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Poems of Goethe

THE WEDDING NIGHT.

WITHIN the chamber, far away

From the glad feast, sits Love in dread
Lest guests disturb, in wanton play,

The silence of the bridal bed.
His torch's pale flame serves to gild

The scene with mystic sacred glow;
The room with incense-clouds is fil'd,

That ye may perfect rapture know.

How beats thy heart, when thou dost hear

The chime that warns thy guests to fly!
How glow'st thou for those lips so dear,

That soon are mute, and nought deny!
With her into the holy place

Thou hast'nest then, to perfect all;
The fire the warder's hands embrace,

Grows, like a night-light, dim and small.

How heaves her bosom, and how burns

Her face at every fervent kiss!
Her coldness now to trembling turns,

Thy daring now a duty is.
Love helps thee to undress her fast,

But thou art twice as fast as he;
And then he shuts both eye at last,

With sly and roguish modesty.

                                1767.