2016 Fundraiser: We depend on donations from our community to create a safe place for poetry online. This is the one time of year we ask, so thank you for considering a small donation to support our great work. Learn more about our story

Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!

BY JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

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!