Prompted by my recent preoccupations, perhaps, the conversation veered to Charles V’s grandfather, the first Maximilian: The Last of the Knights, as he was called, half-landsknecht, and, until you looked more carefully at Dürer’s drawing, half playing-card monarch. Someone was describing how he used to escape from the business of the Empire now and then by retiring to a remote castle in the Tyrolese or Styrian forests. Scorning muskets and crossbows and armed only with a long spear, he would set out for days after stag and wild boar. It was during one of these holidays that he composed a four-line poem, and inscribed it with chalk, or in lampblack, on the walls of the castle cellar. It was still there, the speaker said. Who told us all this? Einer? One of the Austrian couple who were with us? Probably not Robin or Lee or Basset...I’ve forgotten, just as I’ve forgotten the place we were coming from and the name of the castle. Whoever it was, I must have asked him to write it out, for here it is, transcribed inside the cover of a diary I began a fortnight later—frayed and battered now - with the old Austrian spelling painstalingly intact. There was something talismanic about these lines, I thought.

Leb, waiss nit wie lang,
Und stürb,
waiss nit wann
Muess fahren, waiss nit wohin
Mich wundert, das ich so frelich bin. (+)

They have a more hopeful drift than the comparable five lines by an earlier Caesar, especially the last line. I preferred Maximilian’s end to Hadrian’s desolating Nec ut soles dabis jocos. Forty-three translations of Hadrian's "Animula

Patrick Leigh Fermor - "A Time of Gifts" (1977)

@темы: poetry, fermor, patrick leigh, f, english-british, deutsche-oesterreichisch, deutsche, citatus, antiquity, ancient rome, 16, 1