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?

  • 2
    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

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.

| improve this answer | |

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.)

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.