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Translation From Schiller: The Diver
by [?]

He comes; they surround him with shouts of glee;
At the king’s feet he sinks on the sod,
And hands him the beaker upon his knee.
To his lovely daughter the king gives a nod:
She fills it brim-full of wine sparkling and raying;
And then to the monarch the youth turned, saying:

“Long live the king!–Ah, well doth he fare
Who breathes in this rosy light!
For frightful, yea, horrible is it down there;
And man ought not to tempt the heavenly Might,
Or long to see, with prying unwholesome,
What He graciously covers with darkness dolesome!

“It tore me down as on lightning’s wing–
When a shaft in a rock outpours,
Wild-rushing against me, a torrent spring:
Its conflict seized me with raging force
And like a top, with giddy twisting,
Spun me about: there was no resisting!

“Then God did show me, sore beseeching
In deepest, frightfullest need,
Up from the bottom a rock-ledge reaching–
At it I caught, and from death was freed!
And behold, on spiked corals the beaker suspended
Which had else to the very abyss descended!

“For below me it lay yet mountain-deep
The purply darksome maw!
And, though to the ear it was dead asleep,
The ghasted eye, down staring, saw
How, with dragons, lizards, salamanders, crawling,
The hell-jaws horrible were sprawling!

“Black-swarming, in medley miscreate,
In masses lumped hideously,
Wallowed the conger, the thorny skate,
The lobster’s grisly deformity;
And, baring its teeth with cruel sheen, a
Terrible shark, the sea’s hyena.

“So there I hung, and shuddering knew
That human help was none;
One thinking soul mid the horrid crew,
In the ghastly desert I was alone–
Deeper than human speech e’er sounded,
By the sad waste’s dismal monsters surrounded!

“Thus thought I, and shivered. Then a something crept near
Upon legs with a hundred joints!
It snaps at me suddenly: frantic with fear
I lost my grasp of the coral points:
Away the whirl in its raging tore me–
But it was my salvation, and upward bore me!”

The king at the tale is filled with amaze:–
“The beaker, well won, is thine;
And this ring I will give thee too,” he says,
“Precious with gems that are more than fine,
If thou dare it yet once, and bring me the story
Of what’s in the sea’s lowest repertory.”

His daughter she hears him with tender dismay,
And with sweet words suasive doth plead:
“Father, enough of this cruel play!
For you he has done an unheard-of deed!
If you may not master your heart’s desire,
‘Tis the knights’ turn now to shame the squire!”

The king sudden snatches and hurls the cup
Into the swirling pool:–
“If thou bring me once more that beaker up,
Thou art best of my knights, the most worshipful!
And this very day to thy home thou shalt lead her
Who stands there–for thee such a pitiful pleader.”

A passion divine his being invades;
His eyes dart a lightning ray;
He sees of her blushes the changeful shades,
He sees her grow pallid and sink away!
Determination thorough him flashes,
And downward for life or for death he dashes!

They hear the dull roar: ’tis returning again,
Announced by the thunderous brawl!
Downward they bend with loving strain:
They come! they are coming, the waters all!–
They rush up!–they rush down! they rush ever and ever:
The youth to the daylight rises never!