Marienbad Elegy

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The "Marienbad Elegy" is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


This poem, considered one of Goethe's finest and most personal,[1][2][3] reflects the devastating sadness the poet felt when Baroness Ulrike von Levetzow declined his proposal (Goethe did not propose to her personally, but via a friend, Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach). Goethe was 73 years old, she was 18. He started writing the poem on 5 September 1823 in a coach which carried him from Eger (now called Cheb) to Weimar and by his arrival on 12 September, it was finished. He showed it only to his closest friends.[4]

To me is all, I to myself am lost,
Who the immortals' fav'rite erst was thought;
They, tempting, sent Pandoras to my cost,
So rich in wealth, with danger far more fraught;
They urged me to those lips, with rapture crown'd,
Deserted me, and hurl'd me to the ground.
— Goethe, Marienbad Elegy, the last stanza, translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring

Goethe never returned to Bohemia again. He died in Weimar in 1832.


  1. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Goethe". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. 
  2. ^ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Stanley (1999). 103 Great Poems: A Dual-language Book. Translated by Appelbaum. Courier Corporation. p. xxiv. ISBN 0486406679. 'Marienbad Elegy' [...] has been called Goethe's greatest poem. 
  3. ^ Goethe Archived 2008-08-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Goethe's third summer, in Czech

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