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The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/To a Golden Heart He Was Wearing on His Neck


TO A GOLDEN HEART HE WAS WEARING ON HIS NECK.

[Addressed, during the Swiss tour already mentioned, to a present Lili had given him during the time of their happy connection, which was then about to be terminated for ever.]

Thou, of joy that died away, the token
Which as yet I on my neck am wearing,
Longer hold'st us twain, thou mental tie that's broken?
Art thou the length of love's short days repairing?

Flee I, Lili, from thee! Must still, tied to thy fetter,
Like unto a debtor,
Roam in strange lands, through vales and forests darting!
Ah! not so soon could this my heart from
My Lili's heart be parting.

Like a bird that erst did break his string,
And to the wood returns,
He drags of his prison the disgrace,
Still some bit of the string on his trace;
No longer the old bird, once born with freedom's wing;
Has been a slave where'er he turns.