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in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr

keberoxu 14 Aug 18 - 05:45 PM
keberoxu 14 Aug 18 - 07:07 PM
keberoxu 14 Aug 18 - 07:28 PM
Monique 15 Aug 18 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Hugo 16 Aug 18 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Wolfgang 16 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 16 Aug 18 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Aug 18 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Aug 18 - 02:29 PM
DaveRo 16 Aug 18 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 16 Aug 18 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 17 Aug 18 - 07:45 AM
keberoxu 17 Aug 18 - 06:22 PM
michaelr 18 Aug 18 - 12:44 AM
Reinhard 18 Aug 18 - 01:04 AM
GUEST,Grishka 18 Aug 18 - 05:36 AM
keberoxu 18 Aug 18 - 03:25 PM
keberoxu 18 Aug 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 18 Aug 18 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 19 Aug 18 - 02:30 PM
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Subject: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 05:45 PM

There is a musical setting for this, actually, by one
Martin Pluddemann.

With or without music, this is a fable in verse that
has endured where German is spoken.
A little disagreement exists about the author.
Some say he is Magnus Gottfried Lichtwer,
others say Moses Mendelssohn.

I find it charming, either way. Bloodthirsty, but charming!

Die Katzen und der Hausherr
                   --   the Cats and the Landlord

Murner, eine Cyper-Katze,
Gab unlängst den Gülde-Schmauß,
Und ersahe sich zum Platze,
Eines Bürgers Wohnung aus.

Mensch und Thiere schliefen feste,
Selbst der Haus-Prophete schwieg,
Als ein Schwarm geschwäntzer Gäste
Von den nächtsten Dächern stieg.

Murner kömmt, sie zu begrüßen
Führt sie drauf in einen Saal,
Und setzt jeden auf ein Küssen
Von dem feinsten Katzen-Zahl.

Sechzig feiste Mäuse-Zimmel
Machten die Versammlung satt,
Ob gespickt? das weiß der Himmel,
Jeder gibt, so gut er's hat.

Von der Mahlzeit ging's zum Tanze,
Wo der Wirth sich hören ließ,
Und auf einem Ratten-Schwanze
Manch verliebtes Stückchen bließ.

Hintz, des ersten Schwiegervater,
Sang darein erbärmlich schön,
Und zweien abgelebte Kater
Quälten sich, ihm beizusteh'n.

Jetzo tanzen alle Katzen,
Poltern, lermen, daß es kracht,
Zischen, heulen, sprudeln, kratzen,
Bis der Herr im Haus erwacht.

Dieser springt mit einem Stecken,
In den finstern Saal hinein,
Schlägt um sich, sie zu erschrecken,
Schmeisset einen Spiegel ein.

Stolpert über ein'ge Späne,
Stürtzt im Fallen auf die Uhr,
Und zerbricht zwei Reihem Zähne,
Blinder Eyfer schadet nur.

Published in 1745, Leipzig


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 07:07 PM

And so I pick my way through the Deutsch original.
For a native speaker perhaps this is kindergarten stuff
(bloodthirsty kindergartners!?)
but some of the vocabulary still stumps me
And any suggestions or volunteer definitions are welcome!

"Murner" is the cat's name evidently.
"Cyper"? All I can find is "cooper," suggesting working-class.
"Schmaus" is a 'spread', a pig-out. but a Guelde-Schmaus?
The cat instigator cases a prosperous neighborhood and decides
to claim a nice residence in which to display his edible trophies
and attract other like-minded felines.
So much for verse 1.

verse 2. In this particular dwelling, both man and beast
sleep the sleep of the just,
and even the "House Prophet" is silent -- that's the rooster!
Meanwhile, from the neighboring buildings comes
a swarm of long-tailed creeping, er, invitees.
I think there's a pun here, because that word for "tailed" contains
a smaller word that means "hoodlums, truants."

Verse 3. Murner the pussycat goes to work!
He has selected a particular room in which to pile up the mice
once he dispatches them.

Verse 4. Sixty Mousie-Trophies, and counting! Look how plump they are.
Or have they been ... cosmetically enhanced? Heaven only knows.

