there in truth was sorely vex'd,

       Lack-a-day!
The False another portion sought,
The True with tediousness were fraught,
The Best could not be bought.

My trust in travels then I placed,

       Hurrah!
And left my native land in haste.

       Lack-a-day!
But not a single thing seem'd good,
The beds were bad, and strange the food,
And I not understood.

I placed my trust in rank and fame,

       Hurrah!
Another put me straight to shame,

       Lack-a-day!
And as I had been prominent,
All scowl'd upon me as I went,
I found not one content.

I placed my trust in war and fight,

       Hurrah!
We gain'd full many a triumph bright,

       Hurrah!
Into the foeman's land we cross'd,
We put our friends to equal cost,
And there a leg I lost.

My trust is placed in nothing now,

       Hurrah!
At my command the world must bow,

       Hurrah!
And as we've ended feast and strain,
The cup we'll to the bottom drain;
No dregs must there remain!

                                1806.