Manch­mal, Sie wer­den das ken­nen, denkt man plötz­lich an längst ver­gan­ge­ne Zei­ten und Ereig­nis­se und es stel­len sich zuvor unbe­ant­wor­te­te Fra­gen, die man längst ver­ges­sen hat­te .... so ging es mir vor ein paar Tagen, als ich in einem Blog­ar­ti­kel die Meta­pher vom Zau­ber­lehr­ling las.

Vor Jah­ren hat­te ich nach Über­set­zun­gen gesucht, da aller­dings war die Aus­beu­te gering. Genau­er gesagt: Ich fand nichts!
Ange­regt von die­sem Arti­kel dort stell­te ich eine neue Suche an und fand sehr unter­schied­li­che Über­set­zun­gen, von denen ich drei her­aus­ge­sucht habe, die ich nun hier ver­glei­chend neben­ein­an­der kopie­re.

Die Rei­hen­fol­ge ist nicht zufäl­lig, mei­ne Ein­schät­zung der Über­set­zungs­qua­li­tät läuft von links nach rechts - und zurück .... was mei­nen Sie dazu?

Ein Qua­li­täts­ver­gleich

The sorcerer's app­ren­ti­ce

(1) The old sorce­rer
Has final­ly gone away!
Now the spi­rits he con­trols
Shall obey my com­man­ds.

(2) I've noted his method,
What he says and does,
And with strength of spi­rit,
I shall work won­ders too.

(3) Wan­der! Wan­der
On and on,
So that water
Might flow,
And gush abundant­ly
And fill the bath.

(4) So come along, you old broom­stick!
Dress yours­elf in rot­ten rags!
You've long been a ser­vant;
Obey my orders now!

(5) Stand up on two legs,
Let's give you a head on top,
Make haste now and off you go
With the water-jug!

(6) Wan­der! Wan­der
On and on,
So that water
Might flow,
And gush abundant­ly
And fill the bath.

(7) Look, he's run­ning down to the bank;
In truth! He's alrea­dy rea­ched the river,
And back he comes as quick as light­ning
And swift­ly pours it all out.

(8) Here he comes a second time!
Look how the tub is fil­ling!
Look how every basin
Fills to over­flo­wing!

(9) Stand still, stand still!
Becau­se we
Have had our fill
Of all your gifts! -
Alas! Alas! I rea­li­se now;
I've for­got­ten the magic word!

(10) The word, alas, that turns him back
Into what he once was.
Alas! spee­di­ly he runs and fet­ches!
If only you were a broom as befo­re!

(11) He keeps rus­hing in
With more and more water,
Alas! a hund­red rivers
Pour down on my head!

(12) No, I won't per­mit it
A moment lon­ger;
I shall sei­ze him.
Oh, the spi­te­ful bru­te!
Ah, now I'm get­ting real­ly sca­red!
What a face! And what a look!

(13) O, you crea­tu­re from hell!
Shall the enti­re hou­se be drow­ned?
I can see streams of water
Pou­ring through every door.

(14) A des­pi­ca­ble broom
Not to listen!
You who were once a stick -
Will you once again stand still!

(15) Will you never
Ever stop?
I'll catch you,
I'll hold you,
And swift­ly split this old wood
With this sharp hat­chet.

(16) Look, once more he comes, drag­ging pails!
Wait till I get to grips with you,
Then, O gob­lin, I'll knock you flat;
The smooth bla­de crashes down on him.

(17) A fine blow, in truth!
Look - he's split in two.
There's hope for me now,
I can brea­the free­ly again!

(18) Alas! alas!
Both hal­ves
Stand up at once,
A pair of ser­vants,
Rea­dy for action!
Ah, help me, you powers on high!

(19) And off they run! Hall and steps
Get wet­ter and wet­ter.
What a ghast­ly inun­da­ti­on!
Lord and master, hear my cries! -

(20) Ah, my master comes at last!
Sir, I'm in despe­ra­te straits!
The spi­rits I sum­mo­ned -
I can't get rid of them.

(21) 'Into the cor­ner,
Brooms! Brooms -
Have done!
Only your old master
Can call you forth
As spi­rits.'

[Eng­lish Trans­la­ti­on © Richard Sto­kes]



The sorcerer's app­ren­ti­ce

(1) Good! The sorce­rer, my old master
left me here alo­ne today!
Now his spi­rits, for a chan­ge,
my own wis­hes shall obey!

(2) Having memo­ri­zed
what to say and do,
with my powers of will I can
do some wit­ching, too!

(3) Go, I say,
Go on your way,
do not tar­ry,
water car­ry,
let it flow abundant­ly,
and pre­pa­re a bath for me!

(4) Come on now, old broom, get dres­sed,
the­se old rags will do just fine!
You're a slave in any case,
and today you will be mine!

(5) May you have two legs,
and a head on top,
take the bucket, quick
hur­ry, do not stop!

(6) Go, I say,
Go on your way,
do not tar­ry,
water car­ry,
let it flow abundant­ly,
and pre­pa­re a bath for me!

(7) Look, how to the bank he's run­ning!
and now he has rea­ched the river,
he returns, as quick as light­ning,
once more water to deli­ver.

(8) Look! The tub alrea­dy
is almost fil­led up!
And now he is fil­ling
every bowl and cup!

(9) Stop! Stand still!
Heed my will!
I've enough
of the stuff!
I've for­got­ten - woe is me!
what the magic word may be.

(10) Oh, the word to chan­ge him back
into what he was befo­re!
Oh, he runs, and keeps on going!
Wish you'd be a broom once more!

(11) He keeps brin­ging water
quick­ly as can be,
and a hund­red rivers
he pours down on me!

(12) No, no lon­ger
can I let him,
I must get him
with some trick!
I'm begin­ning to feel sick.
What a look! - and what a face!

(13) O, you ugly child of Hades!
The enti­re hou­se will drown!
Ever­y­whe­re I look, I see
water, water, run­ning down.

(14) Be you dam­ned, old broom,
why won't you obey?
Be a stick once more,
plea­se, I beg you, stay!

(15) Is the end
not in sight?
I will grab you,
hold you tight,
with my axe I'll split the britt­le
old wood smart­ly down the midd­le.

(16) Here he comes again with water!
Now I'll throw myself upon you,
and the sharpness of my axe
I will test, o spi­rit, on you.

(17) Well, a per­fect hit!
See how he is split!
Now there's hope for me,
and I can brea­the free!

(18) Woe is me! Both pie­ces
come to life anew,
now, to do my bidding
I have ser­vants two!
Help me, o gre­at powers!
Plea­se, I'm begging you!

(19) And they're run­ning! Wet and wet­ter
get the stairs, the rooms, the hall!
What a delu­ge! What a flood!
Lord and master, hear my call!

(20) Ah, here comes the master!
I have need of Thee!
from the spi­rits that I cal­led
Sir, deli­ver me!

(21) “Back now, broom,
into the clo­set!
Be thou as thou
wert befo­re!
Until I, the real master
call thee forth to ser­ve once more!”



The Pupil in Magic

(1) I am now, — what joy to hear it!—
Of the old magi­ci­an rid;
And hence­forth shall ev’ry spi­rit
Do whate’er by me is bid;

(2) I have watch’d with rigo­ur
All he used to do,
And will now with vigour
Work my won­ders too.

(3) Wan­der, wan­der
Onward light­ly,
So that right­ly
Flow the tor­rent,
And with tee­ming waters yon­der
In the bath dischar­ge its cur­rent!

(4) And now come, thou well-worn broom,
And thy wret­ched form bestir;
Thou hast ever ser­ved as groom,
So ful­fil my plea­su­re, sir!

(5) On two legs now stand,
With a head on top;
Water­pail in hand, Haste, and do not stop!

(6) Wan­der, wan­der
Onward light­ly,
So that right­ly
Flow the tor­rent,
And with tee­ming waters yon­der
In the bath dischar­ge its cur­rent!

(7) See! he’s run­ning to the shore,
And has now attain’d the pool,
And with light­ning speed once more
Comes here, with his bucket full!

(8) Back he then repairs;
See how swells the tide!
How each pail he bears
Strai­ght­way is sup­plied!

(9) Stop, for, lo!
All the mea­su­re
Of thy tre­a­su­re
Now is right!—
Ah, I see it! woe, oh woe!
I for­get the word of might.

(10) Ah, the word who­se sound can strai­ght
Make him what he was befo­re!

(11) Ah, he runs with nim­ble gait!
Would thou wert a broom once more!
Streams renew’d for ever
Quick­ly brin­geth he;
River after river
Rus­he­th on poor me!

(12) Now no lon­ger
Can I bear him;
I will sna­re him,
Kna­vish sprite!
Ah, my ter­ror waxes stron­ger!
What a look! what fear­ful sight

(13) Oh, thou vil­lain child of hell!
Shall the hou­se through thee be drown’d
Floo­ds I see that wild­ly swell,
O'er the thres­hold gai­ning ground.

(14) Wilt thou not obey,
Oh, thou broom accurs’d?
Be thou still I pray,
As thou wert at first!

(15) Will enough
Never plea­se thee?
I will sei­ze thee,
Hold thee fast,
And thy nim­ble wood so tough,
With my sharp axe split at last.

(16) See, once more he hastens back!
Now, oh Cobold, thou shalt catch it!
I will rush upon his track;
Cra­shing on him falls my hat­chet.

(17) Bra­vely done, inde­ed!
See, he’s cleft in twain!
Now from care I'm freed,
And can brea­the again.

