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Unread 08-24-2019, 11:45 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,086

Julie, there are several reasons that I think this poem is describing an elopement, not a kidnapping. The woman's innocent attraction to danger and violence as a child is contrasted to what she is doing now, and her conscience is described as doing violence to her home, tearing the grounds to bits. I think this symbolizes her feelings that she can't go home again, but also that she is hurting those she leaves behind. Pursuit is equated to danger, whereas pursuit would mean rescue if she were going unwillingly. I suspect that she is having second thoughts now that it is too late. The running together of the stranger's words just emphasizes how alien he has become to her, as if he is speaking a different language (when I hear a language I don't know, it is hard to tell where one word ends and another begins). These are just the assumptions that I made as I read the poem, so I don't know whether they are what Rilke meant to suggest. Every translation is a working hypothesis.

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