And his beloved upheld. She gently sank on his shoulder;
Breast was pressed against breast, and cheek against cheek. Thus he
Fixed as a marble statue, the force of will keeping him steadfast,
Drew her not to him more closely, but braced himself under her pressure.
Thus he the glorious burden felt, the warmth of her bosom,
And the perfume of her breath, that over his lips was exhaling;
Bore with the heart of a man the majestic form of the woman.
But she with playfulness said, concealing the pain
that she suffered:
“That is a sign of misfortune, so timorous persons would tell us,
When on approaching a house we stumble not far from the threshold;
And for myself, I confess, I could wish for a happier omen.
Let us here linger awhile that thy parents may not have to blame thee,
Seeing a limping maid, and thou seem an incompetent landlord.”
Muses, O ye who the course of true love so willingly
Ye who thus far on his way the excellent youth have conducted,
Even before the betrothal have pressed to his bosom the maiden;
Further your aid vouchsafe this charming pair in uniting,
Straightway dispersing the clouds which over their happiness lower!
Yet first of all declare what is passing meanwhile at the Lion.
Now for the third time again the mother impatient had entered
Where were assembled the men, whom anxious but now she had quitted;
Spoke of the gathering storm, and the moonlight’s rapid obscuring;
Then of her son’s late tarrying abroad and the dangers of nightfall;
Sharply upbraided her friends that without having speech of the maiden,
And without urging his suit, they had parted from Hermann so early.
“Make it not worse than it is,” the father
replied with displeasure.
“For, as thou seest, we tarry ourselves and are waiting the issue.”
Calmly, however, from where he was sitting the neighbor
“Never in hours of disquiet like this do I fail to be grateful
Unto my late, blessed father, who every root of impatience
Tore from my heart when a child, and left no fibre remaining;
So that I learned on the instant to wait as do none of your sages.”
“Tell us,” the pastor returned, “what legerdemain he made use of.”
“That will I gladly relate, for all may draw from it a lesson;”
So made the neighbor reply. “When a boy I once stood of a Sunday
Full of impatience, and looking with eagerness out for the carriage
Which was to carry us forth to the spring that lies under the lindens.
Still the coach came not. I ran, like a weasel, now hither, now thither,
Up stairs and down, and forward and back, ’twixt the door and the window;
Even my fingers itched to be moving; I scratched on