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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/The Visit

For works with similar titles, see The Visit.


THE VISIT.

To-day I thought to steal upon my darling,
But the door was closed of her apartments.
Of a key, however, I am master;
Noislessly I glide within the doorway.

In the salon found I not the maiden,
Found the maiden not within the parlour,
But on tiptoe entering her chamber,
There I find her, sunk in graceful slumber,
In her robes, upon the sofa lying.
At her work had slumber overtaken her;
And the netting, with the needles, rested
'Twixt the fair hands that hung crosswise folded.
Silently I sate me down beside her,
And awhile I mused if I should wake her.
Awed me then the peace so sweet and holy,
Which upon her drooping eyelids rested:
On her lips abode a trustful quiet,
Beauty on her cheeks, the home of beauty;
And the tranquil movement of her bosom
Showed how innocent the heart that moved it.
All her limbs, so gracefully reposing,
Lay relaxed by sleep's delicious balsam:
There I sat enraptured, and the vision
Curbed the impulse I had felt to wake her,
With a spell that close and closer bound me.

"O my love," I murmured, "and can slumber,
Which unmasks whate'er is false and formal,
Can he injure thee not, nor unravel
Aught to shake thy lover's fondest fancy?

"Thy dear eyes are closed, those eyes so tender—
Eyes, which only lifted are enchantment,
Those sweet lips, oh, lips so sweet they stir not,
Stir not nor for speech, nor yet for kisses!
All unloosened is the magic cincture
Of thine arms, that otherwhiles enclasp me,
And the hand, the dainty sweet companion
Of all best endearments, void of motion.
Were my thoughts of thee delusion merely—
Were my love for thee but self-deception,
I must now discern the truth, when Amor
Stands beside me thus, with eyes unbandaged."

Long while thus I sat, with heart elated,
Thinking of her worth and my devotion;
Sleeping, she with rapture so had filled me,
That I did not venture to awake her.

Placing softly down upon her table
Two pomegranates and two half-blown rosebuds,
Gently, gently, glide I from the chamber.
When she opes her eyes, my own heart's darling,
And they rest upon my gift, with wonder
Will she muse, how such fine token ever
There should be, and yet her door unopened.

When to-night again I see my angel,
Oh, how she will joy, and twofold pay me,
For this tribute of my heart's devotion!