Peeled by skillful hands, three apples, delicate,
Hanging on a branch,
to which a leaf lends green;
White like wax their flesh shimmering a soft red;
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." . . .
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