In a comment a week or so ago to one of Clameur de Haro’s blogposts, Nick Palmer asks -
What do you think of this below? Borrowed from SSS's blog
An alle Himmel schreib ich's an,
die diesen Ball umspannen:
Nicht der Tyrann ist ein schimpflciher Mann,
aber der Knecht des Tyrannen.
TO ALL THE ENSLAVED
I WRITE IT ALL OVER THE HEAVENS,
THAT ENCOMPASS OUR EARTHLY SPHERE:
IT'S NOT THE TYRANT WE SHOULD ABUSE,
BUT THE SERF WHO WORKS FOR THE TYRANT.
Other things have mitigated against a response before now (for which apologies, Nick), but CdeH thinks that it mostly points up just how advisable it is to take the precaution of doing a bit of checking before going for a straight copy’n’paste job on anything at all from the tortuous mental meanderings of Fugitivus Laxativus Diminutivus.
The quote was no doubt meant to impress readers – at which it might have succeeded more had it and the purported translation both been accurate.
First of all, the German for a slave/servant/labourer is “der Knecht”, and for slavery or servitude “die Knechtschaft”, so there are at the very least one or two “t”s missing from the first line (although in fairness, not from the fifth). And though it’s admittedly been a while since Clameur de Haro studied German to the level he once did, he’s dubious that even “Knechtschaftenen” would be the correct plural form for slaves or servitors.
The reference to “we should abuse” in the fourth line of the translation is a bit tenuous. The original’s tense is the present tense, rather than the conditional tense, for a start, and the adjective “schimpflich” (even without the transposition of letters) does mean “insulting”, but more in the context of humiliation or disgrace rather than abuse, for which the more usual verb is “mißbrauchen”. The fourth/fifth line is therefore probably more accurately rendered as “It is not the tyrant who is disgraced? / humiliated?, but the slave of the tyrants…”.
So overall, in (eventual) answer to your question, Nick, ich befürchte daß, wie gewöhnlich, der Zwerg mit die abartige Fantasie sich geirrt hat. Er soll vielleicht ein bißchen mehr vorsicht sein.Add to del.icio.usDigg It!Stumble This