Venetian Epigrams I

Sarcophagi, urns, were all covered with lifelike scenes,
fauns dancing with girls from a Bacchanalian choir,
paired-off, goat-footed creatures puffing their cheeks,
forcing ear-splitting notes from the blaring horns.
Cymbals and drumbeats, the marble is seen and is heard.
How delightful the fruit in the beaks of fluttering birds!
No startling noise can scare them, or scare away love,
Amor, whose torch waves more gladly in this happy throng.
So fullness overcomes death, and the ashes within
seem still, in their silent house, to feel love’s delight.
So may the Poet’s sarcophagus be adorned,
with this book the writer has filled with the beauty of life.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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