Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)

An Ode to Joy

Joy, thou beauteous godly lightning,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent'ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!
Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom's sword divide,
Beggars are a prince's brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Be embrac'd, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers--o'er the stars unfurl'd
Must reside a loving father.

Who the noble prize achieveth,
Good friend of a friend to be;
Who a lovely wife attaineth,
Join us in his jubilee!
Yes--he too who but one being
On this earth can call his own!
He who ne'er was able, weeping
Stealeth from this league alone!

He who in the great ring dwelleth,
Homage pays to sympathy!
To the stars above leads she,
Where on high the Unknown reigneth.

Joy is drunk by every being
From kind nature's flowing breasts,
Every evil, every good thing
For her rosy footprint quests.
Gave she us both wines and kisses,
In the face of death, a friend,
To the worm were given blisses
And the Cherubs God attend.

Fall before him, all ye millions?
Know'st thou the Creator, world?
Seek above the stars unfurl'd,
Yonder dwells He in the heavens.

Joy commands the hardy mainspring
Of the universe eterne.
Joy, oh joy the wheel is driving
Which the worlds' great clock doth turn.
Flowers from the buds she coaxes,
Suns from out the hyaline,
Spheres she rotates through expanses,
Which the seer can't divine.

As the suns are flying, happy
Through the heaven's glorious plane,
Travel, brothers, down your lane,
Joyful as in hero's vict'ry.

From the truth's own fiery mirror
On the searcher doth she smile.
Up the steep incline of honor
Guideth she the suff'rer's mile.
High upon faith's sunlit mountains
One can see her banner flies,
Through the breach of open'd coffins
She in angel's choir doth rise.

Suffer on courageous millions!
Suffer for a better world!
O'er the tent of stars unfurl'd
God rewards you from the heavens.

Gods can never be requited,
Beauteous 'tis, their like to be.
Grief and want shall be reported,
So to cheer with gaiety.
Hate and vengeance be forgotten,
Pardon'd be our mortal foe
Not a teardrop shall him dampen,
No repentance bring him low.

Let our book of debts be cancell'd!
Reconcile the total world!
Brothers--o'er the stars unfurl'd
God doth judge, as we have settl'd.

Joy doth bubble from this rummer,
From the golden blood of grape
Cannibals imbibe good temper,
Weak of heart their courage take-
Brothers, fly up from thy places,
When the brimming cup doth pass,
Let the foam shoot up in spaces:
To the goodly Soul this glass!

Whom the crown of stars doth honor,
Whom the hymns of Seraphs bless,
To the goodly Soul this glass
O'er the tent of stars up yonder!

Courage firm in grievous trial,
Help, where innocence doth scream,
Oaths which sworn to are eternal,
Truth to friend and foe the same,
Manly pride 'fore kingly power-
Brothers, cost it life and blood,-
Honor to whom merits honor,
Ruin to the lying brood!

Closer draw the holy circle,
Swear it by this golden wine,
Faithful to the vow divine,
Swear it by the Judge celestial!

Rescue from the tyrant's fetters,
Mercy to the villain e'en,
Hope within the dying hours,
Pardon at the guillotine!
E'en the dead shall live in heaven!
Brothers, drink and all agree,
Every sin shall be forgiven,
Hell forever cease to be.

A serene departing hour!
Pleasant sleep beneath the pall!
Brothers--gentle words for all
Doth the Judge of mortals utter!


Definitions

Cherubs - n. pl. Second-order angels; defenders of the faith.
Elysium -
n. Final resting place; condition of true happiness.
eterne -
adj. Eternal or everlasting.
fetters -
n. pl. Shackles, chains, or restraints.
hyaline -  n. Something transparent or translucent; ether.
pall -  n. A cloak or cover.
rummer -
n. A drinking glass.
Seraphs -
n. pl. First-order angels with 3 pairs of wings.

 

from: http://www.arts.adelaide.edu.au/personal/DHart/ETexts/Liberalism/Schiller/OdeToFreedom.html - 15.3.2002