For more than a century, Friedrich Hölderlin has been considered one of the key figures in modern European literature. The translations in Odes and Elegies, including poems never before available in English, render forcefully and directly the deep longing and heartbreak of Hölderlin's poetic world. A bilingual edition, this book is the first major translation of these poems since the 1960s. Odes and Elegies opens to the English reader the unique poetic voice that marks Hölderlin's achievement and continuing influence on poetry and philosophy today.
Gladly the boatman turns home to the river's calm
From his harvest on faraway isles;
If only I too were homeward bound;
Yet what harvest have I but sorrow?
O blessèd riverbanks that raised me,
Can you ease the sorrows of love? Ah, when I come
To you, woods of my youth, will you
Grant me peace once again?
About the Author
Table of ContentsABOUT THIS BOOK INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE TRANSLATIONS THE POEMS POEMS FROM THE EARLY FRANKFURT PERIOD The Oaks To the Aether [and, smiling, the sovereigns] To Diotima ("Beautiful creature") Diotima ("You favorite of the heavenly muse") Leisure [The nations were silent, they slumbered] To Diotima ("Come and look at all the joy") THE SHORTER ODES The Unpardonable Then and Now The Lovers To the Germans (two stanzas) Her Recovery To the Young Poets The Course of Life (one stanza) To Her Genius Brevity To the Fates Apology Good Faith Diotima ("You fall silent and suffer"; two stanzas) Home (two stanzas) Human Applause The Sanctimonious Poets Socrates and Alcibiades To Our Great Poets To the Sun God Sunset Voice of the People (two stanzas) LATER ODES; ELEGIES AND ELEGIAC FRAGMENTS [When I was a boy] [Hyperion's Song of Fate] Achilles [Time was the gods walked with men] Man The Temperamental Ones Dying for the Fatherland The Time-Spirit Evening Fantasy In the Morning The Main Five Epigrams Sophocles [The Angry Poet] [The Jokers] Root of All Evil What is Mine [Each day I walk] [Go now and set, O beautiful sun] The Gods Heidelberg The Neckar Empedocles To the Germans (14 stanzas) Rousseau Home (six stanzas) Love The Course of Life (four stanzas) Her Recovery (six stanzas) Diotima ("You fall silent and suffer"; six stanzas) Return to the Homeland The Poet's Calling The Voice of the People (second version; 18 stanzas) The Poet's Courage (second version) The Fettered River The Blind Singer Stuttgart The Walk in the Country Bread and Wine Homecoming Bread and Wine (revised version) NIGHTSONGS Chiron Tears To Hope Vulcan Timidity Ganymede Half of Life Ages of Life The Shelter at Hardt APPENDIX A: NOTES TO THE POEMS POEMS, FRAGMENTS, AND REVISED STANZAS TRANSLATED IN APPENDIX A The Oaks (plan for alternative ending) Buonaparte To the Universally Known To Neuffer Descriptive Poetry [If I could hear the warning ones now] Achilles (plan for alternative ending) The Battle In the Morning (earlier draft of ending) Heidelberg (stanzas from earlier draft) To the Germans (alternate draft of ending) Her Recovery (alternate draft of ending) Diotima (earlier second stanza) Return to the Homeland (revised stanzas) The Poet's Calling (alternate draft of ending) Voice of the People (earlier draft of ending) The Poet's Courage (first version) The Walk in the Country (alternate draft of ending) Homecoming (revision of last three stanzas) Request (last stanza) APPENDIX B CHRONOLOGY OF HÖLDERIN'S LIFE
What People are Saying About This
"Hölderlin, the greatest of all German poets, explored the outer limits and the deepest depths of the German language, and has been considered untranslatable. We have waited so long for an English translation that does justice to the inexplicable mystery of his early mature work; with Hoff's beautiful versions we have one at last."Werner Herzog
"Hoff's version of the odes and elegies of Holderlin is worthy of comparison to Richard Sieburth's parallel but not competing volume. At every point, Hoff finds extraordinary ways of conveying the astonishing force of Hölderlin's work."Harold Bloom
"The poems come out as English poems, butas Dryden would have put itpoems Hölderlin might have written, had he been writing in English."Keith Waldrop, translator of Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil
"His influence on me is great and generous, as only that of the richest and most inwardly powerful can be."Rainer Maria Rilke