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THE  LITERATURE  OF  RACE  AND   SOIL            437

(1942), Die ftegegnung (1947), Unter hohen Bautzen (1951). His earlier
lyric manner, more or less rooted in expressionism, quickly de-
velops to the solid shaping of his later verse, which varies in mood
rather than in its general tenor. The structure of the verse is hard
and firm, sometimes rough; traditional forms are broken up to
give, not free rhythms, though these occur sporadically, but free-
dom to lengthen or shorten lines or to tail a stanza with an extra
line. Already in Der irdische Tag we have the poet's full panoply.
The forefront of what is presented is the exterior world as the
year runs its changes of scene and feeling round the gardener's
calendar. The procession of the seasons has been worked out by
many poets since James Thomson; in Britting's sequence it is all
new because the vision is regional: these are scenes centred on the
Danube - always *der Strom* (die Isar is less lovingly given its
name). Excursional jaunts to the Tyrol and Italy provide variety
at the rim of the homeland landscape. Die Begegnmg is a chain of
seventy sonnets, which in substance renew and vary the medieval
Dance of Death in language toned to the sharp-cut contours of
the old woodcuts of the danse macabre. Significantly the sequence
ends with a lovely finale: Der schone Tod. Strange it seems that so
robust a Bavarian gentleman, by friendly repute a lover of all good
things, a Falstaffian, a Zecher, should write of Death; but is he
indeed more himself, with his zest in life, in the congenial lyrics
of Lob des Weines^ Here, of course, the burden of the song is:
Begone, dull care! Unter hohen'&aumen carries on the laud of nature
of Der irdische Tag, but with less of Ich and more of Du\ the poet,
perhaps with some sense of social promiscuity, but more likely
because of a ripening of his great, good heart, seeks approach to
his fellow men - lover, vintager, thief, or whatever he or she
may be.

RICHARD BILLINGER (1893- ) was to have been a priest, but
blossomed out into a writer of great versatility; he is the acknow-
ledged poet and dramatist of Upper Austria. There is a strong
religious element as well as pulsing melodrama in his peasant
plays; Das Spiel vom Knechte (1926), Das Penbtenspiel (1928), &#&-
nacht (1931), Rjosse (1933), Der Gigant (1937) give the general note;
the motive force is raw heathen passion under a thin crust of
Christian discipline. Billinger deserts the peasant play in his com-
edies Stilk Gaste (1933), Lob des Landes (1933), Gabriele Dambrone