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 March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm

Scott Horton Debates John Rizzo on Democracy Now!

On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers

No Comment November 4, 2013, 5:17 pm

The Torture Doctors

An expert panel concludes that the Pentagon and the CIA ordered physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath

No Comment August 12, 2013, 7:55 am

Obama’s Snowden Dilemma

How will the Obama Administration handle Edward Snowden’s case in the long term?

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“In Thunupa’s footsteps grew a miraculous plant that could withstand drought, cold, and even salt, and still produce a nutritious grain.”
Photograph by Lisa M. Hamilton
Article
A Study in Sherlock·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is central to the pleasure of the Sherlock Holmes stories that they invite play, and that they were never meant to be taken seriously.”
Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele
Post
My Top 5 Metal Albums and Their Poetic Counterparts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“1. Death, The Sound of Perseverance (Nuclear Blast, 1998)”
Photograph (detail) by Peter Beste
Article
Found Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I have spent my entire adult existence in a recession. Like most people I talk to, I assume the forces that control the market are at best random and at worst rigged. The auction shows only confirm that suspicion.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Post
The School of Permanent Revolución·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The University of Venezuela has provided a consistent counterweight to governmental authority, but it has also reliably produced the elite of whatever group replaced the status quo.”
Photograph © Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez

Percentage of non-Christian Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of Christ:

52

A newly translated Coptic text alleged Judas’ kiss to have been necessitated by Jesus’ ability to shape-shift.

Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST