“Is [he] come? O how near is [he]?
How far yet from this friendly place?
How many steps from me?
When shall I [him] embrace?
These armes I’ll spread, which
only at (his) sight shall close,
Attending, as the starry flower that the sun’s noone-tide knowes.”
Campion termed his verses Light Conceits of Lovers. It is difficult to weigh Bettina’s fancies, for she has, as it were, taken the scales with her when she closed the Correspondence: but it is only just to say of her Letters, that they realize, as a whole, Tasso’s description of the permanent state of the true lover: “Brama assai, poco spera e nulla chiede” (Desire much, hope little and nothing demand).
GOETHE’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH A CHILD (1835)
BY BETTINA VON ARNIM TRANSLATED BY WALLACE SMITH MURRAY
LETTERS TO GOETHE’S MOTHER
May 11, 1807.
Dear Frau Rat:
I have been lying in bed for some time, but shall get up now to write you all about our trip. I wrote you that we passed through the military lines in male attire. Just before we reached the city gate my brother-in-law made us get out, because he wanted to see how becoming the clothes were. Lulu looked very well in them, for she has a splendid figure and the fit was perfect, whereas all my clothes were too loose and too long and looked as if I had bought them at a rag fair. My brother-in-law laughed at me and said I looked like a Savoyard boy and could be of great service to them. The coachman had driven us off the road through a forest, and when we came to a cross-road he didn’t know which way to turn. Although it was only the beginning of the four weeks’ trip, I was afraid we might get lost and then arrive in Weimar too late. I climbed up the highest pine and soon saw where the main road lay. I made the whole trip on the driver’s box, with a fox-skin cap on my head and the brush hanging down my back. Whenever we arrived at a station, I would unharness the horses and help hitch up the fresh ones, and would speak broken German with the postilions as though I were a Frenchman. At first we had beautiful weather, just as though spring were coming; but soon it turned very cold and wintry. We passed through a forest of huge pines and firs all covered with frost; everything was spotless, for not a soul had driven along the road, which was absolutely white. Moreover the moon shone upon this deserted paradise of silver; a death-like stillness reigned-only the wheels creaked from the cold. I sat up on the box and wasn’t a bit cold; winter weather strikes sparks from me! Along toward midnight we heard some one whistling in the forest. My brother-in-law handed me a pistol out of the carriage and asked whether I should have the courage to shoot in case robbers came along. I said “Yes,”