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Wednesday
Jul282010

Goethe, "Künstlers Abendlied"

A work ("The artist's evensong") by this German man of letters.  You can read the original here.

If only pure creative strength           
Could echo like quick sense's storm! 
If only sweet and pulpy form
Could flow from my cold fingers' length!

In trembling sputters I proceed,
Yet cannot leave these thoughts alone.
You feel, O Nature, to me known,
And thus must I your essence seize.

For many years in wayward tribes 
Has my poor mind your peace bethought; 
A pagan fool that values aught,
And now joy's spring will soon imbibe.

How I, O Nature, for you yearn,   
How I so wish you dear and true! 
O playful fountain all in blue,
A thousand organ pipes you'll churn! 

And all my forces you'll accrete,
And fill with mirth my weary mind.  
My narrow realm's plain words you'll bind,
And broaden to eternity. 

Reader Comments (2)

Hadi,
I appreciate the manner by which you have rendered this translation into English iambic tetrameter. Each foot of English verse is balanced, with stress placed on the appropriate syllable so as to effectively render the iambic tetrameter in translation, while at the same time making this beautiful poem accessible to non-German readers. Question: Is the German original also written in iambic tetrameter? It's difficult for me to tell. If so, was it your intention to reproduce the meter in this translation? In any regard, job well done. I am glad to have started my day with reading this.
Regards,
Paul

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Zamora

Hi Paul

Indeed, iambic tetrameter also forms the original, with the even lines syncopated one syllable for a more lustful, sing-song effect. Hope you are well and thanks for the kind comments!

Best,
Hadi

July 30, 2010 | Registered Commenterdeeblog

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