Friedrich von Schiller

Here you will find the Long Poem The Celebrated Woman - An Epistle By A Married Man of poet Friedrich von Schiller

The Celebrated Woman - An Epistle By A Married Man

Can I, my friend, with thee condole?--
 Can I conceive the woes that try men,
When late repentance racks the soul
 Ensnared into the toils of hymen?
Can I take part in such distress?--
Poor martyr,--most devoutly, "Yes!"
Thou weep'st because thy spouse has flown
To arms preferred before thine own;--
A faithless wife,--I grant the curse,--
And yet, my friend, it might be worse!
Just hear another's tale of sorrow,
And, in comparing, comfort borrow!

What! dost thou think thyself undone,
Because thy rights are shared with one!
O, happy man--be more resigned,
My wife belongs to all mankind!
My wife--she's found abroad--at home;
But cross the Alps and she's at Rome;
Sail to the Baltic--there you'll find her;
Lounge on the Boulevards--kind and kinder:
In short, you've only just to drop
 Where'er they sell the last new tale,
And, bound and lettered in the shop,
 You'll find my lady up for sale!

She must her fair proportions render
To all whose praise can glory lend her;--
Within the coach, on board the boat,
Let every pedant "take a note;"
Endure, for public approbation,
Each critic's "close investigation,"
And brave--nay, court it as a flattery--
Each spectacled Philistine's battery.
Just as it suits some scurvy carcase
In which she hails an Aristarchus,
Ready to fly with kindred souls,
O'er blooming flowers or burning coals,
To fame or shame, to shrine or gallows,
Let him but lead--sublimely callous!
A Leipsic man--(confound the wretch!)
Has made her topographic sketch,
A kind of map, as of a town,
Each point minutely dotted down;
Scarce to myself I dare to hint
What this d----d fellow wants to print!
Thy wife--howe'er she slight the vows--
Respects, at least, the name of spouse;
But mine to regions far too high
 For that terrestrial name is carried;
My wife's "The famous Ninon!"--I
 "The gentleman that Ninon married!"

It galls you that you scarce are able
To stake a florin at the table--
Confront the pit, or join the walk,
But straight all tongues begin to talk!
O that such luck could me befall,
Just to be talked about at all!
Behold me dwindling in my nook,
Edged at her left,--and not a look!
A sort of rushlight of a life,
Put out by that great orb--my wife!

Scarce is the morning gray--before
Postman and porter crowd the door;
No premier has so dear a levee--
 She finds the mail-bag half its trade;
My God--the parcels are so heavy!
 And not a parcel carriage-paid!
But then--the truth must be confessed--
They're all so charmingly addressed:
Whate'er they cost, they well requite her--
"To Madame Blank, the famous writer!"
Poor thing, she sleeps so soft! and yet
 'Twere worth my life to spare her slumber;
"Madame--from Jena--the Gazette--
 The Berlin Journal--the last number!"
Sudden she wakes; those eyes of blue
(Sweet eyes!) fall straight--on the Review!
I by her side--all undetected,
While those cursed columns are inspected;
Loud squall the children overhead,
Still she reads on, till all is read:
At last she lays that darling by,
And asks--"What makes the baby cry?"

Already now the toilet's care
Claims from her couch the restless fair;
The toilet's care!--the glass has won
Just half a glance, and all is done!
A snappish--pettish word or so
Warns the poor maid 'tis time to go:--
Not at her toilet wait the Graces
Uncombed Erynnys takes their places;
So great a mind expands its scope
Far from the mean details of--soap!

Now roll the coach-wheels to the muster--
Now round my muse her votaries cluster;
Spruce Abbe Millefleurs--Baron Herman--
The English Lord, who don't know German,--
But all uncommonly well read
From matchless A to deathless Z!
Sneaks in the corner, shy and small,
A thing which men the husband call!
While every fop with flattery fires her,
Swears with what passion he admires her.--
"'Passion!' 'admire!' and still you're dumb?"
Lord bless your soul, the worst's to come:--

I'm forced to bow, as I'm a sinner,--
And hope--the rogue will stay to dinner!
But oh, at dinner!--there's the sting;
I see my cellar on the wing!
You know if Burgundy is dear?--
Mine once emerged three times a year;--
And now to wash these learned throttles,
In dozens disappear the bottles;
They well must drink who well do eat
(I've sunk a capital on meat).
Her immortality, I fear, a
Death-blow will prove to my Madeira;
It has given, alas! a mortal shock
To that old friend--my Steinberg hock!

If Faust had really any hand
In printing, I can understand
The fate which legends more than hint;--
The devil take all hands that print!

And what my thanks for all?--a pout--
Sour looks--deep sighs; but what about?
About! O, that I well divine