River Lilies

Saw a boy three lilies white,
Lilies in the river,
Half heart-open to the light,
Full of golden arrows bright,
Each a silver quiver.
Lilies, lilies, lilies white,
Lilies in the river.

Said the boy, “I’ll pluck you there,
Lilies in the river!”
Said the lilies, “If you dare
You shall drown, or homeward fare
Dripping and a-shiver!”
Lilies, lilies, lilies white,
Lilies in the river.

Wilful still the boy would clasp
Lilies in the river;
Tumbled in ere he could grasp,
Scrambled out with puff and gasp,
Plucked no lilies ever.
Lilies, lilies, lilies white,
Lilies in the river.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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