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“Very Nice and Highly Pleasing” (Goethe) (“Sehr schön und erfreulich” (Goethe))

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On a Latin Poem about Plombières by Joachim Camerarius (Zu einem lateinischen Gedicht des Joachim Camerarius über Plombières)

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Goethe discusses his recent reading in a letter dated the 30th of July 1816: “Lateinisches Gedicht von Camerarius auf die Wasser von Plombieres, sehr schön und erfreulich” [“A Latin poem by Camerarius about the spa at Plombières; very nice and highly pleasing”]. Previous research has assumed that Goethe was referring to the elegy Plumbaria in which Joachim Camerarius (1500–1574) bemoans a bout of ill health and asks God to rid him of it. However, Camerarius composed a second poem – De thermis Plumbarijs (145 hendecasyllables) – about Plombières, in which he sketches a detailed and colourful account of life at this spa resort. This essay argues that Goethe’s remark refers to this latter poem. Following a reproduction of the original Latin text and a German translation, the essay presents an analysis of its content and form, which appear to have elicited such animated acclaim from Goethe.In einem Brief vom 30. Juli 1816 schreibt Goethe über seine Lektüre: “Lateinisches Gedicht von Camerarius auf die Wasser von Plombieres, sehr schön und erfreulich”. In der bisherigen Forschung wird angenommen, dass die Elegie Plumbaria gemeint ist, in der Joachim Camerarius (1500–1574) über eine Krankheit klagt und Gott um Heilung bittet. Camerarius hat jedoch noch ein zweites Gedicht über Plombières verfasst, eine überaus detallierte und farbige Schilderung des dortigen Badetreibens: De thermis Plumbarijs (145 Elfsilbler). In dem Aufsatz plädiere ich dafür, dass Goethes Bemerkung sich auf diese Verse bezieht. Auf eine Wiedergabe des lateinischen Texts und eine Übersetzung folgt eine Analyse von Gehalt und Form des Gedichts, die allem Anschein nach Goethes lebhaften Beifall gefunden haben.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Göttingen / Berlin, Deutschland,


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