In the first line of this poem by Stefan George:

Nun rufen lange schatten mildre gluten

What is happening in "mildre"? What does it mean? Is it a poetic way to write "milder"?

2 Answers 2


Is it a poetic way to write "milder"?

Yes, it means mildere and is poetically shortcutted.


Leaving out an "e" from adjectives is a common way of keeping rhythm in German poetry, as the following proverbial wisdoms demonstrate:

Auch wenn er keine Früchte kriegt - der grünre Baum hat doch gesiegt.

Versprich vom kurzen dir nicht viel, der längre Weg führt auch zum Ziel.

Ein Meister ist, wer andern ihre Fehler zeigt. Ein größrer ist, wer wissend schweigt.

And so on.

  • 2
    Is this only poetic, or does it also reflect ordinary pronunciation? I’m not a native speaker so please correct/clarify if this is wrong, but my understanding was that in normal speech, these vowels are often very reduced or even absent, in most(?) dialects. So omitting it is common in everyday speech, even though not reflected in standard spelling; and the unusual poetic spelling is just explicitly specifying an ordinary aspect of pronunciation.
    – PLL
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 10:28
  • @PLL some of these reflect ordinary pronounciation... in some dialects. If you want to discuss common everyday use, you need to remember that germany is really just a bunch of tribes thrown together. A swabian will reduce/omit other parts of a word than a bavarian, hessian or... well, there's a wikipedia page for "german dialects". Which links to subcategories. What I can say though, is that the stilted way "Ein größrer" is pronounced to meet rhythm is quite different from when someone says it in everyday speech - the former are clearly enounciated 2 syllables, the latter one quick slur...
    – Syndic
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 5:54

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