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Penthesilea's Lament
from Penthesilea
by Heinrich von Kleist
(Translated by Humphry Trevelyan)

(Penthesilea has killed her lover.)

So - it was a mistake. Kissing - biting -
Where's the difference? When we truly love
It's easy to do one when we mean the other.
....
Poor man, of all men poorest, you forgive me?
It was a slip - believe me! - The wrong word -
I must control my too impetutous lips.
But now I tell you clearly what I meant:
This, my beloved, this - and nothing more.
(She kisses him)
....
How many a girl, her soft arms fasted entwined
About her man's neck, says that she loves him so
Beyond words she could eat him up for love.
And then, poor fool, when she would prove her words
Sated she is of him - sated almost to loathing.
Now, my beloved, that was not my way.
Why, look: when my soft arms were round thy neck,
I did it word for word; it was no pretending.
I was not quite so mad as they would have it.

 

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