Enjoyment of Lifedetails

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Enjoyment of Life

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This view of a verdant green meadow with a tree and a stream, a blue sky, and a scantily-clad and mostly topless woman enjoying the sheer exuberance of Spring, illustrated a verse from a poem by the famous German writer Friedrich Hölderlins.

The poem is entitled Lebensgenuß, which means enjoyment of life, is dated March 1795, and is dedicated to Neuffer; I am not sure who that was. I’ve included the full poem (as far as I can tell) but the magazine only printed the second verse to go with this picture, which is marked as by R. Bossert of Köln, almost certainly Otto Richard Bossert.

The third line of the second verse is different in Jugend Magazine than other versions I found; I kept the version here from Jugend, but the other two verses are presumably supplied from a sligthyl different version of the poem.

Noch kehrt in mich der süße Frühling wieder,

Noch altert nicht mein kindischfröhlich Herz,

Noch rinnt vom Auge mir der Tau der Liebe nieder

Noch lebt in mir der Hoffnung Lust und Schmerz.

Noch tröstet mich mit süsser Augenweide

Der blaue Himmel und die grüne Flur,

Noch reicht die Göttliche den heiligen Kelch der Freude

Die jugendliche, freundlice Natur.

Getrost! es ist der Schmerzen wert, dies Leben,

So lang uns Armen Gottes Sonne scheint,

Und Bilder beßrer Zeit um unsre Seele schweben,

Und ach! mit uns ein freundlich Auge weint.

(p. 116)

In English, using an online translation service...

The sweet spring is still coming back to me,

My childish heart still does not age,

Still the eye trickles down from me the dew of love

The hope of pleasure and pain still lives in me.

Still comforts me with sweet eye candy

The blue sky and the green corridor,

Still the Divine reaches [out with] the holy cup of joy

The youthful friendliness of nature.

Confidently! it’s worth the pain, this life,

As long as God’s sun shines on us,

And pictures of our time are hovering around our souls,

And oh! with us a friendly eye cries.

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