To be continued.
If I totally get it wrong, somebody tell me.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Aug 18 - 07:28 PM

Now by the time I get to verse 5, I am truly in over my head.

Having eaten, mine host feels like dancing, I get that much.
Dancing might be a euphemism for something else.
There is a rat's tail in the mix -- he literally catches a rat?
And then there are the "amorous pieces" -- yikes!
Are we talking lady-cats in heat?

Verse 6. At this point, it is only a matter of time
until the human, who thinks this is HIS house, wakes up.
Because now the singing starts.
Murner's father-in-law, named Hintz (don't know what that means),
lifts his voice in a pathetic plaintive noise.
And the first to join Hintz in song
are two run-down old tomcats
who are just as pathetic singers as he is
but they don't want to let him down
so they harmonize with him.

Verse 7. Every cat in the neighborhood is at the party now.
Everything they can do, they are doing, go down the list:
dance, blundering into things, raising a din until it crashes,
hiss, yowl, ... effervescence?? , clawing and scraping,
and NOW the landlord wakes up.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: Monique
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:06 AM

I know veeeeery little German but Lexilogos is a very useful site with lots of dictionaries.
Cyperkatze = A Cyperkatze is a Cyprus cat, gülde = gold, Schmaus = feast but all I could find about "Schmauß" is that it's a family name.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Hugo
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 11:22 AM

Gülde is a synonym for Gilde, both meaning 'guild'
a "Schmauß" or "Schmaus" can be translated as 'festive meal', so a "Gülde-Schmauß" is a (festive) meal (party) organized by the the guild (of cats)


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 01:12 PM

quite old German with old spelling, definitely no kindergarten stuff

verse 4: Mäuse-Zimmel: chine, saddle of the mice (I had to look it up)

verse 6: After the feast the dance began (no double meaning)
where the host couuld be heard
blowing on a rat's tail (my guess: like blowing on a comb or using it as a flute)
a couple of love songs

verse 2: only the obvious meaning "long-tailed" in this context

Cyprus cat is correct (I had to look it up, too)
guild-party (feast) is also correct

verse 8: He (the Lord of the house) jumps with a stick (nice to see that old word "Stecken" outside of its Bible context, modern German would be Stock)
into the dark hall
lashing out to scare them
(but instead) bashing in a mirror.

verse 9: stumbles about some (wood) cuttings
tumbles while falling into the clock
breaks two rows of teeth (would you say "rwo" in the context of teeth?)
blind haste (zeal) only does damage.

The author is Lichtwer

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 01:43 PM

God bless all of you and your contributions!
So much more than I could locate myself.
A guild of cats -- fits well.

Rows of teeth --
in my own English I am used to
talk of upper teeth and lower teeth, rather than rows.
But you get the idea, all right.

I had never before heard of a breed of cats from Cyprus.
We live and learn.

Mäuse-Zimmel -- do you mean chin? or,
a marking on the fur, like a "saddle" on a hound dog?

Thanks everyone!


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 02:15 PM

Hi Wolfgang; looks like we have a native speaker again!

I did some Googling as well.

"ein Küssen Von dem feinsten Katzen-Zahl." is a cussion of finest cat tail fur - BYO.

"Zimmel" seems to be something like a sirloin; "gespickt": larded.

The story is taken from Aesop's fables, and has lost nothing of its political relevance since 600 BC. The landlord represents a complacent society suddenly alarmed by terrorism or other outrage. "Fire and Fury!" The first victim is the mirror - presumably added to the fable by Lichtwer; what an ingenious symbolism!


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 02:29 PM

... a cushion, of course. English ain't easy either.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: DaveRo
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 02:31 PM

@keberoxu Thanks for this thread. My wife speaks German and this, and @wolfgang's reply, occupied us for half an hour. It's what I read Mudcat for.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 02:43 PM

Delighted to share the wealth!


