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This article is taken from PN Review 62, Volume 14 Number 6, July - August 1988.

Cornet Christoph Rilke (translated by John Hoare) Rainer Maria Rilke


..... on November 24th, 1663, Otto von Rilke auf Langenau, Gränitz und Ziegra, was invested at Linda with the posthumous portion of the demesne of Linda which had formerly belonged to his brother Christoph, fallen in battle in Hungary. But first he was required to draw up in writing a reversion by which this investiture was to become null and void in case his brother Christoph (who according to the delivered death certificate had, as a cornet in the company of the Freiherr von Pirovano of the Imperial Austrian Heyster Regiment, perished at Ross), were ever to return .....


Riding, riding, riding, through the day, through the night, through the day.

Riding, riding, riding.

And our courage has grown so tired and our longing so great. There are no more mountains, scarcely a tree. Nothing dares stand out. Strange huts crouch beside corrupted walls. Not a tower to be seen. And always the same scene. One has two eyes too many. Only at night one thinks one knows the way. Perhaps at night we always retrace our steps along the way we traversed painfully under the alien sun. It could be. The sun is leaden, like in our country in deep summer. But we took leave in summer. The women's dresses shone for a long time against the green. And we have been riding for a long time. So it must be autumn, at least where sad women remember ...


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