She [Lotte] has been away for a few days, collecting Albert. Today I entered her parlour and she came to meet me, and I kissed her hand, overcome with joy.
A canary flew off the mirror and perched on her shoulder.--'A new friend,' she said, coaxing it onto her hand, 'which I got for the children. Isn't he a dear? Look at him! If I give him some bread he flutters his wings and pecks oh-so-daintily. He kisses me too: watch!'
She held the little creature to her mouth and lovingly pressed it to her sweet lips, as if it were capable of feeling the bliss it was enjoying.
'He shall kiss you too,' she said, and held the bird towards me.--Its little beak moved from her mouth to mine, and when it touched me with a peck it was like a breath of love, a promise of pleasure to come.
'His kiss,' I said, 'is not wholly free of a desire; he wants food, and these empty endearments leave him dissatisfied.'
'He will eat out of my mouth, too,' she said.--She offered it a few crumbs on her lips, and smiled with all the joyful happiness of innocent and loving fellow-feeling.
I averted my gaze. She ought not to do it, ought not to excite my imagination with these scenes of divine innocence and bliss, or awaken my heart from that sleep which the indifference of life lulls it to!--And why not?--She has such trust in me! and knows how much I love her!
The hapless canary becomes the excuse for Werther to express his feelings ('His kiss is not free of desire; these empty endearments leave him dissatisfied'). Lotte displays that fellow-feeling towards other creatures common in sentimental novels, but Werther sexualizes the scene, envying the kisses the bird receives.Related terms: