The Dying Words of Goethe

“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
        And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open:
        Light! more light! before I go.
 
“Softly let the balmy sunshine
        Play around my dying bed,
E’er the dimly lighted valley
        I with lonely feet must tread.
 
“Light! more light! for Death is weaving
        Shadows ‘round my waning sight,
And I fain would gaze upon him
        Through a stream of earthly light.”
 
Not for greater gifts of genius;
        Not for thoughts more grandly bright,
All the dying poet whispers
        Is a prayer for light, more light.
 
Heeds he not the gathered laurels,
        Fading slowly from his sight;
All the poet’s aspirations
        Centre in that prayer for light.
 
Gracious Saviour, when life’s day-dreams
        Melt and vanish from the sight,
May our dim and longing vision
        Then be blessed with light, more light.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.

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