The German Shakespeare Part Two: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  Oberon and Titania by Sir Joseph Noel Paton

In honor of Shakespeare’s Aprilian birthday, and in continuation of last week’s post, I thought I’d take a peek at how the Bard fares in the German version of the fairytale play.

For some unknown reason (at least not any that I can fathom),   many of the characters’ names were changed.   I’m sure the Germans of the day could have handled the original, but ah well. 

So, Peaceblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed became Bohnenblüte, Spinnweb, Motte und Senfsamen.  Puck is now Droll.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream vs   Ein Sommernachtstraum 


Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.

Hippolyta. Vier Tage tauchen sich ja schnell in Naechte, Vier Naechte traeumen schnell die Zeit hinweg: Dann soll der Mond, gleich einem Silberbogen, Am Himmel neu gespannt, die Nacht beschaun Von unserm Fest.


If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.


Wenn wir Schatten euch beleidigt,
O so glaubt—und wohl verteidigt
Sind wir dann—: ihr alle schier
Habet nur geschlummert hier
Und geschaut in Nachtgesichten
Eures eignen Hirnes Dichten.
Wollt ihr diesen Kindertand,
Der wie leere Träume schwand,
Liebe Herrn, nicht gar verschmähn,
Sollt ihr bald was Beßres sehn.
Wenn wir bösem Schlangenzischen
Unverdienterweis entwischen,
So verheißt auf Ehre Droll
Bald euch unsres Dankes Zoll;
Ist ein Schelm zu heißen willig,
Wenn dies nicht geschieht, wie billig.
Nun gute Nacht! Das Spiel zu enden,
Begrüßt uns mit gewognen Händen!

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm  Comments (5)  
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The German Shakespeare Part One

 “Sein oder nicht sein.  Das ist hier die Frage.”- from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

  Founded 1864 in Weimar, Germany,  die Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, is the oldest Shakespearean society in the world.

Shakespeare invaded Germany in the 1700s when English actors traveled across the Channel to perform his works.  According to the  website, to this day, Shakespearean plays are showcased, and attended,  more in Germany than in Great Britian.  Neuss, Germany even boasts a replica of the Globe Theatre.

And so how does the Bard compare in the two languages?

From MacBeth:

First Witch

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch

Where the place?

Second Witch

Upon the heath.

Third Witch

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch

Paddock calls.

Third Witch



Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.


First Witch 1. Hexe.
Wenn kommen wir drey uns wieder entgegen,
In Donner, Blizen oder Regen?

2. Hexe.
Wenn das Mordgetuemmel schweigt,
Und der Sieg den Aufruhr beugt

When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and Won.}

3. Hexe.
Also, eh der Tag sich neigt.

1. Hexe.
Nennt den Ort!

2. Hexe.
Die Heide dort.

3. Hexe.
Dort gehn wir Macbeths wegen hin.

1. Hexe.
Ich komm, ich komme, Grimalkin–

2. Hexe.
Padok ruft–wir kommen schon.

Auf, und durch die Nebel-Luft davon!

and this siloquey from Lady Macbeth: 

O, never  
  Shall sun that morrow see!  
  Your face, my thane, is as a book where men  
  May read strange matters. To beguile the time,  
  Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,  
  Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,  
  But be the serpent under’t. He that’s coming  75
  Must be provided for: and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch;
  Which shall to all our nights and days to come  
  Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.


O nimmer soll die Sonne diesen Morgen sehn!  Euer Gesicht, mein
Than, ist wie ein Buch, worinn man gefaehrliche Dinge lesen koennte.
Heisst euer Gesicht aussehen, wie es die Zeit erfordert; traget
freundlichen Willkomm in euern Augen, auf eurer Zunge, in eurer
Hand; seht wie die unschuldige Blume, aber seyd die Schlange unter
ihr.  Geht, und sorget fuer die Aufnahme dessen der kommen soll, und
ueberlasset meiner Sorge das grosse Geschaefte dieser Nacht, welches
allen unsern kuenftigen Tagen und Naechten die ungetheilte und
unumschraenkte Herrschaft geben soll.

 Lady MacBeth by John Singer Sargent

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm  Comments (13)  
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Pre-Raphaelite Artist: Marie Spartali Stillman

Marie Sparteli (later Stillman) was born on March 4,  1844 to Greek immigrants living in London.   While females are mostly known as the famous muses/models of the Pre-Raphaelite movement (and Marie, herself, did pose for Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti),  Marie became a renowned artist in her own right.

  Kelmscott Manor

Her father enjoyed throwing garden parties in which he was noted for inviting up and coming artists.  It was during one of these gatherings that Marie met the famous writer and critic, Swinburne.  It may have been through this meeting that she was later introduced to the wider Pre-Raphelite circle.

  Love’s Messenger

She began studying art under the tutelage of Madox Brown in 1864.   Like the other Pre-Raphaelites, Marie  was enamored with Shakespeare, Dante, and Boccaccio, amongst others.

  Dante and Beatrice

At the age of twenty- seven, she wed the American painter and journalist, William Stillman.  Together, they split their time between London, Rome, and Florence.   

Marie and William had three children.  Unfortunately, the youngest son died as an infant.  However, her eldest, Michael, moved to the United States as and adult where he became a successful architecht.  Her daughter, Sonia Zuckerman, is still alive, and is known for her philanthropical works.

Marie died on March 6, 1927.  After being cremated, her ashes were interred in her father’s tomb.

  A Rose from Armida’s Garden

  Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni

Writing Meme: Day 8- Favorite Genre

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

Literary horror or psychological horror!  As my character, Anne says of her penchant for reading shudder novels,  “It’s a lot of fun to be frightened.”

That’s what I hope to do.  I don’t consider what I write to be truly horror.   That’s the terrible, depressing things on the news.   I want to give my readers the fun kind of chills.   And yes, I imagine wrapped up in an afghan, or snuggled under the bedcovers, unable to sleep, partly from fright, and partly because they must find out what that shadow in the corner is…

That said, I also love  writing noir (blame that one on a classic film obsession), and writing magical realism.  As one fascinated by dreams, I love exploring the inner and the outer worlds and how they blend together as one.

As for reading- I’m eclectic as you can get.  Okay, you won’t find category romance or westerns on my bookcase, but you will find everything from Shakespeare to the Brontes to Bradbury to Wilkie Collins Shirley Jackson to Iris Murdoch to Terry Pratchett to Agatha Christie to George R.R. Martin to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  There are so many great stories and writers out there, I could never limit myself to one genre.

What about you?