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Articulating the Unarticulated: Form, Death and Other in Keats and Rilke Author(s): William Fitzgerald Source: MLN

, Vol. 100, No. 5, Comparative Literature (Dec., 1985), pp. 949-967 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2905439 . Accessed: 09/03/2014 10:24
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Articulating theUnarticulated: Form,Death and Otherin Keats and Rilke
William Fitzgerald
. . . we shallenjoy ourselves hereafter by havingwhatwe call happiness on earthrepeatedin a finer tone,and so repeated." Keats, Letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November, 1817. like the moon,lifeundoubtedly has a side thatis continually turnedawayfrom

us . . .

Rilke, Letter to Countess Sizzo von Dreikonigstag, 1923. Keats's "To Autumn" and Rilke'sSonnets toOrpheus share a concern with mortality as also with the world of nature and things.This conjunctionis not fortuitousfor, as Blanchot has observed, "the effortto elevate death to itself. .. implies an immense responsibility withregard to things."' The two poems that I willbe considering show that Blanchot's statementis reversible and that the effort to allow thingsto speak for themselvesimpliesa recognition of our own mortality, or rather,a realization of that mortality. I have chosen two poems that address the non-human world, both of which invoke from it an agency that is not committedto the temporality of the human speaker who invokes it. They pose the questionof whethersuch an agency mightarise throughinvocation in the speaker himself,2 but conclude that thisagency can only be realized forus through our own mortality ratherthan againstit. My epigraphs contrastthe very different conceptions of the "other"

This content downloaded from 194.177.218.24 on Sun, 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

he foregrounds here. o fountain-mouth. (Sonette 2.while Rilke'sstatement thatlife has a side thatis continually turned away I hope to show how fromus relates them in a spatial contiguity. is "to divide (vocal sound) into as distinct and significant parts."4Articulation impliestemporality.Reinesspricht. Season of mistsand mellow fruitfulness.There is a contradictionbetween the invoked speech of the fountainand that of the invokinghuman speaker. o Brunnen-Mund du gebender.24 on Sun." The word schipfen means "scoop" or "ladle"."not to be drawn off (or ladled out). a speech that is indivisible.15) That inexhaustibly speaksone. Rilke invokes the inexhaustible. and so signifies the divisionof a fluid shapelessnessinto distinctparts (this implicationof the word is brought out clearly at the end of the poem). This content downloaded from 194. whichmeans first of all "inexhaustible"but also. Close bosom-friend of the maturingsun.3 thisdifference is reflectedin the formand movementof these two poems which confronta common problematic. it is the seamless flow of waterthatcannot be divided. you giver.5 Keats's famous invocationof Autumn caststhisseason of infinite extensionsand of the elided turningpoint in a similarrelationto its human speaker by mirroringAutumn's agency in the syntax itself. the sonnet.I think. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and throughout the poem.the dictionarytells us. in the contextof water. in the word unerschipflich. The fountain-mouth is invoked as a possible form of speech. du Mund der unersch6pflich Eines.218. Furthermore. Rilkehas indicated. As we mightexpect.177. youmouth an Orpheus.950 WM. the articulation of formin an enjambementthatproduces a change of perspective:the du of invocationbecomes the third person derof description. pure thing. To articulate. Rilke puts his cards on the table fromthe forhis sonnetbegins by addressingthe fountainas a speaker: start.pure and inexhaustiblebecause it is inarticulatein the original sense of that word ("not connected by joints"). FITZGERALD world of death held by these two poets: Keats's speculation that the "here after" involves a modified repetitionof our earthlyexistenceimpliesa temporalcontinuity betweenthe twoworlds.unarticulated speech of the fountainat the beginning of a poem cast in a form that is supremelyarticulatedand closed.

Where Rilke thematizesthe relationbetween his own activity and that of the fountain by invoking it as a speaker with capacities beyond his own. The present participle.laterflowers forthebees.the attemptto inhabit the articulateformsof human speech as it inhabitsnature.177. First of all.24 on Sun. the sentence structure is "o'erbrimm'd" by Keats's suspensions. The double comparative. later". This identification withAutumn's agency. which becomes a con-spiracy (breathingtogether)that never issues in a singleplot.laterflowers forthebees. And still more. Keats establishesthis relation through an identification of Autumn's perpetual loading and swellingof the formsof nature with his own stretching of linguisticarticulation. Untilthey think warmdayswillnevercease. The conspiracy of Autumn withthe maturingsun is mirroredby Keats's own invocation of Autumn. the conjunctionof the mist'sinteriority withthe warmthof the sun This content downloaded from 194. erases the goal of activity in a displacement (from quantityto time) that is characteristic of this poem.218. as in Rilke's sonnet."conspiring". for the moment.7is more optimistic and. And still more. Rilke makes no attemptto enter the interiority of the fountain'spure and indivisiblespeech.that suspends the invocationis itselfsuspended over a series of infinitives in whichthe activity of Autumn becomes almost intransitive as it is displaced from one object to another. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . To swellthegourdand plumpthehazel shells Witha sweetkernel.8 But he is not unaware of the instability of his position. Like the "clammycells" of the bees.the invocationnever expresses a demand on itsobject.extending a continuous agency and eliding the turningpoints: . Enjambement confuses rather than accents articulation.6 951 The stanza is a continuous suspension. For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. to setbuddingmore."more. Keats surrounds himselfwiththe miststhat dissolve contours and edges like the extended fruitfulness of Autumnitself..MLN Conspiring with himhowto load and bless Withfruit thevinesthatroundthethatch-eves run: To bendwith applesthemossedcottage-trees And fillall fruit with ripeness to thecore.. to setbuddingmore.more deluded than Rilke's clearheaded situatingof one speaker in relation to the other.

when the store has been gathered. The meeting of an articulatinghuman speaker with the unarticulated naturalforcehe invoked takes place. to . As each stanza is left behind as a of Autumn. This perspectivecoincides with the resolution of the suspended conspiracy ("Conspiring . a bosom friendshipthat will burn itselfout as soon as the sun burns offthe mists. stanza the and the figuresin it more exposed. du Mund.9 Already in the first as it is loading. he has allowed the relationshipto develop its own inner tension. originally completed unit the infinitivefruitfulness hidden in a conspiracy withouta plot. although the temporal limitis smudged by the speculation of the bees that "warm days will never cease.. budding and swelling of Autumn's fruitfulness. There is a tension at the end of this firststanza between the infinitiveand extended fruitfulnessinvoked from the natural world and the articulationof human temporalitythat defines a completedstageof thisforcethatis now separated fromitsproduct..The self-consciousnessof the subject whose articulate temporalityprevents him from being continuallyinternal to an is materializedin the bees. is drawn into a temporal thatmoves toward Winter.As the poem (and the day) progresses.10 The formal articulationof Rilke's sonnet emphasizes not the between them: units of its structurebut the transitions distinct 0 Brunnen-Mund. ." The stanza is here constiof nature in the honeytuted as a product. Of course. Keats cannot any more than Rilke ignore the factthat the agency he invokes is incompatible with his own articulated But instead of settingup a contradiction.952 WM. reaches the limitsof its elasticity. This content downloaded from 194.218. Until. .177.24 on Sun. which counterpointthe end-stopped progressionof the stanzas. in Keats's poem.But Keats maintainsa conarticulation stanttensionbetween thismovementand Autumn's extendingelisions of the turning point. the husk that it has shucked. as is the fruitfulness combs of the bees. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . carried by Keats's linguisticsuspensions."). who provide extended activity infinitely on an external perspective Autumn's budding and swellingat the end of the stanza. . within a succession of end-stopped stanzas of identical length. FITZGERALD is a relationshipthreatened by time. speech and temporality. These diof Autumn into three stages in the course of vide the fruitfulness of all the locus of whichit is exhausted as its sphere becomes first itsproduct or "store"and then.the landscape becomes widerand clearer. . du gebender.

Und im Hintergrund der Aquadukte Herkunft.Weither an Grabern vorbei.177. the marble ear in which you always speak. Should ajug barge in the earth thinksthat you're interrupting it.M L N 953 der unerschdpflichEines. das Marmor-Ohr in das du immer sprichst. Dies ist das schlafend hingelegteOhr. from the Apennines in its background to the ear before it. its "speech".218. spricht. Before the water's fluid face. you mouth that inexhaustibly speaks one pure thing. These enjambements divide the continuous speech of the fountain's mouth and resituate it within the articulated transference that brings the water. you marble mask. But if both poets recognize that they cannot totally sustain the initial identification with the unarticulated non-human world into This content downloaded from 194. vor des Wassers flieBendem Gesicht. The ubiquitous enjambements seem to figure the falling of the fountain's water itself as Keats's end-stopped stanzas figure perhaps the storehouses of Autumn. Only withitself it speaks then. Ein Ohr der Erde. and in the background now the aqueducts arrive. Reines. Schiebt ein Krug sich ein. you givingone. that then at the black aging of your chin falls away into the waitingvessel. Nur mit sich allein redet sie also. vom Hang des Apennins tragen sie dir dein Sagen zu. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . marmorne Maske. From far away past graves and down the sloping Apennines theybring you your speech. An ear of the earth.du.24 on Sun. dass du sie unterbrichst. so scheintes ihr. intransitive speaking becomes transitive communication.11 0 fountain-mouth. This is the ear laid sleeping down before you. As the octave falls over into the sestet with the enjambement of voruiberfallt ("falls away") the fountain is revealed as the focal point of an articulated action. das dann am schwarzen Altern deines Kinns voriiberfallt in das Gefass davor.

that at theblackagingofyour then/ chin/ fallsintothewaiting vessel) This content downloaded from 194. voruberfallt (Theybring youyourspeech.whereare they? Thinknotof them.218.gatheredenergyof the octave is poised for a moment on the "black aging" of the fountain's chin and then gushes over into the container that awaits it: tragen sie dirdein Sagen zu. In Rilke the . access to it demands a considerable sacrificeon the part of the human speaker.As we mightexpect. Here is a new kind of pure. Keats consoles a spent Autumn confrontinga depleted landscape at the beginning of the finalstanza withthe words Whereare thesongsof Spring? Aye. but one that is born out of a precise balancing of the human and the non-human in theirmutual consolation. thouhas thy musictooIt is a new kind of suspension that he findsin the sparse music of thisfinalstanza. they neverthelessrecover a tangentialor marginal relation to that world which gives their endings a distinctiveopenness. FITZGERALD which their invocation would project them. The finalactions of sacrificeand consolation on the part of Rilke and Keats respectively reflectthe differences we have already seen in the relationbetween human and non-human: Rilke begins by setting up a contradiction between the fountain and himself as speakers whereas Keats allows a tension to develop.24 on Sun. as we shall see. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .954 WM. Before consideringin more detail the differencebetween these two recoveriesof openness in the context of the articulateI will compare the movementof these two poems towards the final action. of transition frominside to outside. das dann am schwarzen Altern deinesKinns in das Gefassdavor. Rilke's turn is more acrobatic. Symptomaticof the difference between Rilke's exuberant fallingand Keats's slow protractionsare the moments of loss.177. a sacrificethat Rilke makes with greatjoy. inexhaustiblespeaking but.'2The whole action of the poem is overturnedby the revelationthat the transference of water conveyed by the fountainis in fact the earth's conversation withitself: Nur mitsichallein redetsie also. itself/ (Onlywith it speaksthen).

" Clearly the almost identical structure and generous scope of Keats's stanzas make thisbalancing a more feasible procedure for him than for Rilke. Thy hairsoft-lifted bythewinnowing wind: Or on a half-reaped furrow soundasleep. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .24 on Sun. This is in starkcontrastto Rilke's repeated accentuationof the turningpoint as reversalor leap.but as a protractedseeping: Who hathnotseen theeoftamidthystore? Sometimes whoever seeksabroadmayfind Thee sitting careless on a granary floor.to preservein theirdespite and interiority.so that time does not have to be survivedas it is in Keat's ode. where each stanza protractsand translates the same impulse into a later stage of Autumn'sprogress towardsWinter. The common problematicof these two poems is the reconciliation of an inexhaustible and unarticulatedactivity invoked from transthe non-humanworld withthe turningpointsthatarticulate. hook Drowsedwith thefumeof poppies. while all he can of Autumn's extended fruitfulness of the landstillaccounting for its exhaustion and transformation scapes in which it is active. look Or bya cyder-press with patient Thou watchest thelastoozings.MLN 955 Keats's whole middle stanza is poised before the coup de grace. And sometimes likea gleanerthoudostkeep Steadytheladen head acrossa brook. The oozings at the cider-press recall the brimmingover of the honeycombs at the end of the firststanza. Counterpointingthe progressivemovement of Autumn through the stages of Keats's stanzas is a sequence of analogies in which the same process is "repeated in a finer tone. which comes not as a sudden release of concentratedenergy.177. Rilke'sturningpointsusually involve a switchin perspective.218.But thisformaldifference reflects substantially different attitudesto change and loss: the "aging" of the fountain'schin is overlaid by the crossingof the water so that a sudden and dizzy fall from one world to another is substituted forthe undergoingof temporalchange. hoursbyhours. Take the first"articulation" of the fountain's inexhaustibly singular speaking: This content downloaded from 194. It is apparent that Keats triesto elide these turningpoints. form and eventuallyexhaust human activity.whilethy and all itstwined Sparesthenextswathe flowers. who inhabitsthe more dynamicstructure of the sonnet.

At the beginning of the second stanza we do indeed find that the Autumn which has swelled nature to its limithas been separated from what is now its "store" and has emerged as an allegorical figurein a landscape. the containing cells brim over. ?")." But in Keats elided. so that there is a continuity between the first two stanzas as well as an articulated break between Autumn as force and harvesterof its product. . fructifying Keats balances the progressive with the repetitiverelationship of Autumn's betweenthe stanzasby a displacementor transference protractedactivityfrom one mode to another. . This materializationcorresponds to Rilke's articulationof the fountain's speech in the fall from"fluid face" to "marble mask. But there is no crossing the turningpoint of its confronts over where Keats's Autumn first which coincides with the end of the first extended fruitfulness. of course.14The question both poses and dismissesthe call forAutumn to appear ("Whohath not seen thee . It is the first divisionof tain's speech as a focussingof its background. The of Autumn is no longer that of the swellinggourd or interiority plumping hazel shell. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .FITZGERALD Gesicht fliessendem du. for the question "Who the transitionhas been brilliantly hath not seen thee oft amid thystore?" both introduces Autumn under a new and later aspect as the harvesterand resolves the suspension of the traditionalrequest for appearance thathas been held over from the invocation of the firststanza. stanza.956 WM. and the crossingfromone line to the next gathersthe water'scontourlessfluid face into the chiseled outlines of the fountain's marble mask. with an articulation of the poem's own form. but rather of the surrounded harvester "drowsed by the fume of poppies.177." Keats preserves in the finite invoked from process of harvestingwhat he can of the infinitives This content downloaded from 194.24 on Sun.. Rilke's sudden switch from inside to outside is avoided in this moment of unstable poise. marmorne mask) fluidfaceyou/marble (Beforethewater's by the articulateinvoker.218. the first the "one. pure thing" and it coincides. vordes Wassers Maske. postponingthe coup de gracethat will consummate his action. The words "Until they thinkwarm days will never cease" both imply a limit and look beyond it. The fruitfulness that began to lose any sense of contours as it swelled and loaded nature becomes the drowsiness of the harvesteramid his store.'3 The enjambement is foregrounded by the suspended du.of the founrepresentation..

177.'5 This is prepared by the inverted structureof the utterance ("du. it is turned inside out so that we are switchedsuddenly to a new perspective. . .indicatinga protean and cumulativefruitfulness that eludes the speaker's grasp. vor . the pressure of time that finallyovercomes hesitation. Similarlywith his own Autumn's fruitfulness extensionsand suspensions of relationto Autumn: the syntactical a linguisticembrace ever widening to comprehend the protracted of Autumn are no longer appropriate to an Autumn fruitfulness stanIn place of the first thathas become an ubiquitous individual. . Like linguistic Autumn the harvester. Keats's use of enjambement could not be more different: likea gleanerthoudostkeep And sometimes laden head acrossa brook. for Rilke the momentof articulationis more like a reversalthan a crossing: the fluid face becomes its opposite.Keats's crossingpivotson the word "keep".MLN 957 in the firststanza. Or . whichundergoes a shiftin meaning from one line to the next.") which makes articulationa punctual event. za's repeated "with". . Or . "keep" has a finality position in the line: the last remnants of corn are gathered and stored away.It is as though the tension between the equally weighted alternativesis itselfthe squeezing of the ciderpress. Sometimes . "Drowsed". 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the second stanza presentsa wealth of alternatives("Sometimes .the speaker hesitates before this wealth. "laden head". kept. . But in the next line it becomes clear that the object of "keep" is not to be supplied from"gleaner" and thatwith This content downloaded from 194. Steadythy of transportation The formalcrossingis mimeticof the harvester's fromone of fruitfulness his burden and of Autumn's transference stage to another. . In connectionwith appropriate to its the earlier word "gleaner". .. Rilke's enjambement from "fluid face" to "marble mask" exaggerated the transition from the unarticulated to the articulate.In factthere is a progressionthroughthe stanza of images leading to the cider-presswithan increasingimpressionof weight:"hair softlifted". "cyder-press". The same suspension has been displaced onto another mode. . then comes down gently on the final tableau of the harvester watchingthe cider-press.") between which the speaker need make no choice. .just as Rilke's enjambement imitatesthe falling But of the fountainthatconvertspure speech into communication. withoutany mediation. As in the first stanza the temporal pull of the stanza's articulation is played against the suspension of a sense of goal.218.24 on Sun.

It is a typically Keatsian (or Autumnal) extension.to reinvestthisenergyin each new stage of Autumn.for he wants to present articulationas the pivotalpointof two sides thatare turnedaway fromeach other. .") withwhich the line trails away. This persistenceof Autumn'sfruitfulness in parallel withthe temporalprocess of itsexhaustionfindsitsequivalent in Rilke's reinterpretation of the fountain'sspeech. Consider the access of energyin the crossingbetween the first two quartets: du.'6The two senses (roughly"preserve" and "maintain")are closelyrelated so thatthe word is trulycarried over the line breakjust as the gleaner carrieshis laden head across the river in a way that combines stillnessand movement.Und im Hintergrund der Aquadukte Herkunft.. The focus produced by the marble mask fades with the loosely connected referenceto its background ("Und imHintergrund .218.24 on Sun.and it is in thisothernessthatthe speech of the fountainacquires a new energy ("tragen sie dir dein Sagen zu"). Like the fountain'sspeech.958 WM. . But this is preparatoryto a repetitionof the process that we observed in the previous enjambement: the unfocussedbackground to the marble mask becomes the purposefullystridingarrival (Herkunft) of the aqueducts. an elision of the turningpoint in which the dual aspect of keeping reconcilescontinuation with containment. Autumn also loses its self-identity at articulating moments. .as well as static.177. .") is typicalof his abilityin this poem to transfer energyacross the articulating that turning-points draw Autumn towardsWinter. sense ("Keep/Steady"). 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In Keats's enjambementthe energyreleased by the new meaning that accrues to "keep" in the dactylicrhythm withwhich the new line begins ("Steady thyLaden . vordes Wassers fliessendem Gesicht marmorne Maske.. In this case the change of perspectiveis effectedby reinterpreting background (Hintergrund) as origin (Herkunft). FITZGERALD "head" as object it is to be understood in a dynamic. At the end of the first stanza where Autumn moves towards its forwardlimit in the brimmingcells of the bees it is extended backwardsinto the This content downloaded from 194. The space between the stanzas is where the fountain'sbackground is claimed by the otherness of the aqueducts' arrival. Rilke's enjambement deliberately avoids such reconciliation.but in quite a different fashion. an Weither Grabern vomHang des Apennins vorbei. tragen sie dirdein Sagen zu .

for it is Summerthat has "o'erbrimm'd [the] clammycells". and this is accompanied by the re-presentation of death as mortality ("black aging") rather than the sleeping earth of the graves. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . At each of these points the articulationthat marksa limitto the forwardextension of some aspect of Autumn is counterbalancedby a dissolvingof the boundaries between Autumnand the previous season. drawing a new breath beforeeach stage. the emergence of the earth's pure speech depends on the speaking subject's willingself-sacrifice. The rhymeApennins/Kinns reduces the vast slope of the mountain to the human slope of the chin. At the crossingfromoctave to sestetin Rilke's sonnet there is a crossingof perspectives. has become a focussingof its background. The identification withor possession of the inexhaustibleinfinitivesposited by invocation of the non-human other gives way at the end of both of these poems to an interchangebetween the articulateand the non-articulate in which theyare related in their verydivergence. The shortness of breathwhichmakes the speaker articulate Autumn in stages.as spoken by the articulatingpoet. Keats's conspiracywith Autumn's extensionsbe- This content downloaded from 194. the individual's inevitableloss. But compensation is perhaps the wrong word since it implies that somethinghas survived to be compensated. for the water that has flowed past graves and down the slope of the Apennines is gathered at the black aging of the fountain's chin.24 on Sun.Rilke's crossing of perspectivescompensates the loss of pure speech fromthe fountain'spoint of view withthe appearance of the earth's pure speech.M L N 959 previous season.218. where the human speaker recognizes the inescapable temporalitythat separates his articulate being from the unarticulated other.177.becomes a deeper breathingeach timehe inhales. it is this very turningpoint thatis the locus of a true meetingwiththe other. In Rilke's turning-points the self findsits complement in the other. where the last oozings of fruitfulness have been squeezed from the landscape. At the beginningof the thirdstanza. The water that falls away from the fountain'saging mouth is the passing away thatis articulation. in Keats's the boundary between self and other is elided. thereis a further backward extensionwhen there is mourningfor the songs of Spring.The speech of the fountain.a speech that is only apparent in its interruptions.But in both cases it is the turning-point. As the end of Rilke's sonnet will make quite clear. But this fallingis at the same time the moment when the indivisibleand inexhaustiblespeech of the earth to itselfbecomes perceptible.

9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .isolated sounds that are brought togetherby the composition of the consoling and consoled poet. FITZGERALD comes problematic in the last stanza where his survival in a depleted nature leaves him verylittleto conspire with. .218.. In the finalline the gathering swallowsthatseem drawn togetherby the stanza's own gatheringto itsfinal"now" refuseto be drawn into a choir. Whereare thesongsof Spring? Ayewhereare they? Thinknotof them.'7 The tension in this stanza between composing poet and decomposing nature is considerably greater than in the precarious conspiracy of the preceding two. It is precisely this tension that constitutes the consolation of this last stanza. Then . bornealoft Or sinking as thelight windlivesor dies. exposed spaces of late Autumn individuals assert themselvesmore emphaticallythan in the cluttered profusionof earlier stages.960 WM. . both of nature and of himself. But the syntactic structure("While . Then in a wailful choirthesmallgnatsmourn Amongtheriver sallows. and now . protractions and alternatives of the previous stanzas.24 on Sun.'8 Similarly the wonderfulline "And fullgrownlambs loud bleat fromhilly bourne" presentsindividualsassertingthemselvesin the stressedmonosyllables that resistthe metricalrhythm just as the qualification"fullgrown"resists the emotional connotationsof "lambs".. where the t loses its softeningaspirate. . And touchthestubble plainswith rosyhue. And fullgrown lambsloud bleatfrom hilly bourne. thouhas thy musictooWhilebarredcloudsbloomthesoft-dying day.and "twitter in the skies".177. This sense of direction is gentlyresisted by the unconnected.") imposes a firmersense of directionthan the suspensions.19 This content downloaded from 194. . Hedge-crickets sing. Keats has become a consoler. where the indifferent sounds of an exhausted nature no longer swelledby a single forceare yetbroughtto interactin a composing consciousness.The full-throated "songs of Spring" in which a radiating center filled the landscape are exchanged for the music of late Autumn: the scattered.whose own intimations of mortality are in turn displaced onto a nature unencumbered by such consciousness.and nowwith treble soft The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft. In the open. the rhythm's elision of the middle syllableof "gathering" is counterbalanced by the spacing of the same sounds in "twitter in". And gathering swallows twitter in theskies.scatteredsounds of late Autumn.

foritsspeech is the obverse of human speech and can be heard only in the turning-point of the poet's abdication. davor. In the turningpoint where the perspective of the fountain.forthatlast word is "interrupts" (unterbrichst). which semanticallyconveys the linear relationship (vor-)is repeated in the last word of the line. (Shouldajug bargein /theearththinks thatyou'reinterrupting it. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Rilke'sfinalreversalis but the epitome of the relationof obverse to reverse in which self and other have been cast throughoutthis This content downloaded from 194.) The meddling jug is the poet who seeks to contain or draw off in the articulateshape of his poem what is inexhaustible (schbpfen) (unerschdpflich) and indivisible. and in the last lines of the poem the reversalof the I-you relationshipmarks the emergence of a new authorityfrom the abdication of the articulatingpoet. articulationbecomes a continuous murmuring.M L N 961 TVhis mutuality is absent fromRilke's sestetwhere the articulated speech of the fountain and the unarticulatedconversationof the earth withitselfdo not interpenetrate.24 on Sun. The last word of the sonnet thatclinchesits highly articulated form undermines the closure that has been achieved.20 It is not only the perspectiveof the fountainthatis relinquished at the end of Rilke's sonnet. for the two realms or perspectivesare turned away from each other in their complementarity. is relinquished that other side is revealed.and its sound is takenup by Ohrand Marmor-Ohr so thatitbecomes a murmuring that conveys the earth's continual conversation with itself. The enjambed word vorfiberfallt relates octave and sestetin a linear temporality. It is only throughthisabdicationthatthe earthcomes to speak.from whose aging chin the water falls away.The earth's conversationwithitselfthat links the graves on the Apennines to the marble ear "laid sleeping down" (schlafend hingelegtes) is the continuityof the side of lifethatis turned away fromus. so that in the last lines of the sonnet it is he who is addressed fromthe perspectiveof the earth:2' Schiebt ein Krugsichein so scheint es ihrdass du sie unterbrichst.The transitivity implied by the semanticsand positioningof vorfiberfdllt fades as its firstsyllableis dispersed as sound through the sestet.177.218. What Rilke has done is to cast his own activity in the imageryof the world he has invoked. But the first element of the word. but also that of the speaker who has articulatedits speech. it is a message delivered.

rather than the locus of a fruitfulness with which he may conspire.962 WM.24 on Sun. The other comes to speak when the poet convictshimself of being a meddling jug. This double structureis responsible for the elided turning-points and dissolving contours that accompany the self-contained stanzaic progression. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Thus the poet manages to slough offthe confinesof his own perspective by presenting his activityin terms of the non-human world. By displacing the mode in which loss appears from the oozing of cider apples thatends the harvester's workin the second stanza to the lack of the songs of Spring at the beginning of the third.had been in the previous two stanzas. The landscape as musical score is one that confrontsthe speaker/composeras a field in which he must exercise his own will.Keats discovers the sober inferiority of the human ear that draws the scatteredand attenuatedsounds of Autumnaround him by hearing them as music. But if the interiority of Autumn to landscape or of the poet to his conspiracyhas been played out it has also been recovered in another sense.and the "wailfulchoir" of the gnats rises and fallslike notes on a page of music.but on another it has been an analogical sequence that finds new versions of an extended infinitivity at each stage.and in doing so unloads the burden of materiality mortal consciousness from the speaker.for it gentlyinsistson its own and otherness. But this notation becomes musicin the human ear that hears it.22In this interchangebe- This content downloaded from 194. which balances his previous casting of the fountain as a speaker. finallyconfined to the here and now of Winters'threshold in an exhausted landscape. as burgeoning force or harvester.177. but it is an activity shared between self and other. Keats finds in the natural world of late Autumn reflections of his own compositional activity.218. The movementof the poem has been both progressiveand repetitive:on one level it has been the articulation of the fruitfulness of Autumn that marks the stages of its exhaustion. Keats himselfbecomes for the landscape what the Autumn with which he conspired. The "barred clouds" are the bar lines of a score in which the "soft-dying" cadence of the day is notated. which allows the earth to address him. But the landscape is not a passive bearer of the imprintof the speaker's will. In the final stanza Autumn has burnt through the landscape as the invokingpoet has emerged fromthe conspiracy that suspended and diffusedhuman temporality in the profusion of the natural world: protractedfruitfulness and ubiquitous harvestergive way to the listeningpoet. FITZGERALD poem.

For both Keats and Rilke the world of thingscomes to speak to By invokingthatworldas one whose us throughour own mortality.218.The realm of Orpheus comes into itsown much as does the realm of Dionysus "For itis onlyin particularexamples ofTragedy: in Nietzsche'sBirth This content downloaded from 194. othernessis cast in termsof itsrelationto the articulatetemporality of the human speaker theysituatethe meetingof human and other in the area where the poem subverts its own articulation.23In Rilke's final tercetthe figureof the meddlingjug both the poem's consciousness of its own action and subjects crystallizes thataction to another consciousness.24There is something Nietzschean about the final reversal of Rilke's sonnet.we may neverthelesssubject it to the pull of what lies beyond. which is the finesttone of his conspiracywith nature. But if we can neither suspend our movement towhat lies beyond nor experience wards that conclusion indefinitely thatconclusion. However. Keats's speculation about the "here after"comes early in a career of which "To Autumn" was the culminationand there is. where the realm of Orpheus. the notionthatthe other world is connected to thisone as a repetition expresses that "keeping" of the original in a finertone perfectly vision of fruitfulnessacross the articulating boundaries of Au"finertone" that the tension tumn's stages and the progressively between articulate and inarticulate produces.an elan of release from the burden of survivalthat is borne by Keats. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .M L N 963 tween human and non-human as theydiverge. of the earth's conversation with itself.is affirmedby thejoyful renunciationof the meddling self.human articulation is extended by the inarticulate. but itsimminence is felt in the tension between composition and decomposition in the last stanza.177. cannot bypass the articulatetemporality nor can we simplyproject ourselves into the world of the inarticfor all human action is articulatedtowards ulate by identification.and least deluded.a new intoxication possible by renunciation. its conclusion. Keats's reconciliationsare trulyAutumnal: the final. Life has a side that is continually turned away from us. ratherthan in the precarious suspensions of the original conspiracy.24 on Sun.WithRilke we entera new Spring. no mentionof the "here after"in the ode. I began by quoting two statementsabout death and its relation to life. affirmation power between selfand other and of the refining of the continuity made of time. We in whichwe are confined. of course. a side thatjoyfullycompletes us when we renounce our "wooing" and "mourning". Winternever appears in Keats's ode.

