Duino Elegies

Duino Elegies

[dwee-noh]
The Duino Elegies (German Duineser Elegien) are a set of ten elegies written in German by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke from 1912 to 1922. Rilke had been visiting Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis in the Duino castle in the region when he came across some cliffs from which he drew his inspiration to start his set of ten poems.

Rilke declared that he had heard a voice calling to him as he walked near the cliffs, and he used the words in the first Elegy: "Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?" (If I cried out, who would hear me up there, among the angelic orders?)

The completion of the elegies was delayed by Rilke's battle with depression; it was completed only in February 1922, when Rilke was visiting in Rhone Valley. It was also during this time that Rilke wrote the Sonnets to Orpheus. Rilke died shortly afterwards in 1926, satisfied that his masterpiece had been completed.

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