1822-- Mörike at the age of 18 began his study of theology at the Univeristy of
Thinly disguised in this early poem Mörike tells us as much about himself as about
the anonymous speaker. For at the time he composed this poem he was having
trouble adjusting to the regimentation of academic life and was often reminded that
he should apply himself with more enthusiasm to his studies. He was struggling with
his doubts as to his choice of the ministry as a profession.
Moerike would rather have been free from all restraints to devote himself to art. He
disdained the noise and bustle of the city. His greatest pleasure was to break away
from the university and be out in the nearby woods and hills alone or with a small
group of choice friends. He was reclusive and sensitive. And his health was poor. It
was in solitude that he came alive and could begin to experience his creative talent.
Already in this early poem Moerike has focused the one topic that would be
predominant in all the poetry that was to come: love.
In der Huette am Berg
"Was ich lieb und was ich bitte,
Goennen mir die Menschen nicht,
Darum, kleine, moosge Huette,
Meid ich so des Tages Licht.
Bin herauf zu dir gekommen,
Wo ich oft der Welt vergaß,
Gerne sinnend bei dem frommen
Roten Kerzenschimmer saß.
Weil ich drunten mich verliere
In dem Treiben bang und hohl,
Schließe dich, du kleine Türe,
Und mir werde wieder wohl!" —
So der Einsamkeit gegeben,
Hing ich alten Träumen nach,
Doch der Flamme ruhig Weben
Trost in meine Trauer sprach.
— Leise, wie durch Geisterhaende,
Oeffnet sich die Türe bald,
Und es tritt in meine Waende
Eine liebliche Gestalt.
Was ich lieb und was ich flehte,
Freundlich, schüchtern vor mir stand,
Ohne Sinn und ohne Rede
Hielt ich die geliebte Hand;
Fuehle Locken bald und Wange
Sanft ans Antlitz mir gelegt,
Waehrend sich im sel'gen Drange
Traene mir um Traene regt.
— Freundlich Bild im himmelblauen
Kleide mit dem Silbersaum!
Werde nimmer so dich schauen,
Und mich tauuschte nur ein Traum.
Eduard Moerike 1822
In the Hut on the Hill
"What I love and what I long for,
They would always brush away,
And so, mossy little hut,
I shun now the light of day.
Have climbed the path to you,
Where I oft the world forgot,
By the glowing red of candles
Where alone I sat in thought.
For down below I lose myself
In the bustle, loud and vain,
Now close, little door, behind me,
That I find myself again!"—
Thus to solitude given over,
Old dreams would unfold,
And the calmly weaving flame
Lift sorrow from my soul.
—Softly, as if by spirit's hand,
My door then opened soon,
And a lovely maiden's ghost
Come walking into my room.
What I loved and begged for,
Stood before me gracious, shy,
Without thinking, without words
I held her precious hand in mine;
Felt curls and then a cheek
On my visage softly placed,
Overcome with holy rapture
Felt tears run down my face.
—Oh sweet figure dressed
In sky-blue with silver seams!
Never more to see thee thus
Ah, 'twas nothing but a dream.
Translation: Charles L. Cingolani Copyright © 2010