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Sunday
Jun102012

Heine, "Die Unbekannte"

A work ("The Stranger") by this German poet.  You can read the original here.

My beauty of the flaxen locks
I meet each day beneath the trees;
Those chestnut trees which line the paths 
Across the Garden Tuileries.

'Tis there she takes her daily stroll 
With two old hags could they be aunts?
Old battle-axes so well disguised,
In ladies' dresses for ladies' jaunts?

Alas, no one can tell me this:
Who she may be, or her first name.
So sick was I to know the truth, 
My friends I asked yet all in vain!

Intimidated by those aunts,
Their whiskers guarding my love near;
Intimidated even more
By my own heart, beset by fear;

I dared not breathe a sighing word,
Nor whisper as our two paths kissed;
I dared not look with sideways glance,
And so betray my fiery bliss.

'Twas but today that I did learn
Her name was Laura – love itself.
Just like the rustic beauty pure,
Loved by the poet on my shelf.

Her name was Laura (now I've come  
As far as Petrarch came – not far):
So celebrated in sonnets soft,
And through canzoni's plaintive bars.

Her name was Laura!  Now I too
Bask in this one word's euphony,
In Petrarch's sweet Platonic love.
No further than this word came he.

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