Jessie Beck & Louise Lorimer

Obwohl Rebecca Brünnows Übersetzung nicht nur in New York, sondern auch in London verlegt wurde, blieb der Widerhall auf den Britischen Inseln gering. Erst das Gemeinschaftswerk zweier junger Frauen, der Engländerin Jessie Beck (1859 – 1932), Tochter des Reverend Dr. Alexander Raleigh, und der Schottin Louise Lorimer (1860 – 1946), Tochter des bekannten Rechts-Professors James Lorimer aus Edinburgh, machten Scheffels Versepos um die Jahrhundertwende bis weit ins British Empire bekannt. Um sich von der Erstübersetzung zu unterscheiden, wählten die Autorinnen den Untertitel „A Romance of the Rhine“. Der Text von 1893 ist heute fast vergessen. Zu Unrecht, denn es handelt sich um eine eigenständige Leistung, die dem Vergleich mit Brünnows Werk standhält.

The Trumpeter by J. V. von Scheffel. Translated by Jessie Beck and Louise Lorimer.

Ein Auszug aus dem Sechsten Stück „Wie jung Werner beim Freiherrn Trompeter wird“ und das zweite Gedicht des Katers Hiddigeigei aus dem „Büchlein der Lieder“ sind unten beispielhaft gegenübergestellt.

Wer sich für den gesamten Text der „Trumpeter“ von 1893 interessiert, findet ihn im Format PDF und ePUB aufbereitet.

Rebecca Brünnow, 1877:

Keenly did the Baron’s eyes rest
On young Werner, passing muster;
By her father, lightly leaning
On his arm-chair, Margaretta
Bashfully looked at the stranger.
And with both the first impression
Of each other was most happy.

„It is you, then,“ said the Baron,
„Who last night have startled us here
With your trumpet-blowing, therefore
I should like to speak to you now.“
„This commences well,“ thought Werner
And, embarrassed, cast his eyes down
To the ground. But the old Baron,
Kindly smiling, thus continued:

„You believe, perhaps, I shall now
Call you to account for having
Made loud music near the castle?
You are wrong, ‚tis not my business;
For no license is here needed
On the Rhine; if anybody
Wants to catch a cold by playing
Late at night there, he may do so.
No, I only wish to ask you,
Whether you would like here often
As last night to blow the trumpet?
But I fear I am mistaken.
You are not by trade a player,

p. 99/100

Jessie Beck and Louise Lorimer, 1893:

With keen eye the Baron glances
At young Werner, judging of him;
And beside him, nestling closely
By his seat, sweet Margaretha
Cast shy glances toward the stranger.
And on both the first impression
Was a happy one and pleasant.

“You it was, who yestereven
Startled us with sudden music?”
Quoth the Baron; “then, I pray you,
Grant me now a little converse.”
“Fine beginning!” thought young Werner,
And, embarrassed, on his jack-boots
Dropped his eyes, until the Baron,
Smiling, his discourse continued.

“To account you think I call you,
Asking you with stern displeasure
Why you brought your music hither?
Wrong! I bear no grudge against you:
All are welcome on the river.
He who goes, on chill March evenings,
Trumpeting and ague-hunting
Undisturbed may gain his object.
Nay, I only wished to ask you
Whether it would be your pleasure
Often here upon the river,
As yestreen, to sound a sennet?
But, methinks, I am in error.
You are no musician, surely?
p. 63/64

Rebecca Brünnow, 1877:


When through vales and on the mountains
Roars the storm at midnight drear,
Clambering over ridge and chimney
Hiddigeigei doth appear.

Like a spirit he stands up there,
Never looked he half so fair;
Fire from his eyes is streaming.
Fire from his bristling hair.

And he howls in fierce wild measure.
An old war-cry caterwauling,
Which is borne off by the storm-wind.
Like the distant thunder rolling.

Not a soul then ever sees him,
Each is sleeping in his house;
But far down, deep in the cellar.
Listens the poor trembling mouse.

For his voice she recognises,
And she knows that, when in rage,
Most ferocious is the aspect
Of this valiant feline sage.

p. 233

Jessie Beck and Louise Lorimer, 1893:


When the storm o’er hill and valley
Howls, at midnight’s darkest hour,
Clamb’ring over ridge and chimney,
Hiddigeigei seeks the tower.

Mounts in triumph, like a spirit,
Stands in all his beauty there,
Sparks from out his eyes are flashing,
Flashing from his bristling hair.

And he sings in wildest measure,
His old feline battle-song,
That like distant peals of thunder,
Through the night is borne along.

Human creatures cannot hear him,
Each asleep within his house;
But far down in deepest cellar,
Hears and straight turns pale the mouse.

Well she knew his awful singing,
Sore she trembled as she sat:
Fearful in his wrath and grimness
Is the ancient Hero-Cat.

p. 166/167