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Lover in All Shapes
by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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To be like a fish,
Brisk and quick, is my wish;
If thou cam'st with thy line.
Thou wouldst soon make me thine.
To be like a fish,
Brisk and quick, is my wish.

Oh, were I a steed!
Thou wouldst love me indeed.
Oh, were I a car
Fit to bear thee afar!
Oh, were I a steed!
Thou wouldst love me indeed.

I would I were gold
That thy fingers might hold!
If thou boughtest aught then,
I'd return soon again.
I would I were gold
That thy fingers might hold!

I would I were true,
And my sweetheart still new!
To be faithful I'd swear,
And would go away ne'er.
I would I were true,
And my sweetheart still new!

I would I were old,
And wrinkled and cold,
So that if thou said'st No,
I could stand such a blow!
I would I were old,
And wrinkled and cold.

An ape I would be,
Full of mischievous glee;
If aught came to vex thee,
I'd plague and perplex thee.
An ape I would be,
Full of mischievous glee

As a lamb I'd behave,
As a lion be brave,
As a lynx clearly see,
As a fox cunning be.
As a lamb I'd behave,
As a lion be brave.

Whatever I were,
All on thee I'd confer;
With the gifts of a prince
My affection evince.
Whatever I were,
All on thee I'd confer.

As nought diff'rent can make me,
As I am thou must take me!
If I'm not good enough,
Thou must cut thine own stuff.
As nought diff'rent can make me,
As I am thou must take me!

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, artist, lawyer, philosopher, and scientist whose ideas and accomplishments have been a major source of influence and inspiration for generations. Johann’s first love was drawing and his second love was literature, but his talents extended to scientific, mathmatical, and philosophical realms as well. His novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, is considered the world’s first "bestseller," though his subsequent work, Faust, is the better known today.

 

 


Post New Comment:
Richard Greene:
In response to Ross Knightly, the original was just as frisky. Here it is in German. Liebhaber in allen Gestalten Ich wollt', ich wär' ein Fisch, So hurtig und frisch. Und kämst Du zu angeln, Ich würde nicht mangeln. Ich wollt', ich wär' ein Fisch, So hurtig und frisch. Ich wollt', ich wär' ein Pferd, Da wär' ich dir wert. O wär' ich ein Wagen, Bequem dich zu tragen. Ich wollt', ich wär' ein Pferd, Da wär' ich dir wert. Ich wollt', ich wäre Gold, Dir immer im Sold; Und tätst Du was kaufen, Käm' ich wieder gelaufen. Ich wollt', ich wäre Gold, Dir immer im Sold. Ich wollt', ich wär' treu, Mein Liebchen stets neu. Ich wollt' mich verheißen, Wollt' nimmer verreisen. Ich wollt', ich wär' treu, Mein Liebchen stets neu. Ich wollt', ich wär' alt Und runzlig und kalt; Tätst Du mir's versagen, Da könnt' mich's nicht plagen. Ich wollt', ich wär' alt Und runzlig und kalt. Wär' ich Affe sogleich Voll neckender Streich'; Hätt' was Dich verdrossen, So macht' ich Dir Possen. Wär' ich Affe sogleich Voll neckender Streich'. Wär' ich gut wie ein Schaf, Wie der Löwe so brav; Hätt' Augen wie's Lüchschen Und Listen wie's Füchschen. Wär' ich gut wie ein Schaf, Wie der Löwe so brav. Was alles ich wär', Das gönnt' ich Dir sehr; Mit fürstlichen Gaben, Du solltest mich haben. Was alles ich wär', Das gönnt' ich Dir sehr. Doch bin ich, wie ich bin, Und nimm mich nur hin! Willst Du bessre besitzen, So lass Dir sie schnitzen. Ich bin nun, wie ich bin, So nimm mich nur hin!
Posted 02/07/2014 06:20 AM
Richard Greene:
It's interesting that Goethe, who was a very serious fellow, wrote such a playful poem. It shows the breadth of his genius.
Posted 02/07/2014 06:16 AM
david H. Rosen:
David H. Rosen: Goethe is one of my favorites. As an undergrad. at UC Berkeley, I read "The Sorrows of Young Werther" in German in a German Literature class. It influenced me and helped me in my research involving survivors of leaps off the Golden Gate Bridge. "Egocide and transformation" allows the suicidal ego/self to die, but the person to live. See "Transforming Depression:Healing the Soul Through Creativity." Bless Goethe.
Posted 02/07/2014 05:48 AM
Dorcas:
Would that we could only understand the shapes that love and devotion come in and not shun strange appearances. I love this poem.
Posted 02/06/2014 12:57 PM
KevinArnold:
Why do the old greats always seem so modern? They tap into the timeless human conditions; in this case being desirous--and they do not flinch from the enormity of it. An ape I would be / Full of mischievous glee.
Posted 02/06/2014 09:25 AM
Ross Kightly:
I wonder if this lovely poem comes across quite as frisky in the original German? Goethe certainly got about a bit if I remember German 1B at Uni in 1963. Only a couple of years ago....
Posted 02/06/2014 04:08 AM


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