The 15th Song: An Epilogue To The Cycle Of Poetry

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The final poem could be considered an epilogue to the cycle. It gives a short summary of the couple’s time together and states the irrevocable truth that it has come to an end. The decay of autumn that the speaker feared in the previous poem has progressed, and the once beautiful plants turn now against him and chase him out of the disintegrating garden. The fifteenth song is the longest of the cycle and starts with a piano introduction that similarly to the poem reminisces on past events and expresses the speaker’s all-encompassing hopelessness and despair. The text’s emotional qualities inspire my intense, speaking tone at the beginning, the dynamic contrasts and a warm and tender touch for the speaker’s bittersweet recollection of past joys.
In the first three verses, he looks back on the time he spent together with the beloved in the gardens. The verb “bevölkerten” (inhabited) implies that they felt at home. The contrasting images of dusky bowers and light temples, paths and flowerbeds convey the beauty and sublimity of the place. Her smile might
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The speaker is now a foreigner who does not belong there anymore. First, he missteps on the rotten grass either because it is slippery or because his grief weakens him. Then, the personified palms prick him “with their pointed fingers”, and leaves that are crumbly from age (“mürbe”) make threatening hissing sounds that are illustrated by the onomatopoeic adjective “zischendes” (hissing). The personification of the wind as invisible hands, which move the leaves jerkily (“ruckweis”) as if they want to chase the speaker away, enhances the threatening atmosphere. The eleventh verse indicates that the speaker has left the gardens as he sees them surrounded by pallid walls. The cold, pale nothingness illustrates that the gardens, which have once been a beautiful and inviting place, no longer welcome the speaker as they slowly decay and
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