Saturday, August 05, 2023


Essential Workers

Goethe, Faust, Part II, lines 5205-5214 (hewers of wood speaking, tr. David Luke):
You must understand
We want praise and esteem:
For if none in the land
Were hard of hand,
Where would they be,
The cream of the cream,
For all their wit?
They'd freeze, if we
Didn't sweat, you see;
That's the nub of it.
The same, tr. Stuart Atkins:
But to our credit
do not forget this:
Unless coarse fellows
did heavy labor,
how would fine folk,
smart though they be,
ever exist?
Learn well this lesson,
for you'd be frozen
if we'd not sweated!
The same, tr. Martin Greenberg:
Do us the justice,
Fine dames, gentlemen,
To acknowledge our service:
We're crude, but without us,
What then, what then,
Though you're ever so clever?
How you would shiver,
Freeze to death without heat,
If we didn't sweat.
The German:
Zu unserm Lobe
Bringt dieß in's Reine;
Denn wirkten Grobe
Nicht auch im Lande,
Wie kämen Feine
Für sich zu Stande,
So sehr sie witzten?
Des seyd belehret;
Denn ihr erfröret
Wenn wir nicht schwitzten.

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