Never lonelier than in August:
hour of plenitude—in the country
the red and golden tassels,
but where is your pleasure garden?
Soft skies and sparkling lakes,
the healthy sheen of fields,
but where is the pomp and display
of the empire you represent?
Everything lays claim to happiness,
swaps glances, swaps rings
in wine-breath, in the intoxication of things,
you serve the counterhappiness, the mind.
(Translated by Michael Hofmann)