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Unread 08-15-2021, 10:59 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,216
Default Rilke, The Parks, IV

The Parks


And sovereign Nature, as if just displeased
by indecisive imprecision, took
commandments from these kings, so as to stack,
blissful herself, her trees’ hyperboles

and reveries of billowy green upon
the verdant carpet, and to paint the shade
of evenings, following descriptions made
by those who were in love among the lanes,

with that soft brush that seemed to hold in it
a clear-as-varnish sparkle of a smile
dissolved within it: one beloved of Nature,

not her most pre-eminent, and yet
a smile that she herself bestowed so that,
upon a rose-filled, love-devoted isle,
it might be raised to something even greater.


Und Natur, erlaucht und als verletze
sie nur unentschlossnes Ungefähr,
nahm von diesen Königen Gesetze,
selber selig, um den Tapis-vert

ihrer Bäume Traum und Übertreibung
aufzutürmen aus gebauschtem Grün
und die Abende nach der Beschreibung
von Verliebten in die Avenün

einzumalen mit dem weichen Pinsel,
der ein firnisklares aufgelöstes
Lächeln glänzend zu enthalten schien:

der Natur ein liebes, nicht ihr größtes,
aber eines, das sie selbst verliehn,
um auf rosenvoller Liebes-Insel
es zu einem größern aufzuziehn.

Literal translation:

And Nature, illustrious and as if
only indecisive impreciseness offended her,
accepted laws from these kings,
blissful herself, so as to stack up

her trees’ dreams and extravagances
of billowy green on that verdant carpet,
and to paint the evenings, according to the description
of lovers in the avenues,

with that soft brush
which seemed to contain a clear-as-varnish
sparkling smile dissolved in it:

one beloved by Nature, not her greatest,
but one that she bestowed herself,
so that on a rose-filled island of love
it might be raised to a greater one.
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Unread 08-15-2021, 11:18 PM
mignon ledgard mignon ledgard is offline
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Florida
Posts: 273
Default Susan McLean - Rilke's The Park, IV

Dear Susan,

I really like this one! And your translation is super. The only thing I notice at first read is that I would drop ‘in it’ from the first line of the penultimate strophe, since it's more than implied and then comes "within it."

I hope to come back when my headache’s gone. This Eratosphere lights up with your offerings!

Thank you,
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Unread 08-16-2021, 05:53 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 5,647

Hi Susan,

I agree, this is splendid - the rhyme on hyperboles, for instance.

No nits, just handclaps,
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Unread 08-18-2021, 09:49 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,216

Mignon, you are quite right about the overlap between "in it" and "within it," though I haven't figured out a way around that problem, given that I am also constrained by the need to rhyme. I will keep thinking about it.

John, I am glad to hear that you like it.

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