The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161887   Message #3851714
Posted By: keberoxu
21-Apr-17 - 03:06 PM
Thread Name: English Trans. Req: Fruhlingsmusikanten
Subject: RE: English Trans. Req: Fruhlingsmusikanten
Here goes: an attempt at a translation into English, verse by verse,
of "Turkish Music" by Friedrich Förster.

Once in the empire of Turkey,
The emperor, so titled by the grace of God,
Had summoned his subjects to his presence
With an invitation to a celebration.
The emperor sat on his throne in full regalia
Surrounded by all of his courtiers,
And the people in attendance petitioned him:
Lord, send for musicians to accompany our dancing.

The cymbal player was at hand,
He let his cymbal-playing resound.
Where he found bulging purses and wallets,
Their coins must chime along with the cymbals.
The silver and the fine gold
That leaped out in time to his rhythm,
He rolled up in the moneybags with a smile,
To fetch it back to the emperor.

Nor did the fiddler slacken
with his violin bow.
Anybody in the back, whose response to the cymbal music
was to pull a wry, displeased grimace of a smile,


At this point, the wordplay is more than my meager German can work with.
The rest of this stanza uses German words
about tightening and tensing, or slacking, strings.
So there is some figure of speech at work
that implies not only a stringed instrument
but a performer playing his audience like a violin, as it were.
And maybe some subtleties that go straight over my head.

I will stop translating here
and offer the rest of this stanza to the readers at large.