J. W. GOETHE poem: PROMETHEUS Text translated in ENGLISH eng




Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



(Poem translated into English)




“Prometheus” is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in which the character of the mythic Prometheus addresses God (as Zeus).

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the poem “Prometheus” puts the accent on the loneliness that characterizes the human condition towards the divinity and how man in his daily struggle does not feel the need for a divine figure. Dialogue with divinity is characterized by a polemical tone.

Prometheus is the creative and rebellious spirit which, rejected by God, angrily defies him and asserts itself;

In the following poem by Goethe: Ganymede is the boyish self which is adored and seduced by God.
The two Poems: Prometheus and Ganymede, can be understood as connected. Prometheus is the lone defiant, Ganymede the yielding acolyte. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe presents both identities as aspects or forms of the human condition.

The poem “Prometheus” by Goethe was written between 1772 and 1774. Prometheus by Goethe was planned as a drama but not completed, but this poem draws upon it.


Below the poem by J. W. Goethe: “Prometheus”,  full text traslated into English language.

Here you can find the poem by Johann Wolfgang Goethe: “Prometheus” in the original German language.

In the menu above or to the side you can find the text of the poem by J. W. Goethe: “Prometheus” translated or collected by yeyebook.com in other languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish and Chinese.


Prometheus, who had given fire to men, took sides in favor of mankind against Zeus

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


(Text of poem translated into English)




Cover Your heavens, Zeus,

With cloud vapor

And try Your strike, as a boy

Beheading thistles,

Against oaken tree and mountain height;



You still must leave me

My Earth standing

And my hut which You did not build,

And my hearth, home’s glowing

Fire which You begrudge me.



I know of nothing poorer

Under the sun than You gods!



Indigently You feed

Your majesty

On proffered sacrifice

And breathfuls of prayer.

You would starve to naught

If children and beggars

Were not such fools full of hope.



When I was a child

That knew not its way in the world

I would lift my deluded eyes

To the sun as though out beyond it

There were an ear to hear my complaints

A heart like mine

That would take pity on my oppression.



Who came to my aid

Against the Titans’ and their insolent rage?

Who delivered me from death,

From slavery?



Was it not you, sacred heart ablaze,

Who achieved it all?

And, swindled in your youth and good will,

Did you not glow, with thanks fit for a Savior,

For that mere Sleeper on high?


I should honor You? For what? 


Did You ever gentle The ache of my burden?

Did You ever dry The tears of tribulation?



Was I not forged to manhood

By Time Almighty

And Eternal Destiny,

My masters and Yours?



Perhaps You believed

I should find life hateful,

And flee to the wilderness

Because not all my blossom-dreams

Reached ripeness?



Here I sit, fashioning men

In my own image,


A race after my likeness,

A race that will suffer and weep,

And rejoice and delight with heads held high


And heed Your will no more

Than I!



Prometheus – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(Translated by A.Z. Foreman)




Oskar Werner reads Prometheus by Goethe – with English subtitles




Johann Wolfgang Goethe

All the poems






Johann Wolfgang Goethe







Video Prometheus, words by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774)
Setting by Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf (Composed, 1889)

Performers: Friedrich Schorr, bass-baritone Robert Heger, London symphony Orchestra
(Recorded 28th May, 1932, Abbey Road Studios, London)






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