Duino Elegies: The Tenth Elegy Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


That some day emerging at last from the terrifying visionA
I may burst into jubilant praise to assenting angelsB
That of the clear struck keys of the heart not one may failC
to sound because of a loose doubtful or broken stringD
That my streaming countenance may make me more resplendentE
That my humble weeping change into blossomsF
Oh how will you then nights of suffering be rememberedG
with love Why did I not kneel more fervently disconsolateG
sisters more bendingly kneel to receive you more looselyH
surrender myself to your loosened hair We squanderers ofI
gazing beyond them to judge the end of their durationA
They are only our winter's foliage our sombre evergreenJ
one of the seasons of our interior year not only seasonA
but place settlement camp soil and dwellingD
How woeful strange are the alleys of the City of PainK
where in the false silence created from too much noiseL
a thing cast out from the mold of emptinessM
swaggers that gilded hubbub the bursting memorialN
Oh how completely an angel would stamp out their marketG
of solace bounded by the church bought ready for useO
as clean disappointing and closed as a post office on SundayG
Farther out though there are always the rippling edgesP
of the fair Seasaws of freedom High divers and jugglers of zealQ
And the shooting gallery's targets of bedizened happinessM
targets tumbling in tinny contortions whenever some betterR
marksman happens to hit one From cheers to chance he goesS
staggering on as booths that can please the most curious tastesT
are drumming and bawling For adults ony there is somethingD
special to see how money multiplies Anatomy made amusingD
Money's organs on view Nothing concealed InstructiveU
and guaranteed to increase fertilityH
Oh and then outsideG
behind the farthest billboard pasted with posters for 'Deathless '-
that bitter beer tasting quite sweet to drinkersV
if they chew fresh diversions with itG
Behind the billboard just in back of it life is realQ
Children play and lovers hold each other asideG
earnestly in the trampled grass and dogs respond to natureR
The youth continues onward perhaps he is in love withW
a young Lament he follows her into the meadowsS
She says the way is long We live out thereX
Where And the youthY
follows He is touched by her gentle bearing The shouldersV
the neck perhaps she is of noble ancestryH
Yet he leaves her turns around looks back and wavesZ
What could come of it She is a LamentG
Only those who died young in their first state ofI
timeless serenity while they are being weanedG
follow her lovingly She waits for girlsA2
and befriends them Gently she shows themB2
what she is wearing Pearls of griefC2
and the fine spun veils of patienceD2
With youths she walks in silenceD2
But there where they live in the valleyH
an elderly Lament responds to the youth as he asksE2
We were once she says a great race we LamentsF2
Our fathers worked the mines up there in the mountainsG2
sometimes among men you will find a piece of polishedG
primeval pain or a petrified slag from an ancient volcanoH2
Yes that came from there Once we were richI2
And she leads him gently through the vast landscapeJ2
of Lamentation shows him the columns of templesB
the ruins of strongholds from which long agoH2
the princes of Lament wisely governed the countryH
Shows him the tall trees of tearsK2
the fields of flowering sadnessM
the living know them only as softest foliageL2
show him the beasts of mourning grazingD
and sometimes a startled bird flying straight throughM2
their field of vision far away traces the image of itsN2
solitary cryO2
At evening she leads him to the graves of eldersV
of the race of Lamentation the sybils and prophetsP2
With night approaching they move more softlyH
and soon there looms ahead bathed in moonlightG
the sepulcher that all guarding ancient stoneQ2
Twin brother to that on the Nile the lofty SphinxR2
the silent chamber's countenanceD2
They marvel at the regal head that has forever silentG
laid the features of manking upon the scales of the starsS2
His sight still blinded by his early deathT2
cannot grasp it But the Sphinx's gazeU2
frightens an owl from the rim of the double crownV2
The bird with slow down strokes brushesW2
along the cheek that with the roundest curveX2
and faintly inscribes on the new death born hearingD
as though on the double page of an opened bookY2
the indescribable outlineZ2
And higher up the stars New ones StarsS2
of the land of pain Slowly she names themB2
There look the Rider the Staff and thatG
crowded constellation they call the the Garland of FruitG
Then farther up toward the PoleA3
Cradle Way the Burning Book Doll WindowH2
And in the Southern sky pure as linesB3
on the palm of a blessed hand the clear sparkling MB2
standing for MothersV
Yet the dead youth must go on aloneQ2
In silence the elder Lament brings himC3
as far as the gorge where it shimmers in the moonlightG
The Foutainhead of Joy With reverance she names itG
saying In the world of mankind it is a life bearing streamD3
They reach the foothills of the mountainA
and there she embraces him weepingD
Alone he climbs the mountains of primeval painK
Not even his footsteps ring from this soundless fateG
But were these timeless dead to awaken an image for usM
see they might be pointing to th catkins hangingD
from the leafless hazels or else they might meanJ
the rain that falls upon the dark earth in early SpringD
And we who always thinkE3
of happiness as rising feel the emotionA
that almost overwhelms usM
whenever a happy thing fallsF3
Translated by Albert Ernest FlemmingD

Rainer Maria Rilke


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