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 07:45 AM

Mäuse-Zimmel: yes, that's the best part of a mouse for a meal

The old spelling "Küssen" for a cushion (today: Kissen; küssen today means "to kiss") reminds me an old joke:

An American (to our ears they pronounce küssen and Kissen very similar) walks into a furniture store in Germany and says to a young female attendant: "Frowlein, Kissen bitte". "Beg your pardon?" "Kissen bitte, Frowlein." She gets a very red face and only shakes her head. Then he realises what she might have understood and tries to convey the correct meaning: "Ow, Frowlein, nicht hier kissen (pointing to his mouth), hier Kissen (pointing to his buttocks)".

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Aug 18 - 06:22 PM

Well, I got all excited just now, because
my online search pulled up an English translation.
Sadly, many verses are missing, darned if I know why.
I'll submit what little there is.

The translation begins with Verse Two:

Men and beasts were wrapt in slumber,
E'en the house's prophet slept,
When of long-tailed guests a number
From the neighbor's house-top crept.

And then, it skips to Verse Six (!)

Hinz, of Murner's spouse the father,
Beat with cunning skill the time;
Two old tom-cats, rakish rather,
Puffed and blowed to keep in chime.

In the dance then wildly flitting,
Such a din and noise they make,
Hissing, howling, scratching, spitting,
Till the landlord they awake.

With a cudgel armed he dashes
Headlong in the gloomy hall,
Strikes around, the mirror smashes,
While a dozen vases fall.

Then o'er scattered fragments stumbling,
Fells the timepiece with his arm,
Breaks two rows of teeth in tumbling:
Blindfold zeal can do but harm.

-- from The Poetry of Germany: Translated into English Verse, with the original text on the opposite page, by Alfred Baskerville, London: Williams & Norgate, 1858.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: michaelr
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 12:44 AM

From what I can understand of the original (about half, and I'm a native), that's a very good rhyming translation. Wikipedia has nothing on Alfred Baskerville, but his book (in the public domain) is available on Amazon. I'm curious who he was.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 01:04 AM

That book is also online at the Internet Archive: The poetry of Germany; consisting of selections from upwards of seventy of the most celebrated poets, translated into English verse, with the original text on the opposite page (glorious title!), by Alfred Baskerville, fifth edition, Philadelphia: Schaefer & Koradi, 1866. Die Katzen und der Hausherr is on page 9-10.


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 05:36 AM

The translation is fairly accurate, complete, and well-made. It refers to a later version of the original poem, published in 1762. I prefer the earlier version, because in it the cats form a guild with full bourgeois ceremonial, thus are guilty of forming a parallel society of organized crime. By this fact they cause even more "blindfold" outrage than justified by the actual offences.

(Note that Baskerville uses British spelling, such as "neighbour's".)


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 03:25 PM

Alfred Baskerville also published in Germany:
a German-language presentation of English grammar.
(Google Books is where I scared that up.)


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 03:32 PM

And this looks more particular, regarding Baskerville the translator.
It is a classified advert from 1855 in a London periodical
(again, thank Google Books).

EDUCATION IN GERMANY.
Marienburg House School, near Cologne.
Principal, Mr. Alfred Baskerville.
The object aimed at in this establishment is
a sound Classical Education, combined with
a thorough knowledge of the Modern Languages.
Resident French and German Masters,
who impart instruction only through the medium of
their respective Languages.
For Prospectuses apply to Miss Baskerville,
Radnor Villa, Great Malvern.

An American periodical, later on,
prints a very brief notice
on the death of Alfred Baskerville, a native of Bristol,
who had set up shop in Brooklyn, New York as a "stationer."


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 18 Aug 18 - 06:37 PM

You know, I can be really thick at times.
Looking at the original German, and
Verse 2, which
in that later truncated version becomes Verse 1.

"a swarm of long-tailed guests descends from the neighboring rooftops."


How could I have missed that those tails might in fact
be the tails of the CATS! I just assumed they were rodents!

face-palm


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Subject: RE: in German: Die Katzen und der Hausherr
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 19 Aug 18 - 02:30 PM

Martin Plüddemann's "Die Katzen und der Hausherr"
has been recorded.
You can hear a tiny little snippet from the recording
if you scroll down on this page.


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