japonisme: can you solve this riddle?

08 October 2007

can you solve this riddle?

this is a double page spread from the austrian magazine ver sacrum. this issue was published in 1901.

i initially posed this question here.

at that point i hadn't seen the accompanying page. today i tried researching this poem to see if it really was that poem by rilke as i had read.

obviously not.

here is the poem with its original version in german:

Early Spring

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1924


Härte schwand. Auf einmal legt sich Schonung
an der Wiesen aufgedecktes Grau.
Kleine Wasser ändern die Betonung.
Zärtlichkeiten, ungenau,

greifen nach der Erde aus dem Raum.
Wege gehen weit ins Land und zeigens.
Unvermutet siehst du seines Steigens
Ausdruck in dem leeren Baum.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1924

see how this is confusing to me? and i can find nothing online that seems to match the right-hand poem. if it's rilke it should be? even if it isn't it should be just for being in ver sacrum.

do you speak german? can you help lead us all out of confusion???!!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings! In German, there exist two famous poems with the title Vorfrühling - one by Hofmannstahl, the other by Rilke. The one by Rilke was written in 1924, so that is not what you seek... In fact, the quote you seek is from Drei Spiele (Three Plays), which Rilke wrote between 1898-1900, where the dialogue between the Black Duchess (Die Schwarze Herzogin)and her young servant appears. That is what is reproduced in this page of Ver Sacrum.

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08 October, 2007 22:03  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

bravo!! my goodness! thank you! i'm so impressed. so apparently my original source about that poem was incorrect. wish i could remember where i got it.

but why does this bear the title Vorfrühling? unless that's also the title of one of the three plays.

is it possible you can direct me to this dialogue in english?

but thank you again--you deserve a standing ovation!

08 October, 2007 23:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings, once again.
Yes, Vorfrühling is the (sub) title of one of the three plays.
I am sorry but I do not know any souce in English for the dialogue. You may want to check one of the many sites on Rilke or even check an essay (in German...) by Angelika Jacobs on that passage, where the Black Duchess is clearly mentioned - http://www.bgdv.be/gm54/jacobs.pdf (Jakobs, pp. 15-16).


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09 October, 2007 04:48  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you again.

sadly, for some reason the online translator doesn't like it. i tried typing in a few lines and it didn't seem to know most of the words!

but you have solved the riddle!

09 October, 2007 08:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am too busy for the moment, but I may essay a translation over the weekend (I need to be pleased with it myself... After all, it is Rilke and I will be translating the quote into English, which is not my native language......), if that helps. Anyway, one of the key sentences reads "Du traumst zu viel." ("You dream too much." [The Duchess says...])

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09 October, 2007 13:16  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well, that's an intriguing line to pick out! i understand your sensitivity about translation. i only wish all translators were! and, if ytou still feel so inclined, i appreciate your offer....

09 October, 2007 14:13  

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