Scorpio: A Self-portrait and a Poem
Name, my Laura, name the whirl-compelling
Bodies to unite in one blest whole–
Name, my Laura, name the wondrous magic
By which soul rejoins its kindred soul!
See! it teaches yonder roving planets
Round the sun to fly in endless race;
And as children play around their mother,
Checkered circles round the orb to trace.
Every rolling star, by thirst tormented,
Drinks with joy its bright and golden rain–
Drinks refreshment from its fiery chalice,
As the limbs are nourished by the brain.
‘Tis through Love that atom pairs with atom,
In a harmony eternal, sure;
And ’tis Love that links the spheres together–
Through her only, systems can endure.
Were she but effaced from Nature’s clockwork,
Into dust would fly the mighty world;
O’er thy systems thou wouldst weep, great Newton,
When with giant force to chaos hurled!
Blot the goddess from the spirit order,
It would sink in death, and ne’er arise.
Were love absent, spring would glad us never;
Were love absent, none their God would prize!
What is that, which, when my Laura kisses,
Dyes my cheek with flames of purple hue,
Bids my bosom bound with swifter motion,
Like a fever wild my veins runs through?
Every nerve from out its barriers rises,
O’er its banks, the blood begins to flow;
Body seeks to join itself to body,
Spirits kindle in one blissful glow.
Powerful as in the dead creations
That eternal impulses obey,
O’er the web Arachne-like of Nature,–
Living Nature,–Love exerts her sway.
Laura, see how joyousness embraces
E’en the overflow of sorrows wild!
How e’en rigid desperation kindles
On the loving breast of Hope so mild.
Sisterly and blissful rapture softens
Gloomy Melancholy’s fearful night,
And, deliver’d of its golden children,
Lo, the eye pours forth its radiance bright!
Does not awful Sympathy rule over
E’en the realms that Evil calls its own?
For ’tis Hell our crimes are ever wooing,
While they bear a grudge ‘gainst Heaven alone!
Shame, Repentance, pair Eumenides-like,
Weave round sin their fearful serpent-coils:
While around the eagle-wings of Greatness
Treach’rous danger winds its dreaded toils.
Ruin oft with Pride is wont to trifle,
Envy upon Fortune loves to cling;
On her brother, Death, with arms extended,
Lust, his sister, oft is wont to spring.
On the wings of Love the future hastens
In the arms of ages past to lie;
And Saturnus, as he onward speeds him,
Long hath sought his bride–Eternity!
Soon Saturnus will his bride discover,–
So the mighty oracle hath said;
Blazing worlds will turn to marriage torches
When Eternity with Time shall wed!
Then a fairer, far more beauteous morning,
Laura, on our love shall also shine,
Long as their blest bridal-night enduring:–
So rejoice thee, Laura–Laura mine!
— By Friedrich Schiller, born November 10, 1759