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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) Ellens Dritter Gesang; Fragen (28) RE: Ellens Dritter Gesang; Fragen 10 Feb 14

OK, here goes...

Firstly, there's nothing wrong with the text as quoted - it certainly does make perfect grammatical sense, although it's rather convoluted.

The confusion arises from the meaning of the word "Jungfrau", which means "maiden", "damsel", but also "virgin", and also refers to the Virgin Mary. The word is used in both its general and specific sense in Adam Storck's German version of Scott's original. The first two lines are:

"Ave Maria! Jungfrau mild,
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen ..."

"Ave Maria! Virgin mild,
Hear a maiden's entreaty/supplication..."

The test should be understood as "one maiden speaking to another", and the Jungfrau in the last lines is Ellen - echoing the first lines.

"Wolle" is a subjunctive, used to express wishes and hopes - something like "oh that such-and-such would happen", "If only ..." etc.

The last verse is::

"Wir woll'n uns still dem Schicksal beugen,
Da uns dein heil'ger Trost anweht;
Der Jungfrau wolle hold dich neigen,
Dem Kind, das für den Vater fleht.
Ave Maria!"

