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Erotica Romana

Erotica Romana by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
By: (1749-1832)

Also known as the "Roman Elegies," Erotica Romana is von Goethe's literary tribute to human sexuality and eroticism. Written in 24 elegies to emulate classical Roman elegy writers such as Tibullus, Propertius, and Catullus, von Goethe creates a lyrical work of art that has often been subject to censorship.

First Page:

EROTICA ROMANA

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe

I

Here's where I've planted my garden and here I shall care for love's blossoms

As I am taught by my muse, carefully sort them in plots:

Fertile branches, whose product is golden fruit of my lifetime,

Set here in happier years, tended with pleasure today.

You, stand here at my side, good Priapus albeit from thieves I've

Nothing to fear. Freely pluck, whosoever would eat.

Hypocrites, those are the ones! If weakened with shame and bad conscience

One of those criminals comes, squinting out over my garden,

Bridling at nature's pure fruit, punish the knave in his hindparts,

Using the stake which so red rises there at your loins.

II

Tell me ye stones and give me O glorious palaces answer.

Speak O ye streets but one word. Genius, art thou alive?

Yes, here within thy sanctified walls there's a soul in each object,

ROMA eternal. For me, only, are all things yet mute.

Who will then tell me in whispers and where must I find just the window

Where one day she'll be glimpsed: creature who'll scorch me with love?

Can't I divine yet the paths through which over and over

To her and from her I'll go, squandering valuable time?

Visiting churches and palaces, all of the ruins and the pillars,

I, a responsible man, profit from making this trip... Continue reading book >>


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