Er bittet Sie zu sich; He calls her to him

[This page by Madeleine Brook]

Er bittet Sie zu sich.

Erfreue mich und dich / O Freude meiner Seelen /

Ohn die ich traurig noch bey höchster Wonne bin.

Komm / du mein selber ich / komm / Liebste komm dorthin /

wo wir uns beiderseits offt pflegen zu verhölen.

Ich bin / Schatz / kranck nach dir. Komm / laß mich nicht so quälen.

Hier wart' ich deines Trosts / den du mir / O mein Sinn /

alleine geben kanst. Komm meine Trösterinn.

Hier findest du und ich / was ich und du erwehlen;

Kein Gott / kein Mensch / kein Wild und keine Kreatur

ist hier. Auch keine Lufft / ohn die alleine nur /

die ich / ich seufftzender / alleine nach dir schicke.

Thus / Hertze / sey bald hier. Kömst / oder kömst du nicht /

So höre; was zu dir dein eignes Hertze spricht:

Du bist mein gröstes Glück’ und gröstes Ungelücke.

He calls her to him.

Delight me and you , O joy of my soul,

Without whom I am sad even in greatest rapture.

Come, you, my own self, come, dearest, come there

Where we have oft both concealed ourselves.

I am, dear, sick for you. Come, don’t torment me so.

I await here the consolation that you me, O my spirit,

Alone can give. Come my consoler.

Here you and I find what I and you choose;

No god, no person, no wild game and no creature

Is here. Nor any air, except only this alone

Which I – I sighing – alone send for you.

Do this, dear heart, be here soon. Whether you come or you come not,

Hear this which your own heart says to you:

You are my greatest fortune and greatest misfortune.

This sonnet, written almost exclusively in an imperative voice and full of paradox, is an example of the way Fleming uses petrarchan conventions of love – e.g. the absent and cruel beloved; the lament of a heartsick, tortured lover; the paradox of love as misfortune and unhappiness; reference to a secret (possibly imagined) place apart from society that has special associations with the beloved – only to invert them. Here, although the lover pleads with his beloved not to torment him, that his feelings make him ill, it is clear that the beloved is only temporarily absent and that she is not simply a torturer, but the lover’s healer. In contravention of the normal petrarchan pattern, this love is not only reciprocated, but already established. Pronouns are prominent throughout and their close links and inversions (line 8 ‘du und ich [...] ich und du‘; line 3 ‘du mein selber ich‘) emphasise the reciprocal relationship of the lyrical subject with the lyrical object. In mirroring the paradoxical feelings contained in the opening lines with a similar paradox in the concluding lines (line 2 ‘traurig noch bey höchster Wonne’ vs line 14 ‘mein gröstes Glück’ und gröstes Ungelücke’), the lyrical subject intimates that the beloved and the lover are at one in their love for each other. The final line, then, is not the lover speaking to the beloved as such, but a claim that the beloved acknowledges her feelings for her lover. Moreover, these lines deliver another twist on the Petrarchan idea of the lover as incomplete and not truly himself without the absent beloved: the lyrical voice‘s appeal to the beloved to listen to her own heart is a repetition of the sentiment of the lyrical voice. This links her heart closely to the voice of the lover, suggesting that her lover is an essential part of her and therefore that she, too, feels incomplete in his absence.

Further Reading

Stephan Zon, ‘Imitations Petrarch: Opitz, Fleming’, Daphnis 7 (1978), 497-512