Sacred-Texts Christianity Angelus Silesius
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Many years ago in lovely Lindau on the Bodensee, I happened upon a thin volume of Angelus Silesius' couplets which startled, amused and greatly interested me. Although it was in 1657 the world had first received them it seemed to me that they had lost little of their significance in 300 years. Their pithy comments upon human frailty, their wholesome attempt to direct a way toward peace of mind, their often half concealed humor, have modern application.
The verse form is that of the somewhat unusual Alexandrine, a couplet with lines of twelve syllables, occasionally thirteen, which was used in early French romantic poems about Alexander the Great. In English it is perhaps oftenest met with as the last line in the Spencerian stanza.
To have translated all of the 1676 couplets would have been to encounter much repetition and boredom, and in a few instances, insurmountable rhyming difficulties. The selection here made was perhaps arbitrary but represents an attempt to include the most arresting of Angelus Silesius' couplets.