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

March 2015

A Sage in Harlem

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Man Stopped

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Spy Who Fired Me

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Giving Up the Ghost

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Invisible and Insidious

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
No Slant to the Sun·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“She didn’t speak the language, beyond “¿cuánto?” and “demasiado,” but that didn’t stop her. She wanted things. She wanted life, new experiences, a change in the routine.”
Photograph © Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos
[Browsings]
Burn After Reading·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook in 1971. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.
“The book has hovered like an awkward question on the rim of my consciousness for years.”
© JP Laffont/Sygma/Corbis
Article
The Fourth Branch·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw student politics as a proxy battleground for their rivalry.”
Photograph © Gerald R. Brimacombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Article
The Spy Who Fired Me·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In industry after industry, this data collection is part of an expensive, high-tech effort to squeeze every last drop of productivity from corporate workforces.”
Illustration by John Ritter
Article
Invisible and Insidious·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly.”
Photograph © 2011 Massimo Mastrorillo and Donald Weber/VII

Hours per day that a death-row inmate in China wears hand and ankle restraints:

24

A multidisciplinary team detected cardiac arrhythmia in the works of Beethoven.

There was a run on cases of 5.56mm M855 green-tip rifle bullets, after the White House moved to ban their manufacture and sale because they can pierce police armor.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today