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Poems of Goethe

GENERAL CONFESSION.

In this noble ring to-day

Let my warning shame ye!
Listen to my solemn voice,--

Seldom does it name ye.
Many a thing have ye intended,

Many a thing have badly ended,
And now I must blame ye.

At some moment in our lives

We must all repent us!
So confess, with pious trust,

All your sins momentous!
Error's crooked pathways shunning.

Let us, on the straight road running,
Honestly content us!

Yes! we've oft, when waking, dream'd,

Let's confess it rightly;
Left undrain'd the brimming cup,

When it sparkled brightly;
Many a shepherd's-hour's soft blisses,

Many a dear mouth's flying kisses
We've neglected lightly.

Mute and silent have we sat,

Whilst the blockheads prated,
And above e'en song divine

Have their babblings rated;
To account we've even call'd us

For the moments that enthrall'd us,
With enjoyment freighted.

If thou'lt absolution grant

To thy true ones ever,
We, to execute thy will,

Ceaseless will endeavour,
From half-measures strive to wean us,

Wholly, fairly, well demean us,
Resting, flagging never.

At all blockheads we'll at once

Let our laugh ring clearly,
And the pearly-foaming wine

Never sip at merely.
Ne'er with eye alone give kisses,

But with boldness suck in blisses
From those lips loved dearly.

                                1803.*