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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Ergo Bibamus!

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)

Translation of Edgar Alfred Bowring

FOR a praiseworthy object we’re now gathered here,

So, brethren, sing Ergo bibamus!

Though talk may be hushed, yet the glasses ring clear:

Remember then, Ergo bibamus!

In truth ’tis an old, ’tis an excellent word;

With its sound so befitting each bosom is stirred,

And an echo the festal hall filling is heard,

A glorious Ergo bibamus!

I saw mine own love in her beauty so rare,

And bethought me of Ergo bibamus;

So I gently approached, and she let me stand there,

While I helped myself, thinking, Bibamus!

And when she’s appeared, and will clasp you and kiss,

Or when those embraces and kisses ye miss,

Take refuge, till found is some worthier bliss,

In the comforting Ergo bibamus!

I am called by my fate far away from each friend;

Ye loved ones, then, Ergo bibamus!

With wallet light-laden from hence I must wend,

So double our Ergo bibamus!

Whatever to his treasure the niggard may add,

Yet regard for the joyous will ever be had,

For gladness lends ever its charms to the glad,

So, brethren, sing: Ergo bibamus!

And what shall we say of to-day as it flies?

I thought but of Ergo bibamus!

’Tis one of those truly that seldom arise,

So again and again sing Bibamus!

For joy through a wide-open portal it guides,

Bright glitter the clouds as the curtain divides,

And a form, a divine one, to greet us in glides,

While we thunder our Ergo bibamus.