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  #1  
Unread 12-12-2021, 07:47 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Default Rilke, The Adventurer, I

The Adventurer

I.

When he, among the ones who simply were,
stepped forth—the sudden one, who glowed
a glitter, as of risk, appeared
within the space around him they left void,

which smilingly he strode across, so as
to pick up for a duchess her dropped fan,
this still-warm fan, which even now he was
wanting to see drop down. And if no one

entered the window alcove with him (where
the grounds rose up like something from a dream,
if he so much as waved a hand to them),
he casually moved on to the card game
and won. And did not fail to store

up all the looks from everyone, the ones
that struck him dubiously or tenderly,
and those that glanced in mirrors, too, were seen.
He opted not to sleep again today,

just like the last long night, and bent a stare
with his own ruthless one, which was as though
it had had children born of roses, who
were being raised by someone else somewhere.


Revisions:
S2L1 was "which he crossed over, smilingly, so as"
S3L3 was "if he no more than waved a hand toward them),"
S5L1 "stare" was "gaze"
S5L3-4 was "by roses it had fathered children who / by someone somewhere else were being raised."


Der Abenteuerer

I.

Wenn er unter jene welche waren
trat: der Plötzliche, der schien,
war ein Glanz wie von Gefahren
in dem ausgesparten Raum um ihn,

den er lächelnd überschritt, um einer
Herzogin den Fächer aufzuheben:
diesen warmen Fächer, den er eben
wollte fallen sehen. Und wenn keiner

mit ihm eintrat in die Fensternische
(wo die Parke gleich ins Träumerische
stiegen, wenn er nur nach ihnen wies),
ging er lässig an die Kartentische
und gewann. Und unterließ

nicht, die Blicke alle zu behalten,
die ihn zweifelnd oder zärtlich trafen,
und auch die in Spiegel fielen, galten.
Er beschloss, auch heute nicht zu schlafen

wie die letzte lange Nacht, und bog
einen Blick mit seinem rücksichtslosen
welcher war: als hätte er von Rosen
Kinder, die man irgendwo erzog.


Literal translation:
The Adventurer

I.

When he, among those who were,
stepped in—the sudden one, who shone
a radiance, as of danger, was
in the space left empty around him,

which he smilingly crossed over, in order
to pick up for a duchess her fan:
this warm fan that he just then
was wanting to see fall down. And if no one

joined him in the window alcove
(where the parks rose into the dreamlike
if he merely gestured at them),
he went coolly to the card table
and won. And did not neglect

to retain all of the glances
that struck him dubiously or tenderly,
and even considered those that fell in mirrors.
He decided not to sleep again today,

like the last long night, and bent
a glance with his ruthless one,
which was as if it had children
by roses, who were being raised somewhere.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 03-28-2022 at 10:42 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 12-18-2021, 03:21 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Susan, I've spent almost a week trying to come up with a suggestion for the bizarre last stanza, but nothing I can come up with is better than what you have. Sorry for a not-very-useful comment!
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  #3  
Unread 03-28-2022, 08:02 AM
AZ Foreman's Avatar
AZ Foreman AZ Foreman is offline
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This reads well over all. A few small suggestions:

wenn er nur nach ihnen wies = "If he so much as waved a hand to them"

The fact that the English translation does not otherwise depart from normal prose syntax makes the verb-final clause in the last line (and to a degree the position of the adverb-phrase in the preceding line) kind of stick out. I kind of want to find a different rhyme there?

Maybe it's just having read the German first, but somehow "smilingly" especially with commas around it feels a bit more awkward than lächelnd. At very least I'd delete the commas there.
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Unread 03-28-2022, 10:43 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Thanks, Alex, I have taken your suggestions and tried some revisions to the last stanza.

Susan
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Unread 03-28-2022, 04:48 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Susan,

Scheinen means various things, of course, notably to seem, which glowed precludes. My only real nit here, looking at the German. The rest seems up to your usual high standards.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 03-28-2022, 10:37 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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John, in the context of this poem, it seems to me that the ones who "simply were" are being presented as less intriguing than the adventurer, whereas "to seem" is usually considered inferior to "to be." Also, since "schien" is followed by "ein Glanz," that suggested to me that the adventurer has a sheen of glamour and danger about him.

Susan
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  #7  
Unread 03-29-2022, 12:20 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Susan,

Fair enough! In modern German at least, it's hard to get around "to seem," which I would suggest is the verb's primary meaning.

Cheers,
John

Update: scheinbar, wahrscheinlich, usw.

Last edited by John Isbell; 03-29-2022 at 12:22 AM. Reason: usw
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Unread 05-09-2022, 10:56 AM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is offline
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I have little German and less Rilke, but for me these lovely verses are muddied by “even now he was wanting to see drop down.” “Was wanting” isn’t exactly the King’s English, and “even now he was” almost made me think he wanted the fan to drop after he had picked it up. I hope you don’t mind—not a serious suggestion—but a rough idea of what I would have expected:

the very fan, still warm, that he just now
had wanted to see drop. And if no one
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Unread 05-11-2022, 12:16 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Carl, I have been thinking about changes to the line you flagged, but have not come up with any solutions. "As" and "was" are slant rhymes, which makes "was" hard to replace without a massive rewrite. "Was wanting" is the past progressive tense, and though that is not ideal, it is an acceptable English tense to express an ongoing activity in the past. My understanding of the line is that it leads you to think that the fan has already dropped, and then it tells you that the adventurer wanted to see it drop. So either he wanted to see it to drop and it did, or he starts toward the duchess while hoping she will drop her fan. I will continue to think about it, but am not sure that I will find a solution.

Susan
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Unread 05-11-2022, 01:11 PM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is offline
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Susan, I'm used to thinking that a stative verb in the progressive has a substandard or slangy flavor, as in “I’m loving that.” Come to think of it, though, the perfect “I’ve been wanting to do that” sounds normal to me, so who knows. Anyway, as I’ve said elsewhere, grammarians would probably ruin a lot of good poetry. Sorry again for picking up this old thread; I realize now that it's frowned on.

Last edited by Carl Copeland; 05-11-2022 at 01:40 PM.
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