Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

STEFAN   GEORGE   AND   HIS   CIRCLE                125

impressions shape themselves discreetly to French models; but
the collective theme continues that of thtjuvenilia- the self-isolation
of the consecrated poet. Hjmnen were first published in zplaquette
intended for the poet's friends only. The first poem, Weihe9 gives
the note of the triple collection - the poet, awakening to the
consciousness of his divine poet's mission, seeks, in the shade of
evening by the reed-rimmed river, the consecration of the Muse.
Already in this first poem those metrical devices and tonal qualities
show which were to be his system: audition coloree, assonance
(Vokalharmonie) throughout the line or stanza ('Hinaus %um strom!
wo stofy die hohen rohre \ Im linden mnde ibrefahnen schwingen* - o and
sf9 i for rapidity), clipped interior rhymes (Im linden windey Zum
ufermoose kosend}. The second lyric shows the poet in the spring
morning, in the pleasaunce of a great lonely park, but far sun-
dered from men and their allurements, for . . . 'heut darfihre weise
nicht ihn ruhren, \ Weil er mit semen geistern rede tauscht: \ Er hat den
griffel der sich strdubt %ufubren\ The French Parnassian manner -
the concentration of the character and spirit of an epoch or of a
country in one short poem - illustrates Hochsommer (a transposition
of the soul of Watteau's pictures) and the two 'pictures' (Bilder\
DerlnfantmA. "Bin Angelica. Der Infant., ostensibly the reproduction
in verse of a painting in its oval frame of dark gilt, thrills with the
tragic fate of Spanish royalty: this white-faced prince smiles on
eternally, never regretting that he did not grow up to be a gloomy
tyrant; the blessing vouchsafed to him is that when the moon
slants through the pomegranate glass globes in the room a bright
elfin maid comes for him, and they play with the silken ball that
still gleams rose-red and olive-green on the oak pier-table. Ein
Angelica is descriptive, but it is that description by successive de-
tails of action which Lessing, in 'Laokoon, approves in Homer's
description of the shield of Achilles.1 In this skilfully manipulated
sonnet, in which the rhythm and the sense of each of the four
parts rises to a pregnant closing line and the mood of the whole
poem is gathered into the pensive last verse, we see the picture of
the Virgin, *die brauf mit immerstilkm kinderbusen*', come into being
stroke by stroke:

Er nahm das gold von heiligen pokalen.
Zu bellem hoar das reife mi^enstroh-

1 Compare also the poem Komm in den totgesagten park undschau.