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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

RILKE                                           167

fief in das Leben greljen -
und durcb das Leid
imit aus dem Leben reifen,
weit aus der Zeit!

This programme was the very opposite of what was to shape the
poetic personality of Stefan George, with whom all striving is
ego-centric: George's mission is to ripen life to his own ideal,
that of Rilke to ripen personality beyond the range of life - but
by sinking into it and rising out of it to the skies like a tree widely
rooted in the earth of reality. And there is already in Advent the
theme of pilgrimage to God, already the first hints of Rilke's later
definition of God as a direction given to love, and of death as a
portion of personality; and thus the book is in some sort a prelude
to Das Stimderibuch. The dreamy wistfulness of the Madcben poems,
too, is sketched in Alle Madchen envarten wen, \ wenn die Batwie m
Bliiten stebn, and in the very lovely:

~Lebnen im Abendgarten beidey
lauschen lange nach irgendwo.
'Du hast Hande me weisse Seide , . . ?
Und da s taunt sie: *D// sagst das so . . .'
Etwas 1st in den Garten getreten^
und das Gitter hat nicht geknarrt^
mid die Rosen in alien Bee fen
beben vor seiner Gegenwart.

Here again there is imitation probably - of Maeterlinck's Ulntruse.
Rilke's mystical losing of himself in individual phenomena
^Dinge*}1 takes definite shape in the poems otMir^urFekr* (1899),
the first book to be signed with the new name of Rainer Maria
Rilke. Later he proclaimed it to be his first book. Now he is con-
scious that he is a dreamer (^# Hause ygviscben Tag undTraum*} who
would fain proffer yearning in his rhymes (fine Sehnsucht reichen in den
ILeimen); henceforth his soul shall be like a festal garment covering
thinking things (^breite dich me ein Feierkleid \ fiber die sinmnden
Diftgi). His 'gospel of things' takes concrete shape in this volume
in a group of poems which deal with the relativity of the names of
things to the essence of these things: words, says Rilke quizzically

1  *A.uflo$ung des Ich-Seins hineln in das Seln der Dtnge*

2  The second revised edition (1907) changes the title to Die fruhm