« PreviousContinue »
des Großen edited in the Pitt Press Series.-Gottfried Avgust Bürger, born Jan. 1, 1748, in the Harz, died at Göttingen on June 8, 1794, one of the greatest lyric poets of the eighteenth century, though a man of loose and irregular habits.-There are two poets of the name of Stolberg: the two brothers Christian and Friedrich Leopold. The former was born on Oct. 15, 1748, at Hamburg, and died at Windebye, near Eckernförde, Jan. 18, 1821. He is chiefly known by his translations from the Greek. The second, who is probably alluded to here, was born Nov. 7, 1750, and died on Dec. 6, 1819, after having become a convert to the Roman Catholic church. He is more eminent as a lyric poet.
29. Friedrich Gottlob Klopstock, born at Quedlinburg, July 2, 1724, died at Hamburg, March 14, 1803, the author of the great epic poem the Messias, and many lyric poems, chiefly hymns and odes.-Schiller and Goethe may, of course, be presumed to be generally known.
30. Friedrich Rückert, one of the most eminent German poets of the present century, was born on May 16, 1788, at Schweinfurt, died on his estate near Coburg, Jan. 31, 1866.—Johann Ludwig Uhland, one of the most popular poets of Germany, was born at Tübingen, April 26, 1787, and died there Nov. 13, 1862.
31. bedächtig 'thoughtful' (Männer, welche die Sache bedacht haben).
32. liebliche Aeste may be easily understood of the laurel used as the ornament of a poet's head. Comp. v. 40.
33. The appellation ein von Gesängen umfluthetes Eiland is highly poetical; just as the watery waves of the sea surround Sicily, it may also be said to have once been surrounded with floating waves of harmony.
34. Epicharmus, born in the island of Cos, about 540 B. C., was carried to Megara in Sicily in his infancy, and spent the latter part of his life at Syracuse at the court of Hiero. He died at the age of 90 (450) or 97 (443). He was not a lyric poet, as one might be inclined to infer from the present passage, but a writer of comedy or rather comic scenes.
35. Stesichorus of Himera in Sicily, a celebrated poet, is said to have been born B. C. 632, to have flourished about 608, and to have died in 552, at the age of 80. Stesichorus was one of the nine chiefs of lyric poetry recognized by the ancients (Class. Dict.).—Simonides of Ceos, one of the most celebrated lyric poets of Greece, was invited to Syracuse by Hiero, at whose court he lived till his death, in 467. The chief characteristics of his poetry were sweetness and elaborate finish, combined with true poetic conception and perfect power of expression.
36. İbycus, the lyric poet, was a native of Rhegium—just opposite the island of Sicily, on the Straits of Messana. The legend of the marvellous
detection of his murderers is well known and has been made the subject of a very popular ballad by Schiller.—Aeschylus, the celebrated tragic poet, born at Eleusis B. C. 525, left Athens for Sicily after he had been defeated in a tragic contest by his younger rival Sophocles; he died at Gela in 456, in the 69th year of his age.-It is well-known that the ancients used to deposit the ashes of their dead in urns or sepulcral vases.
37. Pindar, the greatest lyric poet of Greece, was born at Cynoscephalae, a village in the territory of Thebes, about B.C. 522. It is not, however, absolutely certain that Pindar visited Sicily, though more than one of his hymns turn on Sicilian affairs.
38. Theocritus, the celebrated bucolic poet, was a native of Syracuse and lived there in the reign of Hiero II. His fame rests on his faithful representations of nature and of country life.
40. The termination of the pentameter (bewilligeteft) is rather awkward. 41 sq. The poet means to say that, though aspiring after poetic laurels, he does not desire them for himself alone, but wishes to honour his country by adding new poetic treasures to her literature.
This is a genuine eldúλλco»—a small picture of a scene of natural beauty. 2. Observe the faulty trochee eine in the first foot of this line.-In prose we should say: man kann sie nicht schöner malen.
4. No neighbouring tree comes so near this beech as to touch its branches.
5. Das Gezweig is the collective of der Zweig, just as das Gebirg is of der Berg.
6. still 'quietly'; the delight derived from the contemplation of the green grassplot is of a quiet kind, since the eye is not distracted by a great variety of colours.
7. gleich 'equally,' i. e. to an equal distance.—umzirken is rare instead of umzirkeln, i. e. to surround in a circle.
8. kunstlos, unassisted by art.
10. At some distance from the beech, high trees begin again to rise and prevent the blue sky being seen through their branches.
13. The poet lost in admiration of the new creations called forth by summer, strayed into the thicket and discovered this splendid tree.
15. The protecting deity of the wood is said to have listened to the footsteps of the poet and to have led him to this secluded spot.
17. The 'hour of noon' is called 'high,' because at that time the sun stands high above our heads.
18. The omission of the verb war is very effective in this place. The bird had hid itself in the leaves and had ceased its singing.
19. The 'delicate carpet' is the grassplot. The poet expresses himself, as if he were afraid of spoiling the beauty of this natural carpet.
25. According to the belief of the ancients, the tranquil silence of noon was sacred to Pan, who was then said to hold his siesta. The expression dämonische Stille may, perhaps, be understood with reference to this silence sacred to a δαίμων.
