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Unread 02-27-2022, 06:53 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,569

Julie, I am doubtful that Rilke intended to suggest domestic violence with the unstrung pearls. I suspect that the pearls were put into the grave fully strung, but that the string decayed and the pearls rolled loose. I see the pearls as an image for the hetaerae themselves, now just bones. I suspect that the hetaerae died young, probably from reasons associated with their job, but most people died young back then, so it is hard to tell. In the last line, "nirgends" can be translated as "never" but also as "nowhere." I added the "at all" partly to fill out the line metrically, but also as an intensifier. My reading is that the hetaerae themselves were a kind of heaven open all the time to the men, but we heard earlier that they have their own vision of heaven, and perhaps the line suggests that the heavens are open even to the hetaerae.

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