Portrait of Hölderlin (1792)
|Two poems in English translation by Johannes Beilharz|
When I was a boy ...
When I was a boy
And as you delight
You delighted my heart,
O all you faithful
Then I did not call you
But I knew you better
I was raised by the melody
I grew up in the arms of the gods.
[Translation of Da ich ein Knabe war ...]
Then and now
In my youth I enjoyed the morning
[Translation of Ehmals und jetzt]
Da ich ein Knabe war ... is probably one of the Hölderlin poems translated most often. What prompted me to attempt yet another version were the previous translations I am aware of – while they seemed adequate enough in translating the words, I felt that they did not approximate the original in sound and had, in part, a 20th century feeling to them.
Hölderlin was steeped in Greek spirituality – he lived in it in spirit. I received a more emotional than intellectual glimpse of this spirit through the writings of Rudolf Steiner. This was a living spirituality of which contemporary philological understanding seems to have no notion.
Johannes Beilharz, April 2005
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