Here Moerike comes close to seeing love as an image of the crucified Christ, bound at a stake. Peregrina has become
the holy figure, the nun who for a short time braved the storm, abandoned her calling and took part in a worldly love,
which she now regrets.
Suffering has transformed disappointed love and made it beautiful; beauty has made it desirable and the lover is
prepared to accept it with all its obstacles if it would only return.
In his mind's eye he sees the beloved once again but cannot bear the sight. As in the first poem it is her face that
betrays her. Is he now reading her eyes with the true meaning they express? Is this her true nature — untamed,
ambivalent, unstable, volatile — or is it a nature rooted in a spiritual love?
Die Liebe, sagt man, steht am Pfahl gebunden,
Geht endlich arm, zerruettet, unbeschuht;
Dies edle Haupt hat nicht mehr, wo es ruht,
Mit Traenen netzet sie der Fuesse Wunden.
Ach, Peregrinen hab ich so gefunden!
Schoen war ihr Wahnsinn, ihrer Wange Glut,
Noch scherzend in der Fruehlingsstürme Wut
Und wilde Kraenze in das Haar gewunden.
Wars moeglich, solche Schoenheit zu verlassen?
—So kehrt nur reizender das alte Glueck!
O komm, in diese Arme dich zu fassen!
Doch weh! o weh! was soll mir dieser Blick?
Sie kuesst mich zwischen Lieben noch und Hassen,
Sie kehrt sich ab und kehrt mir nie zurueck.
Eduard Moerike 1828
Love, they say, stands bound at the stake
In the end walks ragged, shoeless and poor,
The noble soul with no place to rest her head,
With tears she wets her wounded feet.
Ah, such was the Peregrina I found!
Beautiful her madness, her glowing cheeks,
Playful even in the seething storms of spring
Her locks with wild garlands wound.
Was it possible to abandon such beauty?
—The old joy returns even more seductive now!
O come, let these arms of mine enfold you!
Woe is me! Woe! What means her glance?
She kisses me half lovingly still, yet half with hate,
She turns away, never to me will she come back.
Translation: Charles L. Cingolani Copyright © 2006