Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sláinte, Sire Schiller!

Geben Sie Gedankenfreiheit!
Give freedom of thought! *
Friedrich von Schiller , November 10th, 1759 - May 9th, 1805
To put it straight: In case I were an autograph collector, I'd give 100 Grass' and Goethes for one Schiller.

* The quotation above is incomplete?
You miss one word?
The word "Sire"?

Hm, let's look at
Don Carlos, 3,10 on page 176 of Volume one of the complete edition from 1886, published by A. Warschauer Verlag, Berlin.

It's obviously neither Geben Sie Gedankenfreiheit, Sire! nor Sire, geben Sie Gedankenfreiheit!.

Why would most quotation collections then offer Sire, give freedom of thought! ?

Let's look a bit closer.

See the 'stage directions' after Gedankenfreiheit?

1. in the same line: Sich ihm zu Füßen werfend = Throwing himself at his feet

2. König / King (überrascht, etc = surprised, etc.)

Is it possible that some translator(s) in later (erroneously) added König / Sire to Marquis Posa's speech, and thus it became Sire, give freedom of thought?

Well, anyway, Friedrich, both we shall be able to live with this, shan't we? :)

In this sense [raising my tin chalice from 1905]: Sláinte, Sire!


  1. I looked carefully. No! I don't see a Sire on that line. Were you asking me? I find editors and translators often betray the original text. I love your old, tainted, brownish-yellowish book. I wish I could read Don Carlos in a similar presentation. I'll see what the Toronto Library offers in French or English.

    One day late: À la votre, Sire Schiller!

  2. Claudia,
    no, I was just anticipating that a slight amount of those few who have this quote in their active quotation collection, will miss the Sire, and therefore might accuse me of quoting incorrectly. :)

    Looking forward to learn what your library offers.