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19. This line is a direct translation of the concluding line of the Homeric hymh εις 'Αφροδίτης: αυτάρ εγώ και σείο και άλλης μνήσομ' αοιδης.
1. Schwindelnb=lo daß es dir schwindelt. This participial construction is not accurate in a grammatical point of view. Comp. Coleridge's translation of this distich:
Strongly it bears us along in swelling and limitless billows,
III. Coleridge has translated this distich also:
In the hexameter rises the fountain's silvery column,
In the pentameter aye falling in melody back.
Der siebzigste Geburtstag is one of the most charming idyls in the German language. The subject is of exceeding simplicity. A country schoolmaster celebrates his seventieth birthday and, while he is asleep after dinner, his newly married son, who has already advanced to the dignity of pastor, arrives, with his young wife, nothing daunted by the snowstorm and the bad roads. The scene is at Stolp, now a small town, then only a village in the Prussian province of Pomerania. Comp. also v. 55.— It may be observed that there is an earlier and somewhat shorter version of this poem. We have adopted the latest version given by the poet himself.
1. Poftille, a collection of sermons on the principal Sundays of the year. The name is said to be derived from the Latin post illa (sc. verba), commonly subjoined to the texts as a phrase introductory to the sermons themselves. —German rooms are, as is well known, warmed by closed stoves, and not by open fire-places.
3. Narbe (properly 'a scar') is here used of the small indentations from which hair has been plucked away: baš Leder hat feine Narben (Sanders); braunnarbig is explained by Grimm=braungenarbt, von Leber, but without a reference.—Der Jucht, pl. Juďte, "Russian leather,' from the Russian juft; it is, however, much more common to say der Juchten.
4. gesegnet, ‘prosperous.'-Freidorf, the name once used to denote a village with a jurisdiction of its own, and not subject to a lord of the
5. Küster is derived from L. custos, the parish clerk being conceived as the 'guardian' of the sacred vessels and vestments of a church.
6. bis auf, 'with the exception of.'-Greise der Vorzeit is a somewhat quaint expression to denote sehr alte Greise. Comp. Vorwelt, below, v. 184.
7. Tamm had taught the rising generations of the village both manners (Sitte) and learning (Erkenntniß).
8. As organist he had played at the weddings, as schoolmaster he and his boys had sung the dirge at the funerals.—Observe the peculiar expression einen hinweg singen, which would literally mean, 'to get some one out of the way by singing,' but is here employed of singing at the final stage of this world's journey.
The 'comforting texts' (Sprüche) and 'exhortations' (to a godly life) are contained in the Postille.
Sein Blick starrte is less common than wurde starr.–Observe the spondaic termination of the line, which is justified in the case of a tetrasyllabic word.
Kalmant or Kalaman is a kind of woollen material, said to have been first manufactured in Brabant, though its name points to an eastern origin, as it is derived from the mediæval Greek Kaunaúklov. The English form of the word is calamanco, for which see Webster.
13. In prose we should say während ihm die Brille entglitten und sein silberfarbenes Haupthaar unbedeđt war.
17. Das erleb(e)te Heil is the long life graciously granted him by God's mercy.
18. In childish imitation of a clergyman, the boy had stood and held forth on a footstool.
19. Observe, here and in the preceding line, the omission of the plupf. of the auxiliary: hatte. This is not common in prose. -Both mit Noth and the adj. theuer in the next line express the great effort which the poor schoolmaster had to make in order to maintain his boy at the grammar school (lateinische Schule, now commonly called Gymnasium or Gelehrtenschule) and university (Akademie).
einhellig is a more select expression than its synonym einstimmig. 22. wirthlich, 'economical'; his wife was a good housewife, one of the principal virtues of German ladies.-Vorfahr is in common use, but Nachfahr, though used even by Goethe and Immermann, is antiquated now and generally superseded by Nachfolger. It should, moreover, be observed that Vorfahr commonly forms the genitive des Vorfahren, but even Goethe has once die Arbeiten eines höchst sinnigen Vorfahrs (Sanders, I. 388, 111.).
23. Fernher=aus der Ferne Her, mópowder.-seines, i.e. des Vaters. 24. The ordinary form is ter Tabad, but Tobac occurs also in Goethe,
and is still employed in the phrase das ist starter Tobad, by which we denote something strange and hard to believe.—Fracht=Frachtwagen, 'carrier.'
25. geloben is often used in the sense of promising in solemn terms.Observe the omission of daß after a verb of promising and declaring.
26. This is a shortened conditional clause, = wenn nicht (or falls nicht) Hohlwege...hemmten.-berschneien, 'to snow up'; in this and similar instances the prefix ver expresses corrupting and spoiling.–For Gründe see note on v. 78 below.
28. empfahn is archaic and poetical instead of empfangen.
30. fich etwas spenden (or spendiren) is commonly used in the sense of indulging in a luxury.
31. Sie hatten geflingt is unusual instead of sie hatten ihre Gläser erklingen lassen or angestoßen. According to Grimm's Dictionary, v. 1183, the weak verb klingen would appear to be peculiar to Voss. For the custom of gently striking the glasses together when drinking a health, we may refer to Goethe's Hermann and Dor. I. 171, Heiter flangen sogleich tie Gläser des Wirthes und Pfarrers; see our note in the edition in the Pitt Press Series. See also our Book of Ballads on German History, xxII. 53.—Observe the peculiarly disjointed position of the two genitives dependent on Gesundheit.
32. sähen=sehen möchten. 34. fort=immer weiter.
36. In prose: wenn man nur immer mit Gottvertraun und Beharrlichkeit Gutes will, das führet....
37. traut is an adj. expressing unlimited trustworthiness (comp. trauen and treu); hence it is often used as a term of endearment.
