Ode to Joy
by Evans Yonson
Barcelona – While walking the main thoroughfare of Copenhagen’s famous promenade, a sweet violin sound caught my attention. The musician was playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. It’s one of those popular Beethoven masterpieces that make you stop, listen and feel so relaxed after. This piece is related to Symphony No. 9 and has been made popular in movies like the Die Hard series and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Such music conveys connection among its listeners. The violinist then involves his audience by heartily playing Ode to Joy.
Originally, the Ode to Joy is a German ode written by Friedrich von Schiller in 1785 celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all. Below is the English-translated ode of Schiller.
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, daughter from Elysium, we, drunk with fire, step into your holy shrine, Heavenly One. Your magic binds together again that which custom has rigidly divided: all human beings become brothers wherever your gentle wing is. Be embraced, millions! This kiss is for the whole world! Brothers, over the starry canopy there must be a loving Father dwelling. Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt to be a friend to a friend, whoever has won a dear wife, may he mix in his rejoicing! Yes, whoever can call even only one soul his on the round earth! And whoever never could, let him leave secretly, weeping, from this union. Whatever inhabits the great Circle, may it honor sympathy! It [sympathy] leads to the stars, where the Unknown is enthroned. All beings drink Joy at the breast of Nature; all good [beings], all evil [ones] follow her rosy trail. She gave us kisses and grapes, gave us] a friend, tested by death itself. Delight was given even to the worm, and the angel stands before God. Are you falling down, Millions? Do you perceive your Creator, World? Seek him above the starry canopy! He must be dwelling above the stars. Joy is the powerful spring in eternal Nature. Joy, joy drives the wheels in the great watch of the worlds. It entices flowers from the sprouts, suns from the universe, rolls spheres in spaces that the telescope cannot see. Happily, as His suns fly through the glorious plane of Heaven, go, brothers, your way, happily, like a hero going to victory. Out of the fiery mirror of Truth it [joy] smiles at the researcher. Toward the steep hill of Virtue it leads the path of the patient one. On the sunny mountains of Faith one can see its banners waving, through the cleft in sprung coffins one can see it standing in the angel choir. Wait courageously, Millions! Wait for the better world! Up yonder over the starry canopy a great God will repay you. One cannot repay the gods; It is beautiful to be like them. agony and poverty should come forward, rejoice with those who are happy. May complaint and revenge be forgotten, may our mortal enemy be forgiven. No tear should pressure him, no repentance gnaw at him, may our book of debts be obliterated! Reconciled the whole world! Brothers- over the starry canopy judges God, just as we judge. Joy bubbles in the beakers; in the golden blood of the grape cannibals drink mildness, despair drinks heroic courage. Brothers, fly up from your seats when the full wineglass passes around, let the foam spray to the sky: this glass to the good Spirit! The one whom the stars' whirling lauds, whom the seraphs' hymn praises-- this glass to the good Spirit up there above the starry canopy! Firm courage in heavy sorrows, help, where innocence weeps, eternity to sworn vows, truth toward friend and foe, manly pride before royal thrones, brothers, even risking property and life-- let merit be crowned, downfall to the breed of liars! Close the sacred circle tighter, swear by this golden wine, to be true to what is sworn, swear it by the judge of stars!