The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/Nemesis
When through the nations stalks contagion wild,
We from them cautiously should steal away,
E'en I have oft with ling'ring and delay
Shunned many an influence, not to be defiled.
And e'en though Amor oft my hours beguiled,
At length with him preferred I not to play,
And so, too, with the wretched sons of clay,
When four and three-lined verses they compiled.
But punishment pursues the scoffer straight,
As if by serpent-torch of furies led
From hill to vale, from land to sea to fly.
I hear the genie's laughter at my fate;
Yet do I find all power of thinking fled
In sonnet-rage and love's fierce ecstasy.