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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

STEFAN   GEORGE  AND  HIS   CIRCLE                139

angel brings a message which is interpreted as indicating a re-
covery by George of his German heritage: he bids the poet be
cured of that Drang nach Suden which, as we all know, means so
much in German literature; bids him turn away from the di2zy
precipices1 and the charmed miasmas of southern landscapes to
the bracing breath of the northern spring, the eternal mystery of
Nordic runes, and to the treasure of his own people guarded by
the Rhine, that river green like fresh young life:

Dufindest das geheimnis emger runen
In dieser halden strenger linienkunst
Nicht nur in mamrmeeres ^auberdunst*
<Schon lockt nicht mehr das Wunder der lagunen

Das allumworbene trummergrosse Rjom
Wie herber eichen duft und rebenbluten
Wie sie die Deines volkes hort behuten -
Wie Deine wogen - lebengruner Strom\>

This seems a definite return to ideals which today would be called
volkhaft\ but poem VII still gives tender expression to George's
neo-hellenism, with its contrast of crowds following the Cross
that will for long be the light of the world with the little group on
quiet paths on whose banners is inscribed: 'Hellas ewigunsre Hebe.9

Stefan George's prose is collected in Tage undTaten (1902), His
prose style is clear and hard-toned; it has the aesthete's rarity of
diction. Instead of the gliding undulation of Hofmannsthal's prose
or the incapsulated complexity of GundolPs, it has the concise-
ness of short periods weighted with authority, every individual
word sharply marked and self-poised; the tone is supercilious and
may be scornful, but is never witty. In the Lobreden the appreci-
ations - of Mallarme, Verlaine, Jean Paul, Holderlin - are both
generous and subtle. T^he.'Betrathtungen state in the shortest possible
compass George's poetic creed. The second edition (1925) is ex-
panded and revised.

George's verse translations take rank with the best in the lan-
guage. Of his Baudelaire (Die ISlumen des Boseri), and his transla-
tions from Verlaine, Mallarme, Stuart Merrill, Henri de Regnier,
d'Annunzio, Albert Verwey, Swinburne, Ernest Dowson, Wac-
law Lieder, and others (Zeitgenossische Dichter, 2 vols.) one would
1 Italy is imaged as in Goethe's Kennst du das Land.. .