Re: Marx's Time and Our Own

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Apr 08 2003 - 18:28:53 EDT

Mike L wrote in [OPE-L:8721]:

 >     Interesting. What's the source-- eg., translation?

I found it in Alan Bold ed. _The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse_
(Penguin Books, 1970).    The acknowledgements indicate that
the source is _Heinrich Heine: Paradox and Poet_, translated
by *Louis Untermeyer*, copyright 1937 by Harcourt, Brace & World 
Inc,  renewed 1965 by Louis Untermeyer.  (Listmembers might recognize 
Untermeyer's name from other writings and translations.)

A couple of other topical poems by Heine from the same source.
Note, in relation to the next poem,  in the time of Marx and Heine as in 
Iraq today "His always are the heavier weapons."


You are inspired to hardihood --
Ah, that is good!
Yet inspiration's not sufficient;
Remember, evil is omniscient.

The foe, I grant you, does not fight
For light or right,
But he is armed whatever happens;
His always are the heavier weapons.

So arm yourself,
And take your stand.
Aim well; and if the shot should carry,
Rejoice and let your heart make merry.

In reading the next poem one can not help 
but be reminded of today's news:  ironically, the 
palace walls are "tottering" and "domes and spires 
come crashing down!"  -- but they fall in Iraq 
because of an imperialist invasion rather than a 
popular rebellion -- which is what Heine had in mind.
Another irony that Heine and Marx, no doubt, would
have been appalled by is that one of the 'leaders' of
that invasion is the 'socialist' Tony Blair (hiss! boo!).


What! Think you that my flashes show me
   Only in lightnings to excel?
Believe me, friends, you do not know me,
   For I can thunder quite as well.

In sorrow you shall learn your error;
   My voice shall grow, and in amaze
Your eyes and ears shall feel the terror,
   The thundering world, the stormy blaze.

Oaks shall be rent; the word shall shatter.
   Yea, on that fiery day, the crown,
Even the palace walls shall totter,
   And domes and spires come crashing down!

The following poem was published in _Heine_ (1966),
a book in the series_Studies in European Literature and 
Thought_,  published by Bowes &  Bowes Ltd.   I wonder if 
Marx's metaphor for how the proletariat would become  the 
"gravediggers" of capitalism owes its inspiration to Heine or 
whether there is no connection (I suspect the latter)?


Their eyes are dry, for tears are blinding,
They sit at the loom and their teeth are grinding.
'We weave thy shroud, O Germany,
We weave a triple curse for thee,
We're weaving and weaving!

'A curse to the God to whom we were crying
In the winter's cold and from hunger dying,
We hoped and prayed and implored him in vain,
He fooled us, he teased us, he mocked our pain,
We're weaving and weaving!

'A curse to the king who's a rich man's lord,
Who with poor men's misery is merely bored,
Who collects his taxes from hovels and bogs,
And has us shot down in the streets like dogs.
We're weaving and weaving!

'A curse to the fatherland which we thought ours,
Where only the vilest corruption flowers,
Where blossoms are scattered before their day,
Where the worm grows fat on rot and decay,
We're weaving and weaving!

'The shuttle flies in the creaking loom.
All day and all night we weave thy doom,
We weave they shroud, Old Germany,
We weave a triple curse for thee.
We're weaving and weaving!'

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: The [OPE-L] in the subject line was put in manually
-- unfortunately.

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