"close bosom friendof the maturingsun. There is no room for Autumn in this world where Spring is preserved by premature death and the individual will is sacrificedratherthan refined. In this sense things evoked are objects transformedinto internalforces.)26 She was almost a girl and then madeherself a bed in the poet's ear. 66.Loss of the individual becomes the gain of an impersonal whole: "Once and for all it's Orpheus when it sings."slept the world" (Sie schlief die Welt). (Paris: Gallimard. and it is thisprematuredeath that allows the song of Orpheus. The dancer who made a bed in the poet's ear. 2 "It is only as a product of poetic intervention that an object can occupy the place of addressee.2) (Almost a girlit was and issuedforth from thisconcordant joy of songand lyre. . 1955)." UCal San Diego NOTES 1 M. thatof the twenty year old dancer Wera Knoop. to arise in the poet who remembersher. the eternal life beyond all phenomena. is this ode to Autumn.964 WM. "Apostrophe. Blanchot.24 on Sun. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 155. of the totality of life and death. . as Rilke puts it in the second poem of the cycle."25 Rilke's cycleof sonnets is inspired by an early death.L'espace littegraire. who was to die so prematurelyat twenty-six."Diacritics 7 (1977)."Jonathan Culler. and despite all annihilation.177.It is a strangeironythatthe last major workof the forty-seven year old Rilkeshould be a celebrationof Spring. (1. It is the death of Wera that prompts the conception of change as a movement from obverse to reverse that we found in the enjambed reversalsof the fountainsonnet: Und fastein Madchenwarsund ginghervor aus diesemeinigen Gluckvon Sang und Leier und glanzte klardurchihreFruhlingsschleier und machte sichein Bettin meinem Ohr. p. FITZGERALD of such annihilation[viz. she "arose and slept" (sie erstand und schlief). p. writtenearlier in the same year as "To Autumn"." (Einfiiralle Male istsOrpheus wennessingt).whereas the last greatwork of Keats. and clearly shining through her springtime veils she made herself a bed insidemyear.218. 3 Keats's sonnet "Why did I laugh tonight?". of the individual] that we see clearlythe eternal phenomenon of Dionysian art . ends This content downloaded from 194.

266) quotes an interestingpun. ed. Keats spoke. 206-7. 9 For the progressiveextension of space over the three stanzas (as well as other patterns). But Death's intenser-Death is Life's high meed.a desire he expressed in a letterwrittenon the same day he described his Sunday walk to Reynolds. by widening speculation to ease the Burden of the Mystery. 1973) 305-31. Rilkes "Sonette an Orpheus"[Stuttgart:Kohlhammer. 10 The rhyme-scheme contributesto the elision of the end-stopped stanzas.which suggestsan attemptto empathize withnature. though he does not actuallyreferto it. In a letterexplaining his DuineseElegiesRilke repeated his descriptionof death as the side of life that is turned away from us: "Der Tod ist die uns abgekehret. (Oxford." 8 Fry (p.von uns unbeschienene Seitedes Lebens. Wimsatt.J. at the turning-point (Wendende Punkt. 6 On Keats's "To Autumn" see GeoffreyHartman. 12 The accelerated effectof Rilke's use of the sonnet formin thiscycleis a vehicle of what Rilke calls.177. smoothnessand volubility and the rapidityof its motion. floor).see Nemoianou. pp. There is a partially visual and partiallyaural reminiscence of the rhyme of the second stanza's couplet (brook. 31) he cites some interesting examples of Keats's empathy with objects and animals. Earlier in that letterKeats declares that "An extensiveknowledge is needful to thinkingpeople-it takes away the heat and fever. Reynolds. For the This content downloaded from 194. As in the letterto Bailey.. 1973) ad loc. 213. "Poem and Ideology. Fry (p.24 on Sun. in all its euphoric vitality.218. Brady. Price (New Haven: Yale University Press.The Poet'sCalling in theEnglishOde (New Haven: Yale University Press. Palmer and M." (Letter to Witold von Hulewicz.whose concerns it refinesor intensifies. H. In a footnote(p. 3 May 1818). it can be felt. James Lott. 1979) has some veryinteresting ideas that are relevantto this poem.Paul de Man's chapter on Rilke in his Allegories ofReading (New Haven: Yale University Press. 272) sees this poem as Keats's attemptto compose withoutfever. Paul Fry. No.from one of Keats's letters:"We are in a mist.2 (1978) 205-14.12). 1980) 258-75. 7 As Nemoianou notes. 5 Rilke actuallyspeaks of the relation between human articulation and the formlessness of water in a poem writtena year after the Sonnetsto Orpheuswere completed: des Wassers Heiterkeitund Herkunft in mich nehmend durch die handgelenke (Quoted by Hermann Morchen." Certainlyin this poem the burden of the fruitfulness Keats can scarcelycomprehend at first is eased as Autumn's fruitis harvested.the Schwung derFigur. Keats here sees death as continuous withlife. "The Dialectics of Movement in Keats's 'To Autumn' " PMLA 93. and helps. perhaps unintentional..and the wideningspaces of the second and third stanzas purge the breathlessness(a mild "heat and fever") of the firststanza. K. fame and beauty are intense indeed. for instance. n." SIR 9. 2 (1970) 71-81. 1955] 314. look) in the second and fourthlines of the third(too. more. in one of these sonnets. 11 On this poem see M6rchen's useful commentary. F. store. of the billiard ball's "sense of delight from its own roundness. 13 November 1925). 4 The Shorter Oxford EnglishDictionary. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." in Literary Theory and Structure: Essaysin Honor of W.2. The first and thirdlines of the second stanza carryover the rhymeof the sixthand eighth lines of the firststanza (core. We feel 'the burden of the mystery' " (Letter to J. Virgil Nemoianou. "Keats's 'Autumn': The Poetic Consciousness and Awareness of Process. the firststanza is dominated by tactile imagery.M L N 965 Verse. hue).

Her transience."The reference to pictures supplements the musical term as though Keats were reaching toward other artistic mediums to express his insight. I stressthe word "composition"not onlybecause it is the perfectexpressionfor Keats's "putting together" of the sounds that make up Autumn's music. 1976) 173: "Gathering indicates an action. the concluding line of "To Autumn" presentssomethinglike an active tableau. The discrepancybetween the fountain'sunarticulatedtemporality and the articulatedhuman perception of it is described in some lines of Rilke quoted by M6rchen: Sie [sc." (Hartman. into Winter).177. In the second poem of the firstpart of this cycle. process withoutchange.The Symbolism ofSpace and Motionin theWorks ofRainerMaria Rilke(Frankfurt:Athenaum. provides access to a new totality. In the earlier poem this interchangeis compared to that between "good men": The ripples seem rightglad to reach those cresses And cool themselvesamong the emerald tresses.") Keats imagined an "interchangeof favors"within nature... This content downloaded from 194.ZeitundFigurbeim Spdten Rilke(Pftillingen: Neske. A temperate sharpness about it.. Really.218. De Man remarks that "the determining figure of Rilke's poetry is that of "chiasmus" which he refers to as "the crossing that reverses the attributes of word and things"(38). 1971) and RichardJayne. but it also describes a state and nothingin the contextof the poem forbidsus to take both values. If both action and state are kept in mind. withoutjoking-Dian skies-I never lik'd stubble fields so much as now-Aye betterthan the chillygreen of the Spring. Like good men in the truthof theirbehaviors.see Beda Alleman. 323). "Nothing remains of the culticdistance between votaryand personifiedpower . The while theycool themselves.966 WM. life going on (and never off." Early in his career (in "I stood tip-toe. 1972). FITZGERALD 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 significance of Figurin Rilke'slate poetry. 1975).that the bowerygreen may live: So keeping up an interchangeof favors. Michael Cooke has some fine lines on "gathering" in his Romantic Will (New Haven: Yale University Press. Hollander notes the shiftfromprimaryto auxiliaryin the verb "keep".24 on Sun.to maximum extent. 144-5.whichnow occurs between man and nature. Brunnen] Klingen uns beinah wie Zeit. By addressing the fountainas a speaker. Aber sie halten viel eher Schritt mit der wandelnden Ewigkeit. the momentof hailing or petitioning is replaced by a presumptivequestion ("Who hath not seen thee") suggesting availabilityrather than remoteness. There are some interestingobservations on this enjambement in John Hollander's Visionand Resonance: Iwo Senses of Poetic Form (New York: Oxford University Press. so that everything is her sleep. . but because it is the word he himselfused about thispoem in his letterto Reynolds (21 September 1819). The famous passage is worthquoting entire: "How beautiful the season is now-How fine the air. where Rilke introduces its human dedicatee (Wera Knoop). (81-6). Rilke sets up the reversalsby which this poem moves.theyfreshnessgive And moisture. of action and state.. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the girl who died so early is described as making a bed in the poet's ear. Somehow a stubbleplain looks warm-in the same way that some pictures look warm-this struckme so much in mySunday'swalk thatI composed upon it. . once accepted.

This content downloaded from 194. "mourn". "live or die") hover between the consciousness of the mortalspeaker and the unconscious. bare and hoary. The Birthof Tragedy Kaufmann (New York: Random House. Be all about me when I make an end.8. Oh.the opening 21 An interestingparallel is afforded by "Archaischer The bulk of the sonnet describes the poem of the second part of Neue Gedichte. "wailful". 26 Rainer Maria Rilke. Du musst dein Leben andern. Walter and The Case of Wagner.but let Autumn bold.3. Sonnets Norton. (1..) trans.. 25 FriedrichNietzsche. trans. Nicht Werbung um ein immer noch Erreichtes.218. but in the last two lines the observerssuddenly become a "du" for the statue that now sees them: denn da ist keine Stelle die dich nichtsieht. Endymion] With universal tinge of sober gold.. 9 Mar 2014 10:24:35 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .. M. 1967). D. Herter Norton (New York: to Orpheus. cyclicalworld of nature. See it [sc.M L N 967 TorsoApolls".24 on Sun.) and Nur im Raum der Ruhmung darf die Klage gehn . 104. 1924). 19. may no wintry half finished. 22 The many references to death in the final stanza ("soft-dying". (54-7) 24 The renunciation or transformation of these activities is one of the major themesof the cycle: Gesang wie du ihn lehrstist nichtBegehr.177. torso from the perspectiveof a generalized "we". commentary provide an interesting 23 Some lines in the introductionto Endymion on this last stanza: season. (1.