182 MODERN GERMAN LITERATURE
within (^Denn Armut 1st tin grosser Glan^ von inner?}. God Himself
is the poor man, the leper cast forth and passing through the city
with his rattle:
Du hist so arm me ernes Keimes Kraft
in eimm Madcben, das es gern verb urge
undsich die Lenden press t, dass sie erwurge
das erste Atmen ihrer Schwangerschaft.
Und du hist arm: so me der Fruhlingsregen,
der selig auf der Stddte Dacherfdllt,
und me ein Wunsch^ wenn Strdflinge ihn hegen
in eimr Zelle> ewig ohne Welt.
And - in his baroque cumulative manner, or as in the chained
incongruous images of the Litanies to the Virgin - Rilke hymns
the agonies of men, which are less than those of God, who is
poorer than all the poor. The poor are like things almost ('fast
gkichen sie den Dmgen'); they are dark as an idle tool. They are
guardians of treasures they themselves see not. From the poor are
to be born the regenerating race who ripen for the great death;
and therefore the sexual image is repeated:
Und sieh: ihr Leib ist me ein ^rdutigam . . .
In seiner Schlankheit sam melt sich das Schwache,
das Bange, das aus viekn Framn kam;
doch sein Geschlecht ist stark und wie ein Drache
und wartet schlafend in dem Tal der Scham.
And where is he who grew strong even unto poverty, and on the
market-place put off his raiment and went forth naked before the
bishop in his robe? In the smile of whose countenance was child-
hood ripening as maidens do. And when he sang hearts cried in
the sisters whom he touched as a bridegroom. And then the pollen
of his song wafted dreaming from his red mouth unto the love-
laden and fell into open corollas .. . And the Unpolluted received
him in their body which was their soul, and their eyes closed like
roses, and full of love-lights was their hair . . . And when he died
he was already scattered abroad: his seed ran in brooks and sang
in trees and quietly watched from flowers. O whither is he faded
into melody? - the great evening star of poverty.