Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe

  Fairy Land

 
 
 
 
 
 Dim vales- and shadowy floods-
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can't discover
For the tears that drip all over!
Huge moons there wax and wane-
Again- again- again-
Every moment of the night-
Forever changing places-
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down- still down- and down,
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain's eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be-
O'er the strange woods- o'er the sea-
Over spirits on the wing-
Over every drowsy thing-
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light-
And then, how deep!- O, deep!
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,
And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like- almost anything-
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before-
Videlicet, a tent-
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again,
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings.
 
 Edgar Allan Poe  (1809-1849)

photo: gb

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Heinrich Heine - Lorelei

                                          


The German poet Heinrich Heine (1799-1856) wrote some lovely poetry  -  it is almost impossible to translate. The Loreley was later followed by a beautiful melody, which is rather wellknown.
I have added two translations into English , so you can see how varied they are.

The Heinrich Heine poem is a little New Year's greeting to Michael from Liechtenstein, who's one of the nicest people I have met on the internet.  His favorite German poet is Heinrich Heine.








Heinrich Heine
Lorelei (1822)
 
Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten,
Dass ich so traurig bin,
Ein Märchen aus uralten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft is kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fliesst der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt,
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr gold'nes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar,
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme,
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewalt'ge Melodei.

Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe,
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh'.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn,
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Loreley getan.


 


















Loreley 
translated by Tr. Frank 1998

I cannot determine the meaning
Of sorrow that fills my breast:
A fable of old, through it streaming,
Allows my mind no rest.
The air is cool in the gloaming
And gently flows the Rhine.
The crest of the mountain is gleaming
In fading rays of sunshine.

The loveliest maiden is sitting
Up there, so wondrously fair;
Her golden jewelry is glist'ning;
She combs her golden hair.
She combs with a golden comb, preening,
And sings a song, passing time.
It has a most wondrous, appealing
And pow'rful melodic rhyme.

The boatman aboard his small skiff, -
Enraptured with a wild ache,
Has no eye for the jagged cliff, -
His thoughts on the heights fear forsake.
I think that the waves will devour
Both boat and man, by and by,
And that, with her dulcet-voiced power
Was done by the Loreley.


Loreley
New translation by A.Z. Foreman

I know not if there is a reason
Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.

The air is cool under nightfall.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening's final ray.

The fairest of maidens is sitting
Unwittingly wondrous up there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She's combing her golden hair.

The comb she holds is golden,
She sings a song as well
Whose melody binds an enthralling
And overpowering spell.

In his little boat, the boatman
Is seized with a savage woe,
He'd rather look up at the mountain
Than down at the rocks below.

I think that the waves will devour
The boatman and boat as one;
And this by her song's sheer power
Fair Loreley has done.





Images from Kunst und Mystic 1933.