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  #1  
Unread 02-28-2021, 10:21 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Default Rilke, Resurrection

Resurrection
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The Count perceives some sounds;
he sees a light-filled rift;
he wakes his thirteen sons
in the ancestral crypt.

He welcomes his two wives
from afar, respectfully,
and, full of faith, all rise
to face eternity,

waiting just for Erich
and Ulrika Dorothea,
who, at seven and thirteen
.....(in sixteen hundred and ten),
had met their deaths in Flanders,
so that today they may walk
unfazed before the others.


Revisions:
S3L3 was "who, seventeen and thirteen"
S3L6-7 was "so they may calmly walk / today before the others.


Auferstehung

Der Graf vernimmt die Töne,
er sieht einen lichten Riss;
er weckt seine dreizehn Söhne
im Erb-Begräbnis.

Er grüßt seine beiden Frauen
ehrerbietig von weit -;
und alle, voll Vertrauen,
stehn auf zur Ewigkeit

und warten nur noch auf Erich
und Ulriken Dorotheen,
die, sieben- und dreizehnjährig,
.....(sechzehnhundertzehn)
verstorben sind im Flandern,
um heute vor den andern
unbeirrt herzugehn.


Literal translation:
Resurrection

The Count hears sounds;
he sees a bright crack;
he wakes his thirteen sons
in the hereditary burial.

He greets his two wives
respectfully from afar—;
and all of them, full of faith,
rise up for eternity

and wait still just for Eric
and Ulrika Dorothea,
who, seven and thirteen years old
.....(in sixteen hundred and ten),
died in Flanders,
so that today before the others
they may go undeterred.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 03-11-2021 at 11:32 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-28-2021, 05:33 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Very nicely done.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-03-2021 at 08:44 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 03-01-2021, 09:58 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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I have been puzzled by the significance of the hyphen in S3L3. Originally, I followed Edward Snow's interpretation that the "seven" was implying "seventeen" because of the hyphen, but I think it makes more sense, if the children would be frightened without their parents, for Erich to be seven, not seventeen. Other translators, such as Len Krisak and Joseph Cadora, have assumed that "seven" was implied there. I am changing it to "seven" but would be interested in hearing how others read it.

Allen, it is one of Rilke's odder poems.

Susan
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  #4  
Unread 03-02-2021, 01:20 PM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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Quote:
the "seven" was implying "seventeen" because of the hyphen
Are there many examples of the hyphen in German being used that way with numerals ending in "-zehn"? What's the likelihood of it being used this way?

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 03-02-2021 at 02:00 PM.
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Unread 03-03-2021, 04:49 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Susan, I don't see any implication here that the children would be frightened without their parents. I just see a brief pause for the family to reunite, presumably in joy, before they all procede together to the Last Judgment.

These two youngsters seem to have gone "before the others" into death, so maybe it makes sense for them to go "before the others" into the Last Judgment, too. Unless "before the others" applies to the whole family, as aristocrats, expected to lead the community into whatever comes next.
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  #6  
Unread 03-03-2021, 06:30 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Kevin, I don't know. I am familiar with how hanging hyphens operate in English, but less familiar with how they work in German. It seemed less likely to me that the "seven" would be hyphenated before "teen" than before "years-old," but I wasn't sure.

Julie, I thought that "undeterred" implied that the children might be deterred if left on their own. I assume that because the children died first, they will walk at the head of the line toward the Last Judgment. I don't think Rilke is implying that aristocrats go first.

Susan
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Unread 03-03-2021, 08:13 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Knowledge of the history would help. To a relative ignoramus like me, it's easy to misread and I think the translation would benefit from a note somewhere.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 03-03-2021 at 08:45 PM.
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  #8  
Unread 03-05-2021, 12:15 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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There might be other connotations of unbeirrt that go beyond the literal. From what I can tell, the usual colloquial context of that word seems to be occasions on which one resolutely does something in spite of not wanting to do it, which isn't quite the same as "calmly walking."

But maybe that's an appropriate translation, after all. And perhaps Rilke's point is that these youngsters' confident presence before the rest of the family would give the rest of the family courage, rather than the other way around. Those who had had more opportunity to rack up serious sins in a longer lifetime would presumably have had more cause to worry about the state of their souls.

(Gotta wonder about the thirteen sons' wives and children, if the thirteen didn't all die in childhood or youth. Where are those people in this scene?)

I'd still recommend checking a few other dictionaries to see what they have to say about that word, in case there's something helpful to you there.
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Unread 03-11-2021, 11:50 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Sorry about the delay in responding. These suggestions took some thought.

Allen, I am still not sure how much to explain about this poem in a note. Joseph Cadora included a note from a letter of Aug. 10, 1913, in which Rilke explained to Hedwig von Boddien that the two children who died youngest had been buried in Flanders, while the rest of the family was buried together in a different spot, so the family waits for those other children to arrive before proceeding to judgment.

Julie, it took a while for me to find a word that was closer to "unbeirrt" and also fit the meter. I suspect that Rilke may have been inspired to write this by viewing an actual Renaissance grave inscription, which probably would list (and possibly portray) the parents and all of the children, and may have included an explanation for why some of them were buried elsewhere. The actual names and circumstances, of course, may have been changed by Rilke, but I have seen a lot of Renaissance grave inscriptions of that sort. My guess for why all of the sons' wives and children were not included on the inscription is that the inscription was made at the time of the death of the father, and the other sons, wives, and children were not buried then.

Susan
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  #10  
Unread 03-11-2021, 03:29 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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Thanks, Susan. The timing of the daughters' passing away in Flanders was not a time of religious conflict there, which may be the reason he provided that date.
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