Who tells you so? For this the gods be sponsors.
We never speak of them, but in your folly
You think they help you; without go-betweens
They never came to you: you dawn, you die–
Whose thing you are in truth, you never learn.
Soon you will have no space for shameless sport.
Soon whom you spurn without, you call within.
You poisonous monster with the crooked mouth,
Despite your twisted shape, you are too kindred
To ours, or else my dart would strike you now.
The beast is void of shame, the man of thanks.
With all contrivances you never learn
What most you need ... but we in silence serve.
This only: slaying us, you slay yourselves.
Where we have trailed our shag, there spurts the milk,
Where we withheld our hooves, there grows no grass.
Your mind alone at work–and long ago
Your kind had been destroyed and all it does.
Your field would lie unsown and dry your brake…
Only by magic, Life is kept awake.
Source of English translation: Stefan George, Poems, translated by Carol North Valhope and Ernst Morwitz. New York: Pantheon Books, 1943, pp. 221-25.
Source of original German text: Stefan George, Das neue Reich. Gesamt-Ausgabe der Werke, Volume 9. Berlin: Georg Bondi, Endgültige Fassung, 1928, pp. 71-77