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Reviews, essays, and translations

Entries in Hölderlin (2)

Tuesday
Jun212016

Hölderlin, "Tränen"

A work ("Tears") by this German poet.  You can read the original here.

O tender love so heavenly!
If I your fateful eyes forgot,
Of ashes fiery – and if not,  
Forlorn, untamed, would you still be –

Those islands dear, that wondrous hub!  
For you alone do me address, 
Your shore, where the idolatrous 
Atone, if heavenly, their love.  

There saints in endless gratitude, 
And wrathful heroes served, in days  
Of beauty; there trees will have swayed,
And cities stood in patent view,  

Much like a thoughtful man; anon
Are heroes dead, love's islands seem  
Well-nigh deformed. So must love's dream  
Outwit all silly fools, bar none.  

Your softest tears do not my sight 
Occlude in full; let memory –
Deceptive, thieving – outlive me: 
Leave this so I may nobly die. 

Friday
Nov222013

Hölderlin, "An die Hoffnung"

A work ("To hope") by this German poet.  You can read the original here.

O beautiful, O meekly bustling hope!  
You nobly do not scorn the grievers' home; 
And, gladly serving, wait as mortals roam  
Amidst this life through heaven's telescope.  

Where are you, then?  Lived I've short days, and yet 
My evening breath's gone cold.  Like shadows I
Am silent, songless: so does heart's regret 
Aslumber in my quaking bosom lie.  

In greenest vale, where freshest spring's soft spray
Roars daily down from mountain peaks, where blooms 
Most dulcet timelessness on autumn day, 
This silence, O most beautiful, exhumes  

My urge to seek you out; if midnight then 
Were flooding copses with some unseen life 
And o'er me ever-frozen flowers bend, 
Ashine swim blooming stars with lights so rife.  

O, daughter of the ether, come out now 
Your father's garden, spirit of the earth. 
If you cannot, with fear you should me girth, 
Yet scare my heart with other fears somehow.