When is love according to poetry right

Goethe's "New Love, New Life" and Opitz's "Oh dear / let's hurry up". A comparison of disposition, speaking situation, representation of love and intention of the authors

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. "New love, new life"
2.1 Context of the "new love, new life"
2.2 Metrics and Topics
2.3 Goethe's inner conflict in relation to captivating love

3. "Oh dearest / let's hurry up"
3.1 Metrics and subject matter
3.2 Opitz's internal conflict in relation to the beloved

4. Comparison of the "New love, new life" with "Oh dearest / let's hurry up"
4.1 Introductory remarks
4.2 Differences in dispositions and speaking situations

5. Author's intention in relation to the poems

6. Sources and bibliography

1 Introduction

The meaning of the poems is very great and they keep developing over time. In the history of literature one encounters different forms, as mentioned in the quotation: "Today there are many variants of the history of literature"1, these variants are mainly influenced by the respective epoch.

It is noticeable that poems can be assigned to an epoch, as in our case "Oh dearest / let's hurry" to the Baroque epoch2 and “New Love, New Life” in those of Sturm und Drang3. By naming the epochs, I want to make it clear that poems do not simply arise out of nothing, but have a structure that influences them. Certain historical characteristics lead the authors to act according to the times.4

The main object of the present housework is the comparison of the poems of Johann Wolfgang Goethe's “New Love, New Life” with that of Martin Opitz “Ah dearest / let's hurry”.

First, the poem "New Love, New Life" is analyzed with consideration of the points of origin, metrics and subject matter. We then take a closer look at Goethe's inner conflict in relation to love. Then the poem "Oh dearest / let's hurry" is analyzed on the points of metrics and subject matter and the last point is the inner conflict Opitz ‘in relation to the beloved. Next, the differences between the two poems in terms of disposition and speaking situation will be clarified. The last point is the intention of both authors. This housework should also deal with the question of the point of view in which the authors differ with regard to the love represented in the poems and their relevance in the history of poetry should also be recorded.5

2. "New love, new life"

2.2 Context of the poem "New love, new life"

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's life was thrown off course in 1775 by his relationship with Anna Elisabeth Schönemann, also called Lili. The only 16-year-old completely mixed up Goethe's life planning at the time.6 Goethe became unhappy and felt hemmed in by this relationship. The engagement was already broken after six months because the two parents' houses were opposed to the connection. In the middle of his Sturm und Drang time, Goethe wrote the poem “Neue Liebe, neue leben”, in which he deals with the world of emotions he had shaped by his relationship with Lili.7 The poem was written as a letter to Johann Heinrich Merck. Goethe sent the poem to Betty Jacobi "for the Iris" on February 6, 1775. It appeared in this magazine in March 1775, but the poem appeared without the name of the author. The poem was included in the "Mixed Poems" of the eighth volume of the 1789 writings.8

2.3 Metrics and Topics

The poem "New Love, New Life", by Johann W. v. Goethe from the epoch of Sturm und Drang, which he wrote in 1775, is about the changes that one has to adjust to in a steady relationship and the magical spell that emanates from a beloved woman. In this case by Lili Schönemann, who again restricted his will very much.

The poem is written in the traditional form, instead of in the metric freedoms of Sturm und Drang.9 The poem consists of three stanzas with eight verses each. It is consistently written in the four-part trochee. The first four stanzas each have a tail rhyme (abab) and the four following verses a pair rhyme. The cadences appear in all stanzas according to the same scheme: the first and third verses have female cadences, i.e. two-syllable cadences, the second and fourth verses male cadences.

2.4 Analysis and Interpretation Approaches

With this poem possible problems and questions arise, these would be that discrepancies can be found on the syntactic and semantic level.10 For one, who is speaking from v. 13? Is it the heart that was first addressed or is it the self? One of the possible emerging confusions is also in v. 19. Is meant "the girl dear and loose" or perhaps "dear loose" and against whose will she holds the lyrical self, against his or her own.11

In the following analysis, it is important to include the title. The title evokes positive expectations that the poem does not confirm. You expect a nice, harmonious relationship.

