zins- und frohnpflichtig (1889 text)

navtis

Member
English - England
Holland ist ein durchaus freihändlerisches Land in dem Sinne, daß es dem Kapitalisten freisteht, den Arbeiter schrankenlos auszubeuten, so daß dieser auf Grund der Thatsachen „zins- und frohnpflichtig ist zum Gotterbarmen“.

„zins- und frohnpflichtig ist zum Gotterbarmen“ is presumably a quote from something - a play? song? or just a proverb? This text is 1889, but the quote sounds much older.

Graham
 
  • Thersites

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    These quotation marks might not indicate a quote but an ironic statement. They must pay interest "until they turn blue in the face".
     

    navtis

    Member
    English - England
    It turns out this is a German equivalent to the French fixed phrase "taillable et corvéable à merci". I guess because serfdom disappeared so much earlier in England there is no direct equivalent for the phrase or even for the word 'frohn/corvée' still current, but the meaning is perfectly clear. I'll see if I can make up something suitably mediaeval sounding: 'fined and enthralled till they cry mercy' (awful but I will try to improve on it).

    Thanks for the help

    Graham
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    You didn't mention that the sentence is from the German translation of a French text.
    Protokoll des Internationalen Arbeiter-Congresses zu Paris
    Abgehalten vom 14. bis 20. Juli 1889.
    Deutsche Übersetzung.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Last edited:

    navtis

    Member
    English - England
    You didn't mention that the sentence is from the German translation of a French text.
    You have identified the correct text, but the words 'deutsche übersetzung' are an oversimplification: the Protokoll is mainly a collection of speeches, which were made in various languages: maybe 40% German, 40% French, 20% English (the figures are guesses). The speeches were translated to French at the time, and later edited, but never published. The speakers were also asked to submit their own written copy of their in the original language. Most of the French notes and a few of the speakers texts survive. The published 'German translation' is based on a mix of these things plus some other source (I don't know what for sure but think German reporters present also provided their own notes). This particular speech is by Domela Nieuwenhuis, who could speak French and German, and I don't know what the actual original first language was, but it is likely it was French.

    Anyway, I am trying to translate the published German text, not 'correct' it from the other language sources where they exist. Since this published text may be a German translation of a French translation of a German speech this does mean the phrasing may not be very German.

    Graham
     

    navtis

    Member
    English - England
    Look here:
    corvéable à merci


    "à merci" till they cry mercy'!

    What about "ruthlessly exploited" as said in the linked thread?
    I think Nieuwenhuis's point is that for all the modern, liberal, ideology of the capitalists, the workers in practice are treated just as badly as they were in feudal times, nothing has changed. So the phrase should have some 'feudal' sounding content.

    However, it doesn't matter so much about the translation as long as I understand it - I can (and will) just add a footnote to explain this.
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    "zum Gotterbarmen" means pitiful / pathetic. I think it's the wrong translation of "à merci" (at will) if French is the original language.
     
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