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Night Thoughts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Analysis

"Night Thoughts" is a poem by Goethe that speaks about how he pities the stars because no matter how beautiful they are and how much they help us, they cannot feel love and when we are with our love, nothing else matters and we forget the stars even exist.

"Night Thoughts" is a love poem that consists of only one stanza with ten lines. It is unrhymed.

Poem

Night Thoughts
By 

Stars, you are unfortunate, I pity you, 
Beautiful as you are, shining in your glory, 
Who guide seafaring men through stress and peril 
And have no recompense from gods or mortals, 
Love you do not, nor do you know what love is. 
Hours that are aeons urgently conducting
Your figures in a dance through the vast heaven, 
What journey have you ended in this moment, 
Since lingering in the arms of my beloved 
I lost all memory of you and midnight.

Written in 1789.

The original German text is found below.

Nachtgedanken


Euch bedaur' ich, unglücksel'ge Sterne,
Die ihr schön seid und so herrlich scheinet,
Dem bedrängten Schiffer gerne leuchtet,
Unbelohnt von Göttern und von Menschen:
Denn ihr liebt nicht, kanntet nie die Liebe!
Unaufhaltsam führen ew'ge Stunden
Eure Reihen durch den weiten Himmel.
Welche Reise habt ihr schon vollendet,
Seit ich, weilend in dem Arm der Liebsten,
Euer und der Mitternacht vergessen.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Next: Prometheus
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Nationality
German

Literary Movement
Weimar Classicism, 18th Century

Subjects
Night, Beauty, Love, Stars