38. Imperative expressions like this, in which the verb 'to be' (sei) is omitted, are not at all uncommon in colloquial German.
39. The common form is je... desto. But in phrases of a proverbial character we often find je...je. Observe also the omission of the verb substantive.
40. Voss has varied the common proverb aller Anfang ist schwer.—Observe the difference between der Beginn, “the beginning, commencement,' and das Beginnen, “the undertaking, enterprise.'
42. Comp. St Matt. vi. 26, Sehet die Vögel unter dem Himmel an: sie såen nicht, sie ernten nicht, sie sammeln nicht in die Scheunen, und euer himmlischer Vater nähret sie toch. 28. Und warum sorget ihr für die Kleidung ? Schauet die Lilien auf dem Felde, wie sie wachsen: sie arbeiten nicht, auch spinnen sie nicht. 29. Ich sage euch, daß auch Salomo in aller seiner Berrlichkeit nicht bekleidet gewesen ist als derselben eine.
43. alten is less common than altern=alt werden.
44. Sanft=fachte, leise, allmählich.-Sinn is used in the sense of the derivative Besinnung.
45. Sorge=Sorgfalt.—The dim. Mütterchen is used in an endearing
46. fie, the two married people.
47. Rechtlich is here used as a synonym of achtbar (“ respectable'), a use of the word peculiar to Low German dialects: in High German we might say rechte Gaste, though even this would be merely colloquial.
48.' uhlen means 'to sweep clean.' The poet has employed the Low German form of the word; die Uhle (=bie Eule) denotes a besom somewhat resembling an owl, a kind of mop. In the country it is the custom to strew the floor with sand, and to sprinkle it with water. Comp. below, v. 70.
49. Gardinen (curtains') is the expression used in the North, while in the South Vorhänge is preferred.— Der Alfov is less usual than der Alkoven, but comp. the Eng. alcove (Span. alcoba, from Arabic al-kubbatu, “the vaulted room,' whence also Fr. aucube). The ‘Alkoven’ in a German house is a curtained recess frequently used as a bedchamber.
50. Teppich is here used in the sense of Tischdece.
52. Die Levkoje, from the Greek leukdv tov, 'white violet' (Engl. stock).—Spanischer Pfeffer, a variety of the plant denominated piper.-Golts lad, Engl. wall-flower.
53. Maililie, Convallaria majalis, called also Maiblumen, Mairiseli, or Zaufen in some places. This plant is frequently grown indoors.
54. The omission of the e in gescheu(e)rt is harsh, and would not occur in prose. - In the country we may still occasionally see rooms set out and decorated with plates and other crockery.
55. ftettinisch, manufactured at Stettin, the capital of the province of Pomerania.
56. Blaugeblümt=mit blauen Blumen geziert.-Feuerkiefe is likewise a Low German word, unknown in the South; Grimm, v. 673, explains ein tragbarer Ofen in volksmäßigem Gebrauch, and quotes from the Holstein dialect Kiefe, Fürtiefe, the very word used by Voss. In Switzerland small stoves of this kind are called Gluthhund, on account of the live coals with which they are filled.
57. Desem, a Low German word: eine kleine Schnellwage, die durch eine mit Blei ausgegossene Kolbe, auf einem Seile schwebend, die Last gegenüber bestimmt, Voss. Grimm, II. 1028, quotes only the present line in illustration of the word.
58. befaitet=mit Saiten bezogen.
59. bebildert is a formation foreign to ordinary prose; Grimm, 1, 1211 gives 'bebildern, imaginibus ornare' without any special reference. We should commonly say mit Bildern or Abbildungen (bildlichen Darstellungen) verziert.
61 sq. This and the following lines are capital instances of the minute description of details, in which Voss excels.
63. We learn from this line, that just as · Zacharias' had married his predecessor's daughter, his father himself, the Küster, had for his wife the daughter of his own predecessor. Die selige Küsterin, “the late wife of the (last) parish clerk' had bought this remarkable Schrank as a wedding-gift for her daughter, to keep in it her linen, which always forms the special pride of a German housewife, whose thriftiness is almost measured by the size of her Leinenschrank.-In all this description, Voss may have depicted the house of his own parents. Voss's father was a schoolmaster, his maternal grandfather a Rüster.
65. zůngeln=die Zunge vorstreden.
68. This is an instance of the prolepsis or anticipation of the subject of a dependent clause, which is thereby made the object of the main sentence -a construction so well known to the student of the Greek and Latin languages. (Here, e. g. we might say, ñ, young vonoaoa Tov gépovta és ČKELTO Kabeúdwv).-Observe the fine expression, in athmendem Schlummer, 'in breathing sleep,' instead of the prosaic in seinem Schlummer athmend.
69. It was 'a rush-bottomed chair.' The prefix be in binsenbeflochten expresses that a part only was made of rushes twisted together.
71. By so doing the good old woman prevented the clock from striking, and the cuckoo from calling out the hour. We must imagine an old-fashioned clock somewhat like the well-known Black Forest clocks.
73. Comp. the noun tas Schneegestöber, “the snowstorm.' See below, v. 163.
74. Dit=Dstwind, one of the roughest and most trying winds in the north of Germany. Comp. below, vv. 119, 182.-wirbelte=aufwirbelte with an object easily to be supplied by the reader's imagination.
75. More commonly der Krähen. The omission of the e is unusual.
77. She was not aware of speaking or rather whispering what was uppermost in her thoughts.
78. We had the expression Gründe once before, v. 26. In Northern and Central Germany this is the term used of narrow, shallow dells and glens, while Thal denotes a valley surrounded by higher hills or mountains.
79. There is a stress on muß : 'to be pitied is he who must needs