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Poems and Songs Frank Wedekind Twenty-One Approximations by Eric Bentley CABARET (from "Tingel-Tangel") Yes, it's true, love is my credo Eros has me in his grip And (oh dear) I'm a torpedo For many a pocket battleship Look me in the face and tell me What it is you read therein: Is it not, my friend, that virtue Really is a deadly sin? So: an end to all the bleating! The Ideal has blown away! (But the heart of man's still beating In the Schwabing cabaret.) THE MODERN GIRL (excerpt of eleven lines) A different drum has set the pace And she does not fake it In step with new times She dances naked. 103 The devil has done his damnedest To keep her indoors, a lady of leisure World and woman go out in the storm Such is God's pleasure. World and woman exchange a glance Then hand in hand together advance And dance! LULU Some people love a dog's life It has regularity. I love the heaving seesaw Of this world's raging sea. Enduring science, living art, LOVE is what I love: Firstfruits of the earth below Manna from heaven alone. If a man can give me the feeling I'm splendid and strong-a successI 'll shout with joy and, rejoicing, Uncover my nakedness. THE LOVE MARKET (from "Confession") God may lash me for it but I swore And swear again now in his Holy Name I would much prefer to be a whore To having all their happiness and fame. World, you lost in me a worldly woman I had no objection at all to sin: Who so at home in the Love Market As I would have been? There are some who live for their profession Me, I live for love but why Should I love but once and then get stuck with This one particular guy? 104 For loving does not bring us happiness It brings jealousy and degradation. But to be loved, strongly, hotly, often, That is living, that is exaltation. ILSE A child of fourteen, I had never Had anything to do with boys But that's when I made a discovery: Sweet as sugar are love's joys. He laughed and took hold of my body This is not going to hurt, he said And then he gently, gently pushed my Underskirt above my head. Since then my life has all been springtime And I make love with one and all And if the time comes no man wants me I'm ready for my funeral. CATHY My Cathy requests as a bonus A love poem from me. o spare me, Cathy, I answer For I simply cannot agree. For do I really love you? I am not sure that is it. You say that is beside the point? Well, Cathy, hold on a bit: When I, my dear, write love poems It's early in the night Because, my dear, on the day after, It is too hard to write. CORA Behold the breakwater, it stretches Between the breakers blue And I myself stretch out between Your bridegroom and you. 105 How pleasant to doze off upon Such neutral territoryIt 's life in Switzerland midway between Prussia and Sicily. Icy shivers run down my back -Hail, snow, etceteraWhat stretches out before me Glowing and hot? Italia. EARTH SPIRIT The wages of sin is enjoyment: Go to it! Be wild! Or do you need assistance? Are you still a child? Earth's treasures are there, why shun them? Seize them with pride. Spurn the Law that bids you Kick'em aside. Happy on fresh graves if you Romp till you're out of breath! Dance on the ladder to the gallows! Why bore yourself to death? TO A HYPOCHONDRIAC You furrow your forehead You curse and you swear You swallow the worm Along with the pear. So sensitive are you To what's mean and crude! Be a child! Bid welcome Life's plenitude! Your sweetheart is sour? The sweeter her kissThe smaller her bedroom The larger your bliss. 106 Frank Wedekind with his lute (ca. 1900). THE OTHER Love's pleasure and...


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pp. 103-114
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