26. innerer Sinn 'inner sense' is suggestive of the whole feeling and thinking within a human breast and mind.
28. etwas denken means to have one's thought completely taken up with a certain subject.
An idyl almost epigrammatic in its brief and distinct description of a Greek monastery in ruins. It may be observed that the poet spent a considerable number of years in Greece.
4. nimmer would seem here to retain its original sense of nie mehr.— Ewige Lampe denotes the sacred lamp always kept burning in the chancel of a Greek church.
5. We say both der Quell and die Quelle.
After his exile from Athens, Themistocles went to Asia and was graciously received by the Persian king, to whom he offered his services. He died before he was compelled to serve against his own country. His ashes are said to have been secretly conveyed to Attica and to have been deposited not far from the frontier.
I. Das Gewoge or Gewog is the collective of die Woge; see note on XXII. 5. 4. It was customary to pour wine on the ashes of the departed as an offering to the Manes.
7. Denksteinlos is a word probably coined by our poet; 'without a monument.'-Spätroth, the last glow of the setting sun.
8. Mal=Denkmal.-Themistocles obtained the victory of Salamis over the Persians, 480 B. C.
I. 'If you have rid yourself of egotism or selfish feelings, you may safely follow the prompting of your soul. Then you need not be disturbed in your decisions by the doubting criticism of outsiders.'
3. Hang Abhang.—Die Unschuld should, of course, be taken in the sense
of der Unschuldige.
An allusion to the history of Daniel in the lions' den.
5. Even adversity furnishes the innocent with some 'sweet uses' and lifts them up to higher honour.
9. Alexander of Macedon is styled 'the powerful darling of Fortune,' on account of the great power heaped upon him by Fortune.
IO. Alexander became so much intoxicated with his excessive fortune that he imagined himself to be a god, and forgot his human origin. He gave out that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon and commanded his subjects to adore him like a god.
1. Lehre Belehrung; a precept which comes from outside.
3. und wär' es wenn es auch...wäre.-es frommt mir, 'it benefits me'=e8 gereicht mir zum Frommen.
4. In order to profit by the lessons of another, you must have something in your own soul to respond to it.
5. 'Miracles cannot be understood with the intellect, you must experience them in your own person.'
6. Wahn denotes an unfounded opinion. All faith is merely imaginary, as long as the power of faith has not been operative within our very soul. 7. dir=zu dir. Real faith should be like a divine inspiration, come down to us from above.
8. ein lebendiger Hauch 'like a breath of life.'-In prose: die Macht dich zu verwandeln.
Shakespeare was not only one of the profoundest investigators of the human heart, but he was also one of the most devout worshippers of divine Providence as manifested in the varying fate of men. All the great works of Shakespeare may be said to be an illustration of some eternal law of morality.
4. die Dinge, 'the world,' rerum naturam.
I. In prose: wenn du Menschen lieben willst. The poet has chosen to place Menschen at the beginning of the sentence in order to enforce the antithesis to Gott. The sense is 'Men are loved by knowing them, God is known by loving him.'
2. In prose in jeglichem Zweig.
3. dein innerstes Leben 'the very core of your life.'
4. gezeitigt 'quite ripe, matured.'
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ON THE AUTHORS OF THE POEMS CONTAINED IN THE PRESENT VOLUME.
GEIBEL (Emmanuel), was born at Lübeck, Oct. 18, 1815, lived at Athens, 1838-40, and after his return to Germany, at various places, especially Munich; he now lives again in his native town.
GOETHE (Wolfgang), born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Aug. 28, 1749, went to Leipzig in 1765, at Frankfort again in 1768, at Strassburg in 1770, publishes Götz von Berlichingen 1772, Werther's Leiden 1773 and 1774; on Nov. 3, 1775 he arrives at Weimar, where he remained until his death, March 22, 1832. (See his 'Life' by G. H. Lewes.)
HOELDERLIN (Johann Christoph Friedrich), born at Lauffen, in the kingdom of Württemberg, March 29, 1770, died at Tübingen, June 7, 1843. MOERIKE (Eduard), born Sept. 8, 1804, lived at Stuttgart, and died June 4, 1875.
PLATEN (August, Graf von P.-Hallermünde), born at Ansbach, Oct. 24, 1796, died at Syracuse, Dec. 5, 1835.
SCHILLER (Friedrich), born at Marbach, Nov. 10, 1759, died at Weimar, May 9, 1805. (See his 'Life' by Carlyle.)
SCHLEGEL (August Wilhelm), born at Hanover, Sept. 8, 1767, travelled in Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden, with Madame de Staël, 1805, was appointed professor of literature at the University of Bonn, in 1818, and died there May 12, 1845.
Voss (Johann Heinrich), born at Sommerdorf in Mecklenburg, Feb. 20, 1751, studied at Göttingen 1772-75, lived at Wandsbeck near Hamburg till 1778, was 'rector' of a college at Otterndorf till 1782, and then at Eutin till 1802, lived then at Jena and Heidelberg, at which place he died March 29, 1826.
CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY C. J. CLAY, M.A. AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.