Lucinde I

See Lucinde, Part II.

From Lucinde by Friedrich Schlegel

Julius to Lucinde

In the holy solitude around me everything was light and color, and a fresh warm breath of life and love touched me, and stirred and murmured in all the branches of the luxuriant grove. I looked, and I delighted in everything at the same time: the vigorous green, the white blossom, and the golden fruit. And so too with the eye of my spirit I saw the one and only and forever beloved in many forms: sometimes as a childlike girl, sometimes as a woman in the full bloom and strength of love and femininity, and sometimes as a worthy mother with her earnest little boy in her arms. I breathed the spring, saw clearly the eternal youthfulness around me, and I said with a smile: “Even if this world is not the best or the most useful, still I know that it is the most beautiful.”

Nothing could have shaken me in this feeling or conviction, neither general doubt nor my own fear. For I believed I was looking deeply into the secrets of nature; I felt that everything lived eternally and that even death was only an amiable deception. But, actually, I didn’t think about it very much — at least I wasn’t particularly disposed to classify and analyze abstract concepts.

Instead I lost myself gladly and deeply in all the comminglings and intertwinings of joy and pain from which come the savor of life and the bloom of feeling, spiritual voluptuousness as well as sensual beatitude. A subtle fire flowed in my veins; what I dreamed of wasn’t just a kiss or the embrace of your arms; it wasn’t just a wish to break the tormenting thorn of yearning and cool the sweet flames in surrender; I didn’t yearn only for your lips or your eyes or your body.

It was, rather, a romantic confusion of all these things, a wonderful mixture of the most various memories and yearnings. All the mysteries of male and female frivolity seemed to hover about me as suddenly your real presence and the gleam of blooming happiness on your face inflamed my lonely self. Wit and rapture alternated between us and became the common pulse of our united life and we embraced each other with as much wantonness as religion.

I begged you that for once you might give yourself completely over to frenzy, and I implored you to be insatiable. Still, I listened with cool composure for every faint sign of bliss, so that not a single trace might escape me and leave a gap in our harmony. I didn’t simply enjoy, but felt and enjoyed the enjoyment itself.

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