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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

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Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

15) ... Vom Eis befreit sind Sturm und Bäche ...

  FAUST:   FAUST.
Vom Eise befreit sind Strom und Bäche
Durch des Frühlings holden, belebenden Blick;
Im Tale grünet Hoffnungsglück;
Der alte Winter, in seiner Schwäche,
Zog sich in rauhe Berge zurück.
Von dorther sendet er, fliehend, nur
Ohnmächtige Schauer kornigen Eises
In Streifen über die grünende Flur;
Aber die Sonne duldet kein Weißes,
Überall regt sich Bildung und Streben,
Alles will sie mit Farben beleben;
Doch an Blumen fehlt's im Revier
Sie nimmt geputzte Menschen dafür.
Kehre dich um, von diesen Höhen
Nach der Stadt zurückzusehen.
Aus dem hohlen finstern Tor
Dringt ein buntes Gewimmel hervor.
Jeder sonnt sich heute so gern.
Sie feiern die Auferstehung des Herrn,
Denn sie sind selber auferstanden,
Aus niedriger Häuser dumpfen Gemächern,
Aus Handwerks- und Gewerbesbanden,
Aus dem Druck von Giebeln und Dächern,
Aus der Straßen quetschender Enge,
Aus der Kirchen ehrwürdiger Nacht
Sind sie alle ans Licht gebracht.
From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,
By the Spring's enlivening, lovely look;
The valley's green with joys of hope;
The Winter old and weak ascends
Back to the rugged mountain slope.
From there, as he flees, he downward sends
An impotent shower of icy hail
Streaking over the verdant vale.
Ah! but the Sun will suffer no white,
Growth and formation stir everywhere,
'Twould fain with colours make all things bright,
Though in the landscape are no blossoms fair.
Instead it takes gay-decked humanity.
Now turn around and from this height,
Looking backward, townward see.
Forth from the cave-like, gloomy gate
Crowds a motley and swarming array.
Everyone suns himself gladly today.
The Risen Lord they celebrate,
For they themselves have now arisen
From lowly houses' mustiness,
From handicraft's and factory's prison,
From the roof and gables that oppress,
From the bystreets' crushing narrowness,
From the churches' venerable night,
They are all brought out into light.
     

These verses are to be read as a contra point to the description that Faust give in the scene of Faust's study I. In the scene of Faust's study he feels suffocated, surrounded by mould, rotten and dead things. The missing light oppresses his chest. In a mood like this the arrival of spring is felt even more intense. Especially since in Germany the winter is long and is stronger like in Mediterenean countries (or in countries of similar climate).

If one wants to, one could see an example of the difficulty of speaking about feelings. These verses are a very precise description of what feelings there are, when spring arrives. But only in this poetic form it achieves of describing these feelings.
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