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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe



(A little before his Death)

O Charlotte! Charlotte! all-accomplished maid,
To whom my heart its homage long has paid;
In whom is center'd all that's good or fair;
Whose smiles attractive, whose enchanting air,
To every heart their influence extend,
And make a lover, where you meant a friend;
Whose ruby lips and melting voice dispense
Mellifluous sounds, with more than manly sense;
Whose waving locks and ivory neck impart
The fairest model for the sculptor's art:
O lovely Charlotte! how shall I controul
The thrilling raptures that possess my soul?
How bid my passion yield to Reason's voice,
When Reason's self must justify my choice?

Yet, tho' thy charms, the source of every joy,
My thoughts by day, my dreams by night employ;
Tho' thy lov'd image, by gay fancy drest,
With more than youthful ardor fires my breast;
Woe to the man that would thy heart beguile,
And that angelic soul with guilt defile!
Who'd dare to violate the nuptial rights,
(That sacred bond which one to one unites.)
I love, but covet not, good Albert's wife,
Nor would destroy, my friend, thy peace for life.

But when at length those blissful realms we gain,
Where no connubial claims our thoughts restrain; {221}
Where selfish, human laws shall cease to bind,
And universal love reigns unconfin'd;
Then, free as air, congenial souls shall meet;
And sex, with holy rapture, sex shall greet:
Then will I snatch dear Charlotte to my arms,
And chastely revel in celestial charms:
Ecstatic bliss shall grosser love succeed,
And Charlotte make that scene -- a heav'n indeed.