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126                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

Das rosa kindern die mi t s chief er malen*
Der wascherin am bach den indigo.

Both infante and painter are of course self-portraits of George -
as the royal child to whom only the elfin joys of the spirit are
vouchsafed, and as the master of gradual colouring and inlaid sug-
gestion. In Pilgerfahrten the image of the poet takes fixed form as
one and the same expanded ego, the pilgrim whose experiences
are those of George; the charm of such poems as Gesichte^ Mah-
nung, Verjahrte Fahrten^ says Gundolf, lies in their 'monumental
intimity7. The theme is once again the conflict between physical
passion and intellectual yearning; but this conflict brings the gift
of song. In Dass er auffernem felsenpfade . . . the pilgrim is lured by
night to the reedy marsh, 'Dass er in sturmes trieb sich stable''; from
the reeds rises a lily on a swaying stalk, wings in the milk-white
chalice quiver - an evil angel (demonic temptation) is luring him
from the straight path that leads to the Muse; the reeds murmur
as he follows the shadowy row of elms. The magic of such poems
lies in the very dimness of an idea, an idea which is hardly neces-
sary for enjoyment: what matters is that mystery is evoked, and
that this mystery hinted line by line is all gathered into the last
verse which leaves the music quivering in the air: 'Den langenschat-
ten^ugder rustern \ Verjolgt erjeder heilungbar- \ Seinaugeflackertirr
im dustern- \   Die winde wirren ihm das haar? Spanish impressions
and the magic of Venice lend colour and a sensuous thrill to poems
(Gesicbte, Verjahrte Fahrten) which contrast with memories of the
poet's Catholic boyhood and dim imaginings of a time ere history
was. A landscape magically evoked is the famous Muhle lass die
arme still: it begins with the vivid and simple personification of
the Volkslied^ but (as often happens with George) is ruined by a
Euphuistic conceit: -

Muhle lass die arme still
Da die haide ruhen mil.
Teiche auf den tauwind barren*
Ihrer pflegen lichte lan^en
Und die kleinen bdume starren
Wie getunchte ginsterpflan^en.

Pilgerfahrten ends with the two marvellous stanzas of Die Spange,
a mystic transmutation of George's verse technique: