August 12th, 2008

in motion

the glorious ninth

By way of Beaker(s).
In 1785, long before Beethoven set it into choral symphony, the Ode to Joy was a poem by Friedrich Schiller. Full German text and translation can be read here, and it's pretty glorious all right. Amazing how the spirit comes through in the music:

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic powers re-unite
What custom's sword has divided
Beggars become Princes' brothers
Where thy gentle wing abides.
Joy is called the strong motivation
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy moves the wheels
In the universal time machine.
Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
Suns from the Firmament,
Spheres it moves far out in Space,
Where our telescopes cannot reach.

(Universal time machine! Powered by joy! I'm going with a literal translation on that bit.  Anachronistic, but then it would be, wouldn't it.)

Schiller was also the playwright who wrote one of my favorite lines, "Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain."
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