No Comment — March 20, 2008, 8:59 pm

Droste-Hülshoff – On Maundy Thursday

fusswaschung-1475

O Wundernacht, ich grüße!
Herr Jesus wäscht die Füße.
Die Luft ganz stille stand;
Man hört den Atem hallen
Und wie die Tropfen fallen
Von seiner heil’gen Hand.

Da Jesus sich tut beugen,
Ins tiefe Meer sich neigen
Wohl Inseln diesem Gruß.
Ist er so tief gestiegen,
So muß ich ewig liegen
Vor meines Nächsten Fuß.

Herr, ob sich gleich betöret
Die Seele mein empöret
Vor aller Niedrigkeit,
Daß ich vielmehr mein Leben
In Qualen aufzugeben
Für deinen Ruhm bereit:

So gib, daß ich nicht klage,
Wenn du in meine Tage
Hast alle Schmach gebannt;
Laß brennen meine Wunden,
So du mich stark befunden
Zu solchem harten Stand!

O Gott, ich kann nicht bergen,
Wie angst mir von den Schergen,
Die du vielleicht gesandt
In Krankheit oder Grämen
Die Sinne mir zu nehmen,
Zu töten den Verstand!

Es ist mir oft zu Sinnen,
Als wolle schon beginnen
Dein schweres Strafgericht;
Als dämmre eine Wolke,
Doch unbewußt dem Volke,
Um meines Geistes Licht.

Doch wie die Schmerzen schwinden,
Die mein Gehirn entzünden,
So flieht der Nebelduft,
Und mit geheimem Glühen
Fühl’ ich mich neu umziehen
Die frische starke Luft.

Mein Jesu, darf ich wählen,
Ich will mich lieber quälen
In aller Schmach und Leid,
Als daß mir so benommen,
Ob auch zu meinem Frommen,
Die Menschenherrlichkeit.

Doch ist er so vergiftet,
Daß es Vernichtung stiftet,
Wenn er mein Herz umfleußt:
So laß mich ihn verlieren,
Die Seele heimzuführen,
Den reichbegabten Geist.

Hast du es denn beschlossen,
Daß ich soll ausgegossen
Ein tot Gewässer stehn
Für dieses ganze Leben:
So will ich denn mit Beben
An deine Prüfung gehn.


Night of wonders, I greet you.
Lord Jesus washes the feet.
The air stands still,
One hears the clanging of breath
And the drops which fall
From his holy hand.

Then Jesus takes a bow
Deep into the sea islands
Must slope to this greeting.
As deep as he has climbed
So must I lie eternally
Before the feet of my neighbor.

Lord, though it may be infatuation,
Still my soul rises
Before all pettiness,
I am indeed prepared to
Surrender my life in torment
To further your glory:

So that I not complain,
Provide in my own time
That all taint be dismissed;
Let my wounds burn,
That you find me strong and ready
For such difficult conditions.

God, I cannot conceal
The dread I have of the henchmen,
Who you perhaps have dispatched
In sickness or in grief
To rob me of my sense,
To kill my reason!

I sense often that the
Time has come for your
Strict day of judgment;
As if a cloud dimmed
The light of my spirit,
Yet unbeknownst to the people.

Yet as the pains that
Inflame my head disappear,
The scent of fog lifts,
And with secret radiance,
I feel myself surrounded
With the fresh, strong air.

My Jesus, may I choose,
I would rather torment myself,
With all stigma and pain,
Rather than be seized of
Human grandeur,
Be it yet pious.

Still, he is so poisoned,
That he spreads destruction,
When he embraces my heart;
So let me lose him,
To lead the soul home,
To the richly talented guest.

Have you then resolved
That I be poured out
Standing as a still water
For the entirety of this life:
Then shivering I will go
To this your test.

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Am Grünendonnerstag (1820) in Sämtliche Werke, pp. 517-18 (C. Heselhaus ed. 1966)(S.H. transl.)

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

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

No Comment March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm

Scott Horton Debates John Rizzo on Democracy Now!

On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2014

Cassandra Among the
Creeps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

PBS Self-Destructs

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Monkey Did It

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
"In mid-August, hundreds of displaced Christians who had fled to Erbil were moved by Kurdish authorities into the concrete shell of a half-built mall. "
Photograph by Sebastian Meyer
Article
“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Iraq has every disease there is; its mind is deranged with too many voices, its organs corrupted, its limbs only long enough to tear at its own body.”
Photograph by Benjamin Busch
Post
Flying Blind·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“President Obama’s war against the Islamic State will represent, by a rough count, the eighth time the U.S. air-power lobby has promised to crush a foe without setting boot or foot on the ground.”
Article
The Monkey Did It·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Murakami’s fiction, what presents itself as a key reveals itself simultaneously to be a keyhole.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
PBS Self-Destructs·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The present state of PBS, the result of built-in deficiencies and ideological conflicts, was almost an inevitability.”
Illustration by Thomas Allen

Estimated percentage of U.S. gasoline consumption that occurs during traffic jams:

4

In India, 1.8 million female children were estimated to have died between 1985 and 2005 as an indirect result of domestic violence against their mothers; the boys of abused mothers were not at increased risk of death.

Vanilla latte and lemon pound cake continued to be the best-selling items at the Starbucks at CIA headquarters, where baristas do not write customers’ names on their cups.

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