A short film made by two Harvard students in history of science:
Ginkgo Biloba (Goethe)
Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Giebt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
Wie’s den Wissenden erbaut,
Ist es Ein lebendig Wesen,
Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?
Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,
Daß man sie als Eines kennt?
Solche Frage zu erwiedern,
Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn,
Fühlst du nicht an meinen Liedern,
Daß ich Eins und doppelt bin?
Rough english translation:
This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.
Is it a living being,
Which has separated in itself?
Or are these two, who chose
To be recognized as one?
Answering this kind of question,
Haven’t I found the proper meaning,
Don’t you feel in my songs,
That I’m one and double?
The letter containing this poem with which Goethe included two Ginkgo leaves can be viewed in the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf. The Ginkgo, planted in 1795, that Goethe lead Marianne von Willemer to in September 1815, is no longer standing today. Since 1928 the Ginkgo tree in the castle garden was labelled that it was “the same tree that inspired Goethe to create his fine poem”. The tree was probably still standing in 1936.