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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

"Stabegabe. The tonal qualities of Der weiche Ganggeschmeidigstarker
Schritte (velvety softness wedded to striding strength) will be
missed by no one.

What new meaning Rilke can get into a Dinggedicht may be seen
by comparing Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's Der romische T&runmn with
Romische Fontane: the Swiss poet's poem is just a fine picture of a
chose vue, while in Rilke's poem, though all seems to be just a
picture, he himself is the tiered fountain gathering impressions
and calming them to the perfection of dream. The isolation of
majesty (probably in Stefan George's sense) is conveyed by Die
Treppe der Orangerie: Versailles:

Wie Konige die schliesslich nur noch scbreiten
fast ohne Ziel, nur um von Zeit %u Zeit
sicb den Verneigenden aufbeiden Seiten
^u yeigen in des Mantels Einsamkeit - :

so steigf, alkin <%wischen den Balustraden,
die sich verneigen scbon seit Anbeginn,
die Treppe: langsam and von Gottes Gnaden
und auf den Himmel %u und nirgends bin;

als ob sie alien Folgenden befabl
%uruck%ubleiben, - so dass sie nicht wagen
von feme nacb^ugehen ; nicht einmal
die schwere Schleppe durfte einer tragen.

Here the central object is the staircase - marble is not mentioned,
but marble is what we see - filling the picture, but in a fantastic
light, magnified by the symbol of lonely kings (and by the swift
association of ideas of all those who are isolated from their fellows
by the grace of God) trailing all their magnificence, even their
heavy train.

In the New Poems Rilke often paints by adding detail to detail,
but with the inner sense in equal progression, so that revelation
of the total idea synchronizes with the finishing of the picture.
This process is quite wonderful in Corrida, in which we see first
the black bull and his bull's feelings for the picador, then the
picador in gold and pink silk, and at the end heaped adjectives
picturing the masterly and nonchalant death-thrust. Very striking
in jugend-'&ildnis meines Vaters are the closing lines which give