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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

STEFAN   GEORGE  AND   HIS  CIRCLE                135

sensuous longing - exceptional in the work of this anti-feminine
poet - with the cumulative imagery of the Song of Songs -

Saget mir auf wekhem pfade
Heute sie voruberschreite -
Dass ich am der reichsten lade
Zarte seidenweben hole*
Rose pflucke und viole 
Dass ich meim wange breite*
Scheme! unfer ihrer sohk.

One essential feature of George's creed is that his books should
be typographically beautiful. Das Jahr der Seek (1897) and the
following volumes were produced by the artist Melchior Lechter,
who had already been the apostle in Germany of the Kelmscott
Press. And so Stefan George's books have the collecting lure of
fine porcelain. In Das Jahr der Seek we have a perfectly symmetrical
construction of three parts in each of three sections, with the first
section (After the Vintage, Pilgrims in Snow, Triumph of Summer)
and the third section (Traurlge Tdn^e) revolving round the central
section (pberschriften und Widmungeni poems intensely personal or
devoted to the poet's friends). In this book George's figure as an
introspective comes with ghostlike footfall, freed from pilgrim's
weeds and Emperor's purple and priest's vestments - comes with
ever-varied visions as the pure soul of a poet. The poems are
mostly in the Du form, but George's hint in his foreword is that
Ich and Du are identical; the poems are addressed to meine dustre
schwester, who comes at twilight, as we are told in Zu meinen trdumen
floh ich vor dem volke\ by this happy device - George's usual dicho-
tomy into self and personified soul (Doppelung or Gegensdt^Jichkeit
as in the case of Goethe) - the theme of the poems is covered by
a veil of gauze and reverie is dramatized. Mystery is intensified by
reminiscences of far-off long-forgotten things, or recalls the soul-
inspired moods of previous volumes. After the poet's wooing of
his dark sister soul come the Uberschrifteny superscriptions which
in the first person reveal the very nature of the poet and of his
verse, and the Widmungen to his friends. Then all the tragic sadness
of the poet who has sacrificed the world for the Muse is gathered
into the self-revelations of Traurige Ta%%e. The lyrics of the first
section have something of the charm of landscape, but this is
delicately remote. Really there is tin lanrfsranp "hut nnlt