Ask whomever you will but you’ll never find out where I’m lodging,
High society’s lords, ladies so groomed and refined.
“Tell me, was Werther authentic? Did all of that happen in real life?”
“Lotte, oh where did she live, Werther’s only true love?”
How many times have I cursed those frivolous pages that broadcast
Out among all mankind passions I felt in my youth!
Were he my brother, why then I’d have murdered poor Werther.
Yet his despondent ghost couldn’t have sought worse revenge.
That’s the way “Marlborough,” the ditty, follows the Englishman’s travels
Down to Livorno from France, thence from Livorno to Rome,
All of the way into Naples and then, should he flee on to Madras,
“Marlborough” will surely be there, “Marlborough” sung in the port.
Happily now I’ve escaped, and my mistress knows Werther and Lotte
Not a whit better than who might be this man in her bed:
That he’s a foreigner, footloose and lusty, is all she could tell you,
Who beyond mountains and snow, dwelt in a house made of wood.
October 4, 2012