(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

174                  MODERN  GERMAN LITERATURE

That the main idea of these lines is good mystical doctrine (it could
not be orthodox Catholic doctrine) is shown by a comparison with
certain lines of the seventeenth-century mystical poet Angelus
Silesius in Der Cherubinische Wandersmann: 'Gottisfso vielan mr, als
mir an ibm gelegen, \ Sein Wesen helf ich ihmy wie er das meine, hegen. \
, . . Icb miss, dass ohm mich Gott nicht ein Nu kann leben, \ Werd ich
tyt nicht, er muss von Not den Geist aufgeben? But it is a long cry from
Catholic or metaphysical mysticism to Rilke's poetic mysticism.
Rilke does not evolve his God by logical processes (as the true
mystics do), but attains Him by a species of hallucinated illusion
of physical contact. In the true mystics all the images of sensuous
love merely make ideas visible; in Rilke's mysticism the sensuous
love creates a succession of vivid images which cannot be resolved
in strictly connected ideas. How very realistic - even grotesquely
realistic, but with a grotesqueness that continues that of the old
German folksongs which give rough woodcut shape to the Holy
Family - are the familiar images of God in Das Stundenbuch: 'Du
ha Its t mich seltsam %art \ undhorchst, me meine Hdndegehn \ durch deinen
alten'Rarf; 'Nacbbar Gotf ; 'Du bist der raunende Verruste, \ auf alien
Qfen schlafst du breit\ etc.; and how poetically real is the poet's
identification of his soul (in The Book of Pilgrimage] with Ruth.
But, in poetry which strikes right into the heart like this, what
grovelling mind would bother about whatever meaning there may
be? What matters is the feeling, not the meaning. If we must nail
down whatever ideas are tangible (and to any one with an inkling
of philosophy they must be commonplaces), then all we need say
is that Rilke's mysticism is pantheism: for to him God is not en-
skied, but en-earthed - in things. Or: it is a poetical version of the
philosopher's doctrine of'immanence': God is in things.

The sensuous bed of Rilke's thought gives a tender warmth to
many of the cumulative images:

Ichfinde dich in alien diesen Dingen,
denen ich gut und me ein Bruder bin;
als Samen sonnst du dich in den geringen
und in den grossen gibst du gross dich bin.

Das ist das wmdename Spiel der Krafte,
dass sie so dienend durch die Dinge gehn:
in Wur^eln mchsend, schmndend in die Schdfte
und in den Wipfeln me ein Axferstehn.