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It actually goes on -- and I tried to translate » Lindenblüte

Posted by Racer on October 28, 2006, at 15:54:40

In reply to I translate the sentiment **abuse triggers? maybe* » Racer, posted by Lindenblüte on October 28, 2006, at 9:37:46

Ja, bist du elend, und ich grolle nicht;
Mein Lieb, wir sollen beide elend sein!
Bis uns der Tod das kranke Herz bricht,
Mein Lieb, wir sollen beide elend sein!

Wohl seh ich Spott, der deinen Mund umschwebt,
Und seh dein Auge blitzen trotziglich,
Und seh den Stolz, der deinen Busen hebt,
Und elend bist du doch, elend wie ich.

Unsichtbar zuckt auch Schmerz um deinen Mund,
Verborgne Träne trübt des Auges Schein,
Der stolze Busen hegt geheime Wund,
Mein Lieb, wir sollen beide elend sein!


I did look for translations of both poems, for the non-German reader. No joy.

So, not in verse, and a lousy, non-idiomatic translation by me:

Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht,
Ewig verlornes Lieb! ich grolle nicht.
Wie du auch strahlst in Diamantenpracht,
Es fällt kein Strahl in deines Herzens Nacht.

Das weiß ich längst. Ich sah dich ja im Traum,
und sah die Nacht in deines Herzens Raum,
Und sah die Schlang, die dir am Herzen frißt, -
Ich sah, mein Lieb, wie sehr du elend bist.

I won't moan/whine/complain, and although my heart does break -- eternally absent Love! -- I won't [I really wish I knew a more precise word here] complain. Although you sparkle like diamonds, no ray brings light into your heart.

I've known this long. Oh, I saw you in dreams, and saw the darkness that reigns in your heart's domain, and saw the serpent that feasts on your heart -- I saw, my Love, how abjectly miserable you are.


And the next is harder for me, mostly because I'm not as familiar with it. Here's my best try -- I'm sure Li can correct it:

Yes, you're miserable, and I don't complain; my Love, we should both be miserable! Until death breaks the sickness in our hearts, my Love, we should both be miserable.

I see scorn floating on your mouth, and see your eyes flash defiantly, and see the pride that heaves your breast -- and yet you are miserable, as miserable as I.

Pain also flickers around your mouth, unshed tears dull the shine of your eyes, your proud breast hides a secret wound -- my Love, we should both be miserable.


Just because I can't stand leaving this darkness on this board without a little understanding, let me tell you a tiny bit about the man who wrote these.

Heinrich Heine was born in Germany, about 1800, formed typically unpopular political opinions at school which led to Germany becoming a rather unhealthy place for him to remain. He settled in France, where he lived until his death in about 1859, I believe. He married a French woman, immortalized in his poetry as "Matilde," although that was not her name. And he died after suffering unimaginably for many years.

Based on reports of his symptoms, it's likely he had ALS -- Lou Gehrig's disease. He was progressively paralyzed, and eventually mostly blind -- although what I read left me with the impression the blindness was caused by paralysis of his eyelids: he couldn't open one at all.

At any rate, he was supported during his lifetime by the French government, because of his poetry. It wasn't a great deal of money, and he and his wife did not have other financial resources to count on. His stipend from the government would cease after his death. From reading his poems about her, the picture that comes clear is much more tender and loving than these two poems would suggest. "Matilde" was the daughter of a merchant, and Heine was concerned that her lack of formal education would leave her in a great deal of trouble after his death. In fact, his will said he left everything to his wife, on condition she remarry -- "so that at least one man will regret my death." Whistling in the dark, I think, after reading more of his work.

In the end, by the way, she made much more money from his poetry after his death. His worries were fairly unfounded. Although I don't know anything about whether or not she remarried. I hope she did, though.

OK. Yes, Heine is one of my favorite poets. And the poems about his wife break my heart every time.

Li? When you read "Hortense," let me know what you think, 'K?




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