Dicht-Kunst; Poetic Discourse

[This page by Madeleine Brook]

Auf die unverhinderliche Art der Edlen Dicht-Kunst

TRutz / daß man mir verwehr / des Himmels milde Gaben /

den unsichtbaren Strahl / die schallend' Heimligkeit /

das Englisch Menschenwerk; das in und nach der Zeit /

wann alles aus wird seyn / allein bestand wird haben /

das mit der Ewigkeit / wird in die wette traben /

die Geistreich wunder-Lust / der Dunkelung befreyt;

die Sonn in Mitternacht / die Strahlen von sich streut /

die man / Welt-unverwehrt / in allem Stand kan haben.

Diß einig' ist mir frey / da ich sonst schier Leibeigen /

aus übermachter Macht des Vngelücks / muß seyn.

Es will auch hier mein Geist / in dieser Freyheit zeigen /

was ich beginnen wurd / im fall ich mein allein:

daß ich / O Gott / dein' Ehr vor alles würd' erheben.

Gieb Freyheit mir / so will ich Ewigs Lob dir geben.

On the irrepressible character of noble poetic discourse

Though I am denied the beneficent gifts of heaven,

the invisible ray, the ringing sanctuary,

the angelic human creation; which in and after time,

when everything will have ended, shall alone remain,

shall compete with eternity

that spirit-wit wonder-lust, freed from falling darkness;

the sun at midnight, radiating rays of light,

which, world-undenied, may be had by all ranks.

This only is free to me, who otherwise must be near enslaved,

In the overpowering power of adversity.

Even here my spirit will reveal itself in this freedom

That I would begin, even if I thought myself alone:

That I, O God, your honour would praise above all else.

Give me freedom and I will give you eternal praise.


For Greiffenberg, writing poetry was a vital part of expressing her Lutheran faith, an idea that she states passionately in this poem. As a Lutheran Christian, she argues that praising God is an intrinsic part of her being and that, despite all attempts from outside to prevent her from practising her faith, she has no choice but to continue declaring her faith in God. She extends this to encompass the act of writing poetry: for her, poetry is a way to praise God and is thus equally as irrepressible. Her imagery contrasts temporality and eternity, dark and light, captivity and freedom. Christ (l. 3 ‘das Englisch Menschenwerk’) will outlast even eternity and is the sun that shines even in the darkest hour, filling the faithful with inspiration and awe. ‘Freedom’ therefore does not mean some kind of temporal, material freedom, but a spiritual freedom provided by Christ, and since this is (more than) eternal freedom, so the believer (and Greiffenberg) is also compelled to praise God eternally.