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The famous poem goes like this:

Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum.

As I understand, these lines, in normal word order, should be like this:

Feuertrunken, wir betreten dein himmlisches Heiligtum.

Is my syntactic analysis wrong? If not, why is the -e ending used instead of -es? This is even more interesting considering that using -es wouldn't ruin the meter. Any insights?

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If you place the adverb "Feuertrunken" into first position, you'll have to make sure the finite verb remains in second position: "Feuertrunken betreten wir..." This is where the meter is lost. – elena Nov 1 '13 at 13:16
@elena: Ah, I see, thanks! – Armen Tsirunyan Nov 1 '13 at 13:16
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Your syntactic analysis is wrong.

Joy, die Freude, is personalized in this poem, and is addressed here with the adjective himmlisch.


Armen Tsirunyan, I understand your question.

I understand, Armen Tsirunyan, your question.

Himmlische Freude, wir betreten feuertrunken Dein Heiligtum.

Wir betreten feuertrunken, himmlische Freude, Dein Heiligtum.

Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, Dein Heiligtum.

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Himmlische refers to Freude which is feminine. It's a nominalization not of the proper adjectiv himmlisch but of the adjectiv in its inflected form: die himmlische Freude.

The word order in the original sentence is fully normal except for this inclusion, which is a normal addressing inclusion. (I don't know the proper term for it.)

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So Himmlishe in this context means something along the lines of "O, the heavenly one" referring to Joy? – Armen Tsirunyan Nov 1 '13 at 13:06
@ArmenTsirunyan Yes, it means "O, heavenly joy". – Toscho Nov 1 '13 at 13:08

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