Performance Video/A Poem by Johann von Goethe “Welcome and Departure” (“Wilkommen und Abschied”)

In 1770-1771 Goethe, twenty-one years old, lived in Strasbourg as a law student. He had recently recovered from a near fatal illness, and in the flush of recovery he came to an understanding of his poetic genius.

This is a famous love poem that originated at that time of recovery and self-discovery.

“The substitution of literature for religion as the medium of Goethe’s self-understanding was achieved in 1770-1771 . . .”

— Nicholas Boyle, Goethe: The Poet and the Age, Vol. 1

In the video, Marion reads the poem in German, and the English translation appears while she speaks the lines. The music is by Catalan composer Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839). Translation © Bruce Donehower, 2021.