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422                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

beauty of it clashes with the filthy reality that belies it, even to a
madman's vision! TtakFs range is very limited: really he has only
one theme - the tints and odours of decay and decomposition, and
the insistent idea that all existence is decay; nevertheless there is
considerable variety in the wilful repetition - he returns like one
obsessed to red splashes of fruit over fading autumn foliage, to
the bleeding of sunset skies, to flies or ravens or crows gashing
carrion, to the meeting of lovers in the rotting forest, to the green
glint of decomposing flesh. He finds haunting images for the unity
of life and death; in Frauensegen for instance:

Wie dein Leib so schon geschvellt
Golden reift der Wein am Hugel.
Feme gldn^t des Wethers Spiegel
Und die Sense klirrt im Feld.

He is at his best in the sick voluptuousness and the physiological
evocation of certain lines: e.g. ^esedenduft^ der Weibliches umspulf.
There is a nouveau frisson in such of his poems as Die Ratten:

Im Hofscheint weiss der herbstliche Mond,
Vom Dachrand fallen phantastische Schatten.
'Bin Schweigen in leeren Fenstern wohnt;
Da tauchen leise herauf die Ratten

Und huschen pfeifend hier und dort

Und ein grdulicher Dunsthauch wittert

Ihnen nach aus dem Abort,

Den geisterhaft der Mondschein durch^ittert,

Und sie keif en vor Gier so toll
Und erfullen Haus und Scheunen^
Die von Korn und Fruchten voll.
Eisige Winde im Dunkel greinen.

Another early victim of the War was ERNST STADLER (1883-
1914); he fell on the French front as a lieutenant of artillery. He
had studied in Oxford, and was a Dozent in Strassburg. His one
volume of verse is Der Atrfbruch (1914), and here the form, though
still heavily rhythmical, begins to break away from tradition, and
his ploughing up of form (to use his own expression) is to him