The first stanza begins with two rhetorical questions that make it clear that the “heart” (v. 1) and “love” (v. 24) are addressed as contact persons, instead of the woman, they are personified.

The lyrical ego can separate its feelings and its mind and puts its own situation in the foreground. It feels oppressed by the new love, alienated and uneasy about it, this is also clear in v. 2, when he brings out the verb "pressurize". The bad and suspicious relationship between Goethe and the relationship comes from the fact that he was in love with Charlaotte Buff before Lili Schönemann. However, she was already engaged and was expecting a child, so Goethe had to live with the fact that Charlotte could not start a relationship with him.12 As a result of this experience, his following relationships were not right for him, i.e. something was missing for him, this becomes clear in this quote:

“But nothing causes this weariness more than the return of love. The first love, it is rightly said, is the only one: for in the second and through the second the highest sense of love is lost. [...] it appears ephemeral like everything that recurs. "13

This experience of heartbreak made, in my opinion, that Goethe was afraid of a new love and also viewed it as wrong, since he was the custodian, only everything that is for the first time has an important meaning. In addition, the preferred position of the ego in Goethe's poetry has an impact on the structure and course of the action depicted. You have to know that Goethe's poems often have a dialogical component or pursue an exciting togetherness.14 However, through the individual relationship, Goethe emerges a certain relationship of trust between the reader and the lyrical self. One can take Hegel as an example. In the field of poetry, Hegel assigned Goethe the preeminent position. In the entirety of the lyrical poems the poetic inner movement of an individual is represented, we can recognize this from this quote:

“Because the lyrical poet is forced to express in song everything that is poetic in his mind and consciousness [...]. In this regard, Goethe deserves special mention, who in the diversity of his rich life always behaved poetically. Here, too, he is one of the excellent people. "15

A poet has an important role and that is to clearly present his intention and to tell the reader an exciting and as real story as possible.


1 Kohlschmidt, Werner: History of German Literature from Baroque to Classical, Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam 1965, p. 5.

2 Baroque: Typical characteristics of the baroque were the vanitas thought (thought that everything is transient), memento morie (thought of death), which one should enjoy the moment and carpe diem (enjoy the day). The request to enjoy the moment is a reformulation of "Carpe diem".

3 Sturm und Drang: Feelings and freedom are in the foreground here, the self becomes the subject of literary consideration.

4 See drama theory. Texts from the baroque to the present, (ed.): Langemeyer, Peter, Stuttgart: Reclam Verlag 2011, p. 47.

5 Goethe, W. J .: Johann Wolfgang Goethe Complete Poems, Insel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig 2007, p. 43.

6 Cf. Neuhaus, Volker: Andre overslept their intoxication, mine is on the paper. Goethe's life in his poetry, Cologne 2007, p. 134.

7 See Rudolf, Ibel: The young Goethe. Life and Poetry 1767-1775, Bremen 1949, pp. 145ff.

8 Cf. Weimar, Klaus: Goethe's Gedichte 1769 - 1775. Interpretations at a beginning, (ed.): Schöningh, Ferdinand, Paderborn 1982. p. 109.

9 Cf. Neuhaus, Volker: Andre overslept their intoxication, mine is on the paper. Goethe's life in his poetry, Cologne 2007, p. 135.

10 See ibid. P. 135ff.

11 Cf. Neuhaus, Volker: Andre overslept their intoxication, mine is on the paper. Goethe's life in his poetry, Cologne 2007, p. 134.

12 See Ibel, Rudolf: The young Goethe, p. 129ff.

13 Goethe Handbuch HG: Otto, Regine / Witte Bernd (one character is missing here) Verlag J. B. Metzler, Stuttgart 1996, p. 110.

14 See Bernhardt, Rüdigen: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The lyric work, Hollefeld 2008, p. 27.

15 Joseph Kiermeier-Debrein, Goethe, The lyric work, in: Kindlers Neues LiteraturLexikon, Vol. 6, Munich, 1989, p. 433.

End of the reading sample from 17 pages