No Comment — August 1, 2007, 7:33 am

Brentano’s ‘A Servant’s Springtime Cry from the Deep’

  1. Master, without your compassion
    I must despair in the abyss
    Do you not want to carry me
    With strong arms back to the light?

  2. With each year your goodness
    Reaches into the earth and into men’s hearts
    With each year you arouse the blooms,
    And your arouse in me the old pains.

  3. Born but once to the light,
    But dead a thousand times,
    I am lost without you
    Without you I am spoiled in myself.

  4. When the earth moves thus,
    When the air waves sunnily,
    Then the flow is moved as well,
    Which stands in a funereal shroud.

  5. And in my heart shudders
    A sorrowful, bitter fountain
    If the springtime lurks outside,
    Then a flood of anxieties will run against me.

  6. Woe! Through poisonous earthly premises
    As time flows into them,
    I have sunk the shafts
    And he is but weakly condemned.

  7. As the springs now swell about us,
    As the ground bring forth about us,
    The poisonous waves break upon us,
    Which compel no curse, no wit.

  8. I call to others, swimming, swimming,
    But no such call can be good for me,
    For in me rises the grim Deluge,
    Surging from my eyes.

  9. And then they all seemed evil growths
    To me, all these bright lambs,
    Which I greeted, sweet fruits,
    Which ripened to me into bitter bile.

  10. Lord, take pity upon me,
    Make my heart bloom anew,
    No one has taken pity upon me
    From the springtimes of the earth.

  11. Master, if all hands approach
    You with sweet-filled peelings,
    Then I will never pay my debt
    To you with a bitter donation.

  12. Oh, how I rake more deeply,
    How I create and wine,
    Never shall I flush the torrent
    Into the firm and pure foundation of crystal.

  13. The walls always collapse upon me,
    Every stratum lies to me,
    And hands bloodied by work
    Burn in the bitter swells.

  14. Woe! The space grows tighter,
    Wilder and more deserted grow the waves,
    Lord, oh lord, I can sustain it no longer,
    Strike your rainbow.

  15. Lord, I plea to you, spare me,
    Lord! I heard it recently said,
    Wondrous salvation resides
    In your floresence.

  16. And so I cry to you,
    I cry from the bitterest depths,
    Can you not then forgive that
    Your servant so audaciously ripens.

  17. That the source of light again
    Flows pure and holy in me
    One drop trickles down
    From Jesus, to me, to your bloom!

Clemens Brentano, Frühlingsschrei eines Knechtes aus der Tiefe in Brentanos Werke, vol. 1, p. 329-335 (Carl Hanser ed. 1968)(S.H. transl.)

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us If You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today