Die schöne Müllerin (Part 4)

Junges Mädel “Young Lass” (1889) by Hugo Kauffmann.

Things have now settled down for the miller. He’s arrived at the mill, and the excitement of the last three poems has simmered. As he first beholds the beautiful milleress, the miller contemplates why exactly he’s here, and how he arrived. But regardless of all of that, the miller takes a moment to address the brooklet. This brings us to the next poem in the story, “Danksagung an den Bach.”

War es also gemeint,                   Was this what you meant,
Mein rauschender Freund?          my rumbling friend?
Dein Singen, dein Klingen,         Your singing, your ringing?
War es also gemeint?                   Was this what you meant?

Zur Müllerin hin!                         To the milleress!
So lautet der Sinn.                        So it seems to be saying.
Gelt, hab’ ich’s verstanden?          Do I understand correctly?
Zur Müllerin hin!                         To the milleress!

Hat sie dich geschickt?                Did she send you?
Oder hast mich berückt?              Or have I deluded myself?
Das möcht ich noch wissen,        I would like to know,
Ob sie dich geschickt.                  if she sent you.

Nun wie’s auch mag sein,           Whatever the case is,
Ich gebe mich drein:                    I’ll commit myself right now:
Was ich such’, ist gefunden,        What I am seeking has been found,
Wie’s immer mag sein.                 no matter what.

Nach Arbeit ich frug,                  After work I’ll ask:
Nun hab ich genug                      do I have enough
Für die Hände, fürs Herze          for my hands and my heart?
Vollauf genug                            Completely enough.

A number of things stand out to me in this poem. First, it is interesting that the miller, for the first time, addresses the brooklet as his “friend.” It would seem, and this is obvious in the penultimate stanza, that the miller is in love at first sight, and so he can only thank his friend the brooklet for bringing him to the milleress. Even thought he isn’t even sure if this is some fated occurrence, or if he’s just deluding himself, the miller doesn’t care. He’s finally found what he’s looking for. And that’s good enough for now.

What does this poem say about human emotion, specifically love? Is emotion to be valued over rationality? The miller is in love, and so it doesn’t matter that he can’t think straight. Is that something desirable? For now it seems like the answer is yes. I mean, what more could you ask for than emotional gratification? However, we’ll see as the story progresses that rushing blindly into love can have some terrible consequences.

Below is Schubert’ rendition.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3