SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Master, without your compassion
I must despair in the abyss
Do you not want to carry me
With strong arms back to the light?
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.
Born but once to the light,
But dead a thousand times,
I am lost without you
Without you I am spoiled in myself.
When the earth moves thus,
When the air waves sunnily,
Then the flow is moved as well,
Which stands in a funereal shroud.
And in my heart shudders
A sorrowful, bitter fountain
If the springtime lurks outside,
Then a flood of anxieties will run against me.
Woe! Through poisonous earthly premises
As time flows into them,
I have sunk the shafts
And he is but weakly condemned.
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.
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.
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.
Lord, take pity upon me,
Make my heart bloom anew,
No one has taken pity upon me
From the springtimes of the earth.
Master, if all hands approach
You with sweet-filled peelings,
Then I will never pay my debt
To you with a bitter donation.
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.
The walls always collapse upon me,
Every stratum lies to me,
And hands bloodied by work
Burn in the bitter swells.
Woe! The space grows tighter,
Wilder and more deserted grow the waves,
Lord, oh lord, I can sustain it no longer,
Strike your rainbow.
Lord, I plea to you, spare me,
Lord! I heard it recently said,
Wondrous salvation resides
In your floresence.
And so I cry to you,
I cry from the bitterest depths,
Can you not then forgive that
Your servant so audaciously ripens.
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.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”