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  #1  
Unread 09-20-2019, 04:36 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Default Hölderlin, The View (Die Aussicht)

The View (v1)

When people’s dwelling lives pass into distance,
Where in the distance, the time of vines then glimmers,
There also are the empty fields of summer,
The forest too appears with its dark picture.

That nature completes the image of the seasons,
That nature lingers as they go quickly gliding,
Is from fulfilment: the height of heaven shining
Upon the people, like trees wreathed in blossom.


The View (v2)

When people’s dwelling lives pass into distance,
Where in the distance, the time of vineyards gleams,
There also are the summer’s empty fields,
The forest too appears with its dark picture.

That nature completes the image of the seasons,
That nature lingers, that they glide quickly by,
Is from fulfilment; then high heaven shines
Upon the people, as trees are wreathed in blossom.


Die Aussicht

Wenn in die Ferne geht der Menschen wohnend Leben,
Wo in die Ferne sich erglänzt die Zeit der Reben,
Ist auch dabei des Sommers leer Gefilde,
Der Wald erscheint mit seinem dunklen Bilde.

Daß die Natur ergänzt das Bild der Zeiten,
Daß die verweilt, sie schnell vorübergleiten,
Ist aus Vollkommenheit, des Himmels Höhe glänzet
Den Menschen dann, wie Bäume Blüt umkränzet.


Literal translation: The View

When in(to) the distance go the people’s dwelling (living) lives
Where in(to) the distance gleams the time of vines
There (by there) is also the summer’s empty fields,
The forest appears with its dark picture

That nature completes/complements the picture of the times
That it lingers, they quickly glide over,
Is of fulfilment/perfection, the sky/heaven’s height gleams
On the people then, (in the same way) as trees are wreathed in blossom


(My German is very rusty, and this is my first attempt at a translation, so I'm probably way out of my depth posting here)

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-20-2019 at 06:48 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 09-20-2019, 05:48 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

The mighty Hoelderlin - very nice! I've got out my Michael Hamburger Poems and Fragments, which is really a superb translation, only to discover, as I'm sure you know, that "Die Aussicht" doesn't figure in it. An excellent choice then. So, let's take a look.

The View (v1)

When people’s dwelling lives pass into distance,
Where in the distance, the time of vines then glimmers,
There also are the empty fields of summer,
The forest too appears with its dark pictures.

Wenn in die Ferne geht der Menschen wohnend Leben,
Wo in die Ferne sich erglänzt die Zeit der Reben,
Ist auch dabei des Sommers leer Gefilde,
Der Wald erscheint mit seinem dunklen Bilde.

I'd take the -s off pictures. No other real nits. I might toy with "The View Out" as an option, since I find "The View" a bit weak in English. But it is a direct translation of the German.

That nature completes the image of the seasons,
That nature lingers as they go quickly gliding,
Is from fulfilment: the height of heaven shining
Upon the people, like trees wreathed in blossom.

Daß die Natur ergänzt das Bild der Zeiten,
Daß die verweilt, sie schnell vorübergleiten,
Ist aus Vollkommenheit, des Himmels Höhe glänzet
Den Menschen dann, wie Bäume Blüt umkränzet.

I'd use a semicolon not a colon, I think, for the German comma. Or maybe a dash (it's a subordinate clause). The final clause I'd render more like "as blossom wreathes trees."
Anyway, all this to say I see barely a slip in your Englishing of the German. You can tinker some with rhyme and meter, as you wish, but your German grammar and vocabulary seem to be holding up nicely. Ausgezeichnet!

Cheers,
John
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Unread 09-20-2019, 07:08 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Thanks John,

I'm glad that I seem to have the literal translation mostly right; I've corrected 'pictures' to 'picture'. I had wondered if S2L3 could be read as:

they glide over (the fact) that it lingers

I don't think so, but certainly I could read that from the English: "That it lingers, they glide over". What do you reckon?

This seems to be Hölderlin's last poem; it's the last in his collected works anyway. I'm reading 'Zeit' as 'season' in S2 because we seem to see autumn (the time of vines), summer and winter (the forest's dark picture) in S1, and spring (the blossom) at the close, so it seems to make more sense that "the image of the times". He seems to have written an awful lot about the seasons in the period after his breakdown, apparently often at a visitor's request for a poem: there are multiple late poems with the same titles: "Spring", "Summer", "Autumn", "Winter", (and also couple more entitled "Aussicht").

I wanted to use all feminine rhymes as in the original, which seems to add to the mood, but I wasn't entirely happy with "go quickly gliding", plus the ABBA pattern isn't as clear as it could be in S1, as the slant rhymes of kind overlap: 'glimmers' might be seen a slant rhyme with 'distance' as much as it is with 'summer', I guess. Hence the second version, where having the A rhymes only be feminine seemed to make that rhyme scheme clearer.

There might well be a better title. I guess in its favour 'view' has a double meaning of opinion/perspective. "The View Out" might work as suggestive of death the which I get a hint of in this poem, or maybe even "The Outlook"? In the first version, I'm using the colon because I've dropped 'then', and the colon seems to do that work for me.

Thanks again,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-20-2019 at 07:38 AM.
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Unread 09-20-2019, 07:40 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

I'm afraid I've not got round to a close look at your Version II. Sorry.
This line - "Daß die verweilt, sie schnell vorübergleiten" - as I read has I guess a waehrend implicit; it is contrasting the two clauses. I kind of like "The Outlook," which is perhaps less tendentious than "The View Out." Also, "times" - Zeiten - passing while Nature remains makes i think the most sense if we see it as seasons. The day-night repetition cycle doesn't alter enough to make this point, and "times" lacks the key repetitive element that the poet is leaning on. In short, I agree in your reading it as "seasons." I think it's necessary, il s'impose as the French say.
My German professor back in the day once said that the weird thing about Hoelderlin's late poems was not how complicated they were (like his early stuff), but how simple they were - limpid, even childlike if you will. Madness left the poet simplifying his art, which one wouldn't necessarily expect. I recently picked up the leading English-language bio of Hoelderlin, by David Constantine, but I'm afraid it's rather expensive. Hoelderlin is a hero of mine, and I do like how he wrote letter after letter to Schiller and Schiller ignored them. Hoelderlin is the greater lyric poet.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 09-20-2019, 01:10 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Thanks John,

I guess that if Hölderlin did have schizophrenia, then the 'negative' symptoms (negative in the sense of what's lost, rather than what's added) such as blunting of affect, poverty of thought, apathy, anhedonia and so one might well account for the change in his poetry.

-Matt
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Unread 09-21-2019, 03:54 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

Your list of symptoms makes sense.
I've barely begun the Constantine, and am unsure what the current thinking is on Hoelderlin's diagnosis. If it was schizophrenia, it was notably late-onset. It certainly ended his career as a poet.

Cheers,
John
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