The Sexes.

A poem by Friedrich Schiller

See in the babe two loveliest flowers united yet in truth,
While in the bud they seem the same the virgin and the youth!
But loosened is the gentle bond, no longer side by side
From holy shame the fiery strength will soon itself divide.
Permit the youth to sport, and still the wild desire to chase,
For, but when sated, weary strength returns to seek the grace.
Yet in the bud, the double flowers the future strife begin,
How precious all yet naught can still the longing heart within.
In ripening charms the virgin bloom to woman shape hath grown,
But round the ripening charms the pride hath clasped its guardian zone;
Shy, as before the hunter's horn the doe all trembling moves,
She flies from man as from a foe, and hates before she loves!

From lowering brows this struggling world the fearless youth observes,
And hardened for the strife betimes, he strains the willing nerves;
Far to the armed throng and to the race prepared to start,
Inviting glory calls him forth, and grasps the troubled heart:
Protect thy work, O Nature now! one from the other flies,
Till thou unitest each at last that for the other sighs.
There art thou, mighty one! where'er the discord darkest frown,
Thou call'st the meek harmonious peace, the god-like soother down.
The noisy chase is lulled asleep, day's clamor dies afar,
And through the sweet and veiled air in beauty comes the star.
Soft-sighing through the crisped reeds, the brooklet glides along,
And every wood the nightingale melodious fills with song.
O virgin! now what instinct heaves thy bosom with the sigh?
O youth! and wherefore steals the tear into thy dreaming eye?
Alas! they seek in vain within the charm around bestowed,
The tender fruit is ripened now, and bows to earth its load.
And restless goes the youth to feed his heart upon its fire,
All, where the gentle breath to cool the flame of young desire!
And now they meet the holy love that leads them lights their eyes,
And still behind the winged god the winged victory flies.
O heavenly love! 'tis thy sweet task the human flowers to bind,
For ay apart, and yet by thee forever intertwined!

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