Georg Herwegh | Schlechter Trost

With a sample of the information the internet has provided, Georg Herwegh, appears to be an exciting, new poet for me. His poetry offered revolutionary sentiment and his involvement in uprisings left him to “flee” quite often. There is also an interesting correspondence available to read between he and Marx. In you are up for it, there is a very dramatic reading of the poem graciously available from LibriVox. I do have to say this was an odd poem to translate; while it rhymes in the original, with the translation it was much more difficult to capture.

georg herwegh

Terrible Comfort

You will see a beautiful life,
And forever and eternally it remains yours;
It will build you golden palaces,
Only – you must first be dead!

You will go join the stars
And put yourself in their ranks,
You swing from world to world,
Only – you must first be dead.

You, a free Brutus, will boil
With Brutuses still in the assembly,
All of your chains will fall,
Only – you must first be dead.

When sinners roast in Hell,
So you will enter Heaven;
You’ll not kiss and tell,
Only – you must first be dead. – –

If the sails of the East billow,
What good is the rotten, leaking boat?
What helps the finch close to the sun,
The dead eagle carrying it upwards?

Schlechter Trost

Du wirst ein schöner Leben schauen,
Und ewig, ewig bleibt es dein;
Man wird dir goldne Schlösser bauen,
Nur – mußt du erst gestorben sein!

Du wirst bis zu den Sternen dringen
Und stellen dich in ihre Reihn,
Von Welten dich zu Welten schwingen,
Nur – mußt du erst gestorben sein.

Du wirst, ein freier Brutus, wallen
Mit Brutussen noch im Verein,
All deine Ketten werden fallen,
Nur – mußt du erst gestorben sein.

Wenn Sünder in der Hölle braten,
So gehest du zum Himmel ein;
Du wirst geküßt und nicht verraten,
Nur – mußt du erst gestorben sein. – –

Ob ihm der Ost die Segel blähe,
Was hilft’s dem morschen, lecken Kahn?
Was hilft dem Fink die Sonnennähe,
Den tot ein Adler trägt hinan?

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