Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > German
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XII: German
 
Whims of the Amorous
By Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)
 
From “Latest Poems”

UPON the hedge the beetle sits sadly,
He has fallen in love with a ladyfly madly.
 
“Oh, fly of my soul, ’tis thou alone
Art the wife I have chosen to be my own!
 
“Oh, marry me, and be not cold,        5
For I have a belly of glistening gold.
 
“My back is a mass of glory and show;
There rubies glitter, there emeralds glow.”
 
“Oh, would that I were a fool just now!
I’d never marry a beetle, I vow.        10
 
“I care not for emeralds, rubies, or gold;
I know that no happiness riches enfold.
 
“’Tis toward the ideal my thought soars high,
For I am in truth a haughty fly.”
 
The beetle flew off, with a heart like to break;        15
The fly went away, a bath to take.
 
“Oh, what has become of my maid, the bee,
That she, when I’m washing, may wait on me;
 
“That she may stroke my soft hair outside?
For I am now a beetle’s bride.        20
 
“In truth, a splendid party I’ll give,
For handsomer beetle never did live.
 
“His back is a mass of glory and show;
There rubies glitter, there emeralds glow.
 
“His belly is golden, and noble each feature;        25
With envy will burst full many a creature.
 
“Make haste, Miss Bee, and dress my hair;
And lace my waist; use perfumes rare;
 
“With attar of roses rub me o’er,
And lavender oil on my feet then pour—        30
 
“That I may not stink, or nastily smell,
When I in my bridegroom’s arms shall dwell.
 
“Already are flitting the dragonflies blue,
As maids of honor to wait on me too.
 
“Into my bridal garland they’ll twine        35
The blossoms white of the orange so fine.
 
“Full many musicians are asked to the place,
And singers as well, of the grasshopper race.
 
“The bittern, drone, hornet, and gadfly all come,
To blow on the trumpet and beat the drum.        40
 
“They’re all to strike up for the glad wedding-feast.
The gay-wingèd guests, from greatest to least,
 
“Are coming in families dapper and brisk,
The commoner insects among them frisk.
 
“The grasshoppers, wasps, and the aunts and the cousins        45
Are coming, while trumpets are blowing by dozens.
 
“The pastor, the mole, in black, dignified state,
Has also arrived, and the hour grows late.
 
“The bells are all sounding ding-dong, ding-a-dong—
But where’s my dear bridegroom ling’ring so long?”        50
 
Ding-dong, ding-a-dong, sound the bells all the day,
The bridegroom, however, has flown far away.
 
The bells are all sounding ding-dong, ding-a-dong—
“But where’s my dear bridegroom ling’ring so long?”
 
The bridegroom has meanwhile taken his seat        55
On a distant dunghill, enjoying the heat.
 
Seven years there sits he, until his forgotten
Poor bride has long been dead and rotten.
 
 
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