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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

150                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

stil) and thus has not that marvellous fluidity which Rilke gets
by his masterly HakenstiL In Rilke's verse the flawless flowing into
each other of line and line is a result of the ecstatic rapidity of his
thought, while the steady halts of George's verse are due to his
measured and vigorous tread. Rilke's verse flows as a molten
mass; George's verse has passed the state of molten flux and is
given us in shaped rigidity. The molten flux is Dionysian Raascb,
and Rilke gives it as such; George transforms ILausch to Apollonian
Gebilde. Another feature is the steady regularity of George's lines;
they are intended to be scanned - and generally must be scanned -
in Herr Opitz's way. But it is just this steady beat of scansion
which marks George's verse, in its period, with strangeness. The
most perfunctory analysis of German verse will show that even
where Herr Opitz's rules are most rigorously applied scansion by
the old German rule of so many lifts to the line and with the
number of dips free is not only possible but may even show where
the melody of the verse lies. Scansion by classical feet takes no
account of subsidiary stress; or at least a subsidiary stress must be
reckoned, very artificially, as a main stress; whereas in Germanic
scansion the main stresses bring the chief words into prominence
while the subsidiary stresses recede. George's scansion is governed
by the slow pace the reading requires to get the effect - and the
use of monosyllables slows down the line; so that in such lines as
Nennt es den blify der traf den wink der lenkte : \ Das ding das in mch
kam %u meiner stunde there is a kind of level stress throughout, not
with trochee for iambus at the beginning of the first line, not with
the natural three stresses (ding, kam> stunde) in the second. But
George's short-lined lyrics - and they are his most musical - may
be read with Germanic scansion:

/                  /      /

Kerns me deinfeines obr
I             \    /        /

Merkt was tie/ innen singt

/               /               i

Was noch so schuchtern schmngt

I               I        (

Was halb sich schon verlor.

There is of course no suggestion that George's verse has the
wooden regularity of Opitzian verse. It has George's personal
rhythm: he strides on with his relentless firm tread (weiterschreiten
is a favourite word of his). Some one has said that his metrical