DIE BEIDEN THE COUPLE
Hugo von Hofmannsthal trans. Peter Dean
Sie trug den Becher in der Hand
- Ihr Kinn and Mund gleich seinem Rand -
So leicht and sicher war ihr Gang,
Kein Tropfen aus dem Becher sprang.

So leicht and fest war seine Hand:
Er ritt auf einem jungen Pferde,
Und mit nachlässiger Gebärde
Erzwang er, dass es zitternd stand.

Jedoch, wenn er aus ihrer Hand
Den leichten Becher nehmen sollte,
So war es beiden allzu schwer:

Denn beide bebten sie so sehr,
Dass keine Hand die andre fand
Und dunkler Wein am Boden rollte.
Her hand with beaker firm within
Round as its rim her mouth and chin -
So light and level was her step
That not a drop spilled from her cup.

So light and steady was her hand:
He rode up on a frisky horse
Which, with a motion matter-of-course,
He made to halt and, quivering, stand.

However when he had to gather
The light cup from her steadfast hold,
For both of them it proved too much:

Each of them trembled at the touch
That neither hand could find the other
And on the ground the dark wine rolled.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2004


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