Friday, March 20, 2020

Hölderlin Looking Outward

Looking outward
The open day is bright with pictures for everyone,

when green fields appear on the distant plain,
before the light of evening yields to twilight,
and reflections of light alleviate the noise of the day.
The inner being of the world often appears clouded
and hidden, and people's minds are full of doubts
and irritation, but splendid nature cheers up their days,
and doubt's dark questions stay distant.

Friedrich Hölderlin (20 March 1770 – 17 June 1843)


Der offne Tag ist Menschen hell mit Bildern,
Wenn sich das Grün aus ebner Ferne zeiget,
Noch eh des Abends Licht zur Dämmerung sich neiget,
Und Schimmer sanft den Klang des Tages mildern.
Oft scheint die Innerheit der Welt umwölkt, verschlossen,
Des Menschen Sinn von Zweifeln voll, verdrossen,
Die prächtige Natur erheitert seine Tage
Und ferne steht des Zweifels dunkle Frage.

24. März 1671
Mit Untertänigkeit


  1. Nice.I hadn't heard of Holderstein before. Thanks

  2. Nature can be very comforting. If only it would stop raining this winter...

  3. When "doubts dark questions stay distant" this simply means that we have lost sight of reality...

    Which may be a pleasant experience, but not a valid one.

  4. Hölderlin is not one of my favourite poets, Jams, but his biography is interesting; and in this context ...

    We're meanwhile getting the 'traditional' November storms in January, Claude. ... And it never rains in Southern California. :)

    That's a bit simple, Don. Isn't it nice that when being together with Dulcinea dark questions are staying distant, for a while?
    This does not necessarily mean you have lost sight of reality.

  5. Oh, I assure you I lose sight of everything but the delights of Dulcinea in such times. I can enjoy turning my back on doubt's dark questions, but that has no effect on their validity and their determined return.

  6. Yes, yes. But where does Hölderlin in this poem put reality's validity in question?

  7. I didn't say he did. He says the splendour of Nature let's us allow doubt's dark questions to stay distant; and I agree with him, but that occurs (and most happiness occurs) when the reality that causes the dark questions and the doubts can be made distant from our thoughts. The reality still exists, it is the experience of banishing doubt's dark questions whose validity, as a reflection of reality at least, that I doubt, with my own dark questions. I don't doubt the reality of the experience I just doubt its validity as a response to reality, but I surely do welcome it when it comes. I suspect I have not exactly made myself limpid clear here, but I am no Hölderlin, ... I doubt.

  8. Thank you so very much for your patience with me, Andrew.

    Now you explained again in other words, I do see that I understood already your first comment (almost) perfectly well.
    At that time I was not sure though.

    So, after all, once again there does not fit a blade of gras between your opinion and mine. Well, almost not. :)

  9. ...and such a fine blade of grass that the final s was cut from it to almost let it fit :)

    The Peace of The Night to you, with Doubt's Dark Questions far from your sight, I hope, as they are all around me over here today and looming large in my uncomfortable view of Reality. I'll banish them to the Atlantic if I can, rather than sending them Germanywards.

  10. Ha ha ha ha [for the first part]

    And for the second: Sometimes I'd like us sitting vis-a-vis in front of a fireplace, Andrew. ...
    The peace of the night, to you, too!

  11. ...with space in front of the flames for a bottle of Lagavulin and two glasses.

    Ach we'd probably end up as "crying drunks".

  12. Ah, Lagavulin is medicine, isn't it? :)
    As we are at it: Would you like me to bring a bottle of Highland Park?

    For a moment I was close to say we might just get a bit melancholic, but then ... as long as we won't have to share the bottle with Father Jack ... :)

  13. Father Jack does not "share".

    Highland Park sounds fine to me. Two medicines better than one.

    I am getting melancholic just thinking about the scene (minus Father Jack)

  14. Uff. What makes you getting melancholic, Andrew? Thinking the scene minus Father Jack? :)

  15. You can't, of course, know how much I like your still rare smileys.
    Anyway, the less Father Jack, the more uisce beatha for us.

  16. Ah, I see the universe has looped back on itself to possibly better times. But there will doubtless be some better ahead, and equally doubtless, some worse. But we may find "the peace of the night" tonight, at least.

    1. Blessed be Hölderlin's 250th birthday; I did not even know / remember of this post's existance.
      Any Lagavullin left in Perth?

    2. Lagavulin would kill me tonight, but I have been on the Broughton Brewery Old Jock beer. Too much of it, I confess. Or perhaps just sufficient, actually. Strange thoughts and old memories in my head. But tomorrow we start again, eh? (Well, probably drinking Old Jock again ;) )

    3. Oh. A beer in memory of Jock Stein?! ;-) Great stuff to start again!

  17. Don QuiScottie de l'EcosseFriday, March 20, 2020 11:13:00 pm

    Huh? What happened? I was asleep (or dead?). Where is my feckin' lance now that we really need it? Rocinante! Seanso! Dulcinea! There is work to be done!

    1. Noble Don, you might have been "Sleeping Beauty", but woke up 93 years earlier than the princess.
      I welcome you with a colon and right parenthesis. Here' your lance. Let's go!

    2. I have tackled worse than today (Some may say without much success mind you, but Pah! they are deluded, unlike me!) I will fix everything. Found the lance, now, where is the helmet... Fear not. I have got this...

  18. Ah... so all the spirits are rising. Good. We need them all, the rising spirits.

    1. That's the plan. Rising spirits, lifting glasses, sharing joy, jokes and laughter.
      Now I am looking forward to Claude arriving with a fine bottle of Red.

  19. Red, White or Rose....
    Here I am, with my bottles.
    Cheers, dear fellows-friends.
    Thank you for inviting me.

    1. Ha! It was worth the waiting.
      At 01:40 a.m. in this neck of the woods taking
      a nip of the Red,
      a nip of the White
      and a nip of the Rosé.
      How good you heard our calling, dear Claude!
      Slaínte, and good night!