Die Unbekannte, by Justina Golden


My golden-haired beauty I’m always sure of seeing, in the Tuileries Gardens, under the chestnut trees. Every day she’s out walking with two ugly old ladies – are they aunts? Or dragoons, disguised in women’s clothing? Could no one give me a clue then, of who she was? I asked my friends, all of them, but all in vain, I was nearly ill with passion. Daunted by the moustaches of her elderly companions, and daunted by my own heart even more completely, I never dared to whisper a single sighed word in passing, scarce dared to show my ardour, by the passion in my glances. Only today I’ve learnt at last her name. She’s called Laura, like the beautiful Provençale a great poet fell in love with. She’s called Laura! Now I’ve got as far as, long ago, Petrarch did, who praised the lovely woman in canzones and sonettos. She’s called Laura! Just like Petrarch, I can try platonic toying with her name’s melodic music – he himself achieved no more.

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