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Poems of Goethe

FAREWELL.

To break one's word is pleasure-fraught,

To do one's duty gives a smart;
While man, alas! will promise nought,

That is repugnant to his heart.

Using some magic strains of yore,

Thou lurest him, when scarcely calm,
On to sweet folly's fragile bark once more,

Renewing, doubling chance of harm.

Why seek to hide thyself from me?

Fly not my sight--be open then!
Known late or early it must be,

And here thou hast thy word again.

My duty is fulfill'd to-day,

No longer will I guard thee from surprise;
But, oh, forgive the friend who from thee turns away,

And to himself for refuge flies!

                                1797.