Peeled by skillful hands, three apples, delicate,
Hanging on a branch, which a leaf shares its green with;
White like wax their flesh with soft red shimmer;
Nestled close to one another the nudes would hide.
Be not ashamed, sisters! A maiden has disrobed you,
And to the Graces a singer will graciously present you.

Translation: Charles L. Cingolani                Copyright © 2011


Von kunstfertigen Haenden geschält, drei Aepfelchen, zierlich,
Hängend an einem Zweig, den noch ein Blaettchen umgrünt;
Weiss wie das Wachs ihr Fleisch, von lieblicher Roete durchschimmert;
Dicht aneinandergeschmiegt, bärgen die nackten sich gern.
Schaemet euch nicht, ihr Schwestern! euch hat ein Maedchen entkleidet,
Und den Chariten fromm bringet ein Saenger euch dar.

Eduard Moerike 1846
Graces: In Greek mythology a  goddesses of
charm, beauty. They ordinarily numbered three,
from youngest to oldest: Aglaea ["Splendor"],
Euphrosyne ["Mirth"], and Thalia ["Good Cheer"].
In Roman mythology they were known as the
Gratiae, the "Graces".

In Raphael's painting each of the Graces is holding
an apple.
. . . On July 18, 1846 Mörike sent this poem to Margarethe Speeth. That same day he inserted it in a letter to the Hartlaub family and noted: " . . . In a rush: An epigram in the Greek style, to which a joke I recently heard gave me the inspiration." . . .