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August 08, 2014

Comments

Todd Woollen

I wondered if someone here could help me. One of my favorite authors wrote about a poem by Grillparzer. The only translation I have seen is here: https://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Miscellany:Farewell_to_Gastein

Is the translation close, and if not, how would you change it? Is "abate" the word in the 4th line?

Thank you in advance for your time and trouble.

David

Hi Todd,
Many thanks for referring to this beautiful poem by Grillparzer. I also found the translation quite charming. Who is the translator? Von Mises himself?

Yes, "abate" is a fine in that verse, although I might have used "allay" for "einlullen“.

Here is the original for anyone interested:

Abschied von Gastein.

Die Trennungsstunde schlägt, und ich muß scheiden,
So leb’ denn wohl, mein freundliches Gastein!
Du Trösterin so mancher bittern Leiden,
Auch meine Leiden lulltest du mir ein,

Was Gott mir gab, worum sie mich beneiden,

Und was der Quell doch ist von meiner Pein,
Der Qualen Grund, von Wenigen ermessen,
Du ließest mich’s auf kurze Zeit vergessen.

Denn wie der Baum, auf den der Blitz gefallen,
Mit einemmale strahlend sich verklärt,

Rings hörst du der Verwundrung Ruf erschallen,
Und jedes Aug’ ist staunend hingekehrt;
Indeß in dieser Flamme glüh’ndem Wallen
Des Stammes Mark und Leben sich verzehrt,
Der, wie die Lohe steigt vom glüh’nden Herde,

Um desto tiefer niedersinkt zur Erde.

Und wie die Perlen, die die Schönheit schmücken,
Des Wasserreiches wasserhelle Zier,
Den Finder, nicht die Geberin beglücken,
Das freudenlose, stille Muschelthier;

Denn Krankheit nur und langer Schmerz entdrücken
Das heißgesuchte, traur’ge Kleinod ihr,
Und was euch so entzückt mit seinen Strahlen,
Es ward erzeugt in Todesnoth und Qualen.

Und wie der Wasserfall, deß lautes Wogen
Die Gegend füllt mit Nebel und Getos;
Auf seinem Busen ruht der Regenbogen,
Und Diamanten schütteln rings sich los;
Er wäre gern im stillen Thal gezogen,
Gleich seinen Brüdern in der Wiesen Schoos,

Die Klippen, die sich ihm entgegensetzen,
Verschönern ihn, indem sie ihn verletzen.

Der Dichter so; wenn auch vom Glück getragen,
Umjubelt von des Beifalls lautem Schall,
Er ist der welke Baum, vom Blitz geschlagen,

Das arme Muschelthier, der Wasserfall;
Was ihr für Lieder haltet, es sind Klagen,
Gesprochen in ein freudenloses All,
Und Flammen, Perlen, Schmuck, die euch umschweben,
Gelöste Teile sind’s von seinem Leben.

Todd Woollen

Thank you for your help. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I do not know the translator, but the handwriting is not von Mises's hand. Von Mises is referring to the motivation of genius in the passage, and his introspection is palpable. Von Mises also referenced Nietzsche's poem, Ecce Homo, in the passage:

"Many a genius could have used his gifts to render his life agreeable and joyful; he did not even consider such a possibility and chose the thorny path without hesitation. The genius wants to accomplish what he considers his mission, even if he knows that he moves toward his own disaster.

Neither does the genius derive immediate gratification from his creative activities. Creating is for him agony and torment, a ceaseless excruciating struggle against internal and external obstacles; it consumes and crushes him. The Austrian poet Grillparzer has depicted this in a touching poem “Farewell to Gastein.” We may assume that in writing it he thought not only of his own sorrows and tribulations but also of the greater sufferings of a much greater man, of Beethoven, whose fate resembled his own and whom he understood, through devoted affection and sympathetic appreciation, better than any other of his contemporaries. Nietzsche compared himself to the flame that insatiably consumes and destroys itself. Such agonies are phenomena which have nothing in common with the connotations generally attached to the notions of work and labor, production and success, breadwinning and enjoyment of life."

Von Mises, Ludwig. Human Action

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