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128                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

the German aesthete art takes into its scope the dream which this
gratification may bring. And since all is dream and symbol there
is no need for moral disgust if Algabal is even a murderer:

Sieh ich bin ^art me eine apfelblute
Und friedenfroher denn ein neues lamm*
Doch liegen eisen stein und feuerschwamm
Gefdhrlich in erschuttertem gemute.

Hernieder steig ich eine marmortreppe 
Ein leichnam ohne haupt inmitten ruht*
D ort sickert meines teuren bruders blut*
Ich raffe leise nur die purpurschleppe.

For this merely means that the poet-king will not suffer the shadow
of an affront., even from a beloved brother (the teuer is deliberate
and in its implication effective), to the majesty of his state. Vaguely,
too, Algabal is a spiritualized image of Ludwig II of Bavaria, that
crowned decadent whose spendthrift's palaces George had recently
visited, and the news of whose suicide had shocked him pro-
foundly. To Ludwig II, the 'verhohnter dulderkonig\ the volume is
dedicated by his younger brother Algabal (that is, the poet). Tech-
nically, if Stefan George is to be classed as a decadent at all it can
only be by reason of this Baudelairean book. As it closes, a way of
escape opens: the poem Graue rosse muss ich schirren unfolds a vista
of the virgin spaces under a vaulted cold sky whence the Germanic
hordes are to sweep down on the rottenness of Rome.

For the first time in George's production - and the following
volumes will show varying but equally symmetrical construction
- Algabal is mathematically graded in a triple arrangement, and
the subjects of the three zones interlock and form a unified whole:
Im Unterreich gives landscape and atmosphere, Tage limns the
milieu. Die Andenken reveals the inner soul of the subject.

Important was George's meeting at this stage of his career with
Hugo von Hofmannsthal, then a boy of seventeen but already
known by Gestern and what he had published under the pen-name of
Loris; his hope that in the Viennese poet he had found the closest
of his disciples was destined to be disappointed; for Hofmanns-
thal, in George's opinion, pandered to the mob. But Hofmannsthal
did help Gerardy and Karl August Klein in the launching of
George's new cultural review: flatter fur die Kmst, the first num-