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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Poems
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THE MAID OF THE MILL'S REPENTANCE. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

AWAY, thou swarthy witch! Go forth

From out my house, I tell thee!
Or else I needs must, in my wrath,

Expel thee!
What's this thou singest so falsely, forsooth,
Of love and a maiden's silent truth?

Who'll trust to such a story!


I sing of a maid's repentant fears,

And long and bitter yearning;
Her levity's changed to truth and tears

She dreads no more the threats of her mother,
She dreads far less the blows of her brother,

Than the dearly loved-one's hatred.


Of selfishness sing and treacherous lies,

Of murder and thievish plunder!
Such actions false will cause no surprise,

Or wonder.
When they share their booty, both clothes and purse,--
As bad as you gipsies, and even worse,

Such tales find ready credence.


"Alas, alas! oh what have I done?

Can listening aught avail me?
I hear him toward my room hasten on,

To hail me.
My heart beat high, to myself I said:
'O would that thou hadst never betray'd

That night of love to thy mother!'"


Alas! I foolishly ventured there,

For the cheating silence misled me;
Ah, sweetest! let me to thee repair,--

Nor dread me!
When suddenly rose a fearful din,
Her mad relations came pouring in.

My blood still boils in my body!


"Oh when will return an hour like this?

I pine in silent sadness;
I've thrown away my only true bliss

With madness.
Alas, poor maid! O pity my youth!
My brother was then full cruel in troth

To treat the loved one so basely!"


The swarthy woman then went inside,

To the spring in the courtyard yonder;
Her eyes from their stain she purified,

Her face and eyes were radiant and bright,
And the maid of the mill was disclosed to the sight

Of the startled and angry stripling!


Thou sweetest, fairest, dearly-loved life!

Before thine anger I cower;
But blows I dread not, nor sharp-edged knife,--

This hour
Of sorrow and love to thee I'll sing,
And myself before thy feet I'll fling,

And either live or die there!


Affection, say, why buried so deep

In my heart hast thou lain hidden?
By whom hast thou now to awake from thy sleep

Been bidden?
Ah love, that thou art immortal I see!
Nor knavish cunning nor treachery

Can destroy thy life so godlike.


If still with as fond and heartfelt love,

As thou once didst swear, I'm cherish'd,
Then nought of the rapture we used to prove

Is perish'd.
So take the woman so dear to thy breast!
In her young and innocent charms be blest,

For all are thine from henceforward!


Now, sun, sink to rest! Now, sun, arise!

Ye stars, be now shining, now darkling!
A star of love now gleams in the skies,

As long as the fountain may spring and run,
So long will we two be blended in one,

Upon each other's bosoms!

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