Translated by Steven J. Willett
Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis in Parthenon Frieze Slab XIXX
Note: In some pentameter periods, Hölderlin places on either side of the pause (||) words that are not naturally or equally stressed in recitation. Here are examples from Part 3. line 6 and Part 4. line 4:
Daß ein Eigenes wir suchen, so weit es auch ist
Wahrlich zu einzigem Brauche vor Alters gebaut!
In some cases the striking unevenness of accent suggests there is a rhetorical purpose. I’ll let readers who know German consider that possibility. I’ve certainly reflected it in translation.
3. But in vain we conceal the heart in our breast, in vain only Still keep the courage we, master and boy, for who then Might it impede and who might us forbid our own pleasures? Heavenly fire still impels, both by day and by night Forward to break. So come! that we see the vast open spaces, That for our own we seek, so remote though it is. Certain remains One: midday it may be or only go forward Just in the middle of night, always a standard exists, Common to all, yet to each one his personal own is also fallen, Goes in advance and returns each, to wherever he can. Right! may the jubilant madness now gladly mock the mockery, When in the hallowed night suddenly singers it grips. Right, to the Isthmus come! to there, where the open sea’s roaring Near Parnassus and snow glistens on Delphian rocks; There to the land of Olympus, there on the heights of Cithaeron, Under the pine trees there, under the grapevines, from where Thebes below and Ismenos loudly roar in the country of Cadmus, Thence has come and return points there an oncoming god. 4. Blessed land of the Greeks! you home of them all the heavenly, Thus is it true, what once we in our youth had been told? Festival hall! the flooring is ocean! and tables the mountains, Truly for specialized use had been built in past times. But the thrones, where? the temple, and where the vessels, Where with nectar fulfilled, gods for delight is a song? Where, where shine they then, the far back-striking verdicts? Delphi slumbers and where rings out the mightiest fate? Where is the swift? where breaks, omnipresent fortune so fully Thundering from lucid air over the eyes to enact? Father Aether! so cried from tongue to tongue and flew off Thousands, it underwent none in a life all alone; Cured completely gladdens such wealth and shared, with strangers, Jubilation is, it grows sleeping the word’s new impact Father! clearer! and echoes, so far it may go, the ancient Sign, from parents received, striking, creating below. Thus so the Heavenly enter, deeply shaking so prospered Out of the shadow adown only to mankind is day.