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Old 10-07-2018, 10:11 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 7,545
Default Rilke, A Doge

A Doge
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The foreign envoys saw how miserly
they were with him and all his actions, for
while spurring him to great authority,
they hedged the golden dogeship round with more

and more restraints and watchdogs, out of fear
(like people who keep lions) lest they be
attacked by the same power that they were
maintaining warily in him. But he,

protected by his half-veiled wits, was not
cognizant of this and did not pause
in growing greater. What the Council thought

to overcome inside of him, instead
he overcame himself. In his gray head
it was subdued. His face showed how it was.


Ein Doge

Fremde Gesandte sahen, wie sie geizten
mit ihm und allem was er tat;
während sie ihn zu seiner Größe reizten,
umstellten sie das goldene Dogat

mit Spähern und Beschränkern immer mehr,
bange, daß nicht die Macht sie überfällt,
die sie in ihm (so wie man Löwen hält)
vorsichtig nährten. Aber er,

im Schutze seiner halbverhängten Sinne,
ward dessen nicht gewahr und hielt nicht inne,
größer zu werden. Was die Signorie

in seinem Innern zu bezwingen glaubte,
bezwang er selbst. In seinem greisen Haupte
war es besiegt. Sein Antlitz zeigte wie.


Literal translation:
A Doge

The foreign envoys saw how miserly
they were with him and everything he did;
while they spurred him on toward his greatness,
they surrounded the golden dogeship

with ever more lookouts and restraints,
fearful lest the power should attack them
that they (as one keeps lions)
warily nurtured in him. But he,

under cover of his half-concealed wits,
was not aware of this and did not pause in
becoming greater. What the Signoria

thought to overcome inside him,
he overcame himself. In his gray head
it was subdued. His face showed how.
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