(18) Woe, oh woe! Both the parts,
Quick as darts, Stand on end,
Ser­vants of my drea­ded foe!
Oh, ye gods pro­tec­tion send!

(19) And they run! and wet­ter still
Grow the steps and grows the hail.
Lord and master hear me call!
Ever seems the flood to fill,

(20) Ah, he’s com­ing! see,
Gre­at is my dis­may!
Spi­rits rai­sed by me
Vain­ly would I lay!

(21) “To the side
Of the room
Hasten, broom,
As of old!
Spi­rits I have ne’er untied
Save to act as they are told.”

(The Sorcerer’s App­ren­ti­ce)
a trans­la­ti­on of Der Zau­ber­lehr­ling by Johann Wolf­gang von Goe­the



Das *Ori­gi­nal*

(1) Hat der alte Hexen­mei­ster
Sich doch ein­mal weg­be­ge­ben!
Und nun sol­len sei­ne Gei­ster
Auch nach mei­nem Wil­len leben.

(2) Sei­ne Wort und Wer­ke
Merkt ich und den Brauch,
Und mit Gei­stes­stär­ke
Tu ich Wun­der auch.

(3) Wal­le! wal­le
Man­che Strecke,
Daß, zum Zwecke,
Was­ser flie­ße
Und mit rei­chem, vol­lem Schwal­le
Zu dem Bade sich ergie­ße.

(4) Und nun komm, du alter Besen,
Nimm die schlech­ten Lum­pen­hül­len!
Bist schon lan­ge Knecht gewe­sen:
Nun erfül­le mei­nen Wil­len!

(5) Auf zwei Bei­nen ste­he,
Oben sei ein Kopf,
Eile nun und gehe
Mit dem Was­ser­topf!

(6) Wal­le! wal­le
Man­che Strecke,
Daß, zum Zwecke,
Was­ser flie­ße
Und mit rei­chem, vol­lem Schwal­le
Zu dem Bade sich ergie­ße.

(7) Seht, er läuft zum Ufer nie­der!
Wahr­lich! ist schon an dem Flus­se,
Und mit Blit­zes­schnel­le wie­der
Ist er hier mit raschem Gus­se.

(8) Schon zum zwei­ten Male!
Wie das Becken schwillt!
Wie sich jede Scha­le
Voll mit Was­ser füllt!

(9) Ste­he! ste­he!
Denn wir haben
Dei­ner Gaben
Voll­ge­mes­sen! -
Ach, ich merk es! Wehe! wehe!
Hab ich doch das Wort ver­ges­sen!

(10) Ach, das Wort, wor­auf am Ende
Er das wird, was er gewe­sen!
Ach, er läuft und bringt behen­de!
Wärst du doch der alte Besen!

(11) Immer neue Güs­se
Bringt er schnell her­ein,
Ach, und hun­dert Flüs­se
Stür­zen auf mich ein!

(12) Nein, nicht län­ger
Kann ichs las­sen:
Will ihn fas­sen!
Das ist Tücke!
Ach, nun wird mir immer bän­ger!
Wel­che Mie­ne! wel­che Blicke!

(13) O, du Aus­ge­burt der Höl­le!
Soll das gan­ze Haus ersau­fen?
Seh ich über jede Schwel­le
Doch schon Was­ser­strö­me lau­fen.

(14) Ein ver­ruch­ter Besen,
Der nicht hören will!
Stock, der du gewe­sen,
Steh doch wie­der still!

(15) Willst am Ende
Gar nicht las­sen?
Will dich fas­sen,
Will dich hal­ten
Und das alte Holz behen­de
Mit dem schar­fen Bei­le spal­ten!

(16) Seht, da kommt er schlep­pend wie­der!
Wie ich mich nur auf dich wer­fe,
Gleich, o Kobold, liegst du nie­der;
Kra­chend trifft die glat­te Schär­fe.

(17)Wahrlich! brav getrof­fen!
Seht, er ist ent­zwei!
Und nun kann ich hof­fen,
Und ich atme frei!

(18) Wehe! wehe!
Bei­de Tei­le
Stehn in Eile
Schon als Knech­te
Völ­lig fer­tig in die Höhe!
Helft mir, ach! ihr hohen Mäch­te!

(19) Und sie lau­fen! Naß und näs­ser
Wirds im Saal und auf den Stu­fen:
Welch ent­setz­li­ches Gewäs­ser!
Herr und Mei­ster, hör mich rufen! -

(20) Ach, da kommt der Mei­ster!
Herr, die Not ist groß!
Die ich rief, die Gei­ster,
Werd ich nun nicht los.

(21) “In die Ecke,
Besen! Besen!
Seids gewe­sen!
Denn als Gei­ster
Ruft euch nur, zu sei­nem Zwecke,
Erst her­vor der alte Mei­ster.”