The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/General Confession


In this noble ring to-day
Let my warning shame ye!
Listen to my solemn voice,—
Seldom does it name ye.
Many a thing have ye intended,
Many a thing have badly ended,
And now I must blame ye.

At some moment in our lives
We must all repent us!
So confess, with pious trust,
All your sins momentous!
Error's crooked pathways shunning,
Let us, on the straight road running,
Honestly content us!

Yes! we've oft, when waking, dreamed
Let's confess it rightly;
Left undrained the brimming cup,
When it sparkled brightly;
Many a shepherd's-hour's soft blisses,
Many a dear mouth's flying kisses
We've neglected lightly.

Mute and silent have we sat,
Whilst the blockheads prated,
And above e'en song divine
Have their babblings rated;
To account we've even called us
For the moments that enthralled us
With enjoyment freighted.

If thou'lt absolution grant
To thy true ones ever,
We, to execute thy will,
Ceaseless will endeavour,
From half-measures strive to wean us,
Wholly, fairly, well demean us,
Resting, flagging never.

At all blockheads we'll at once
Let our laugh ring clearly,
And the pearly-foaming wine
Never sip at merely.
Ne'er with eye alone give kisses.
But with boldness suck in blisses
From those lips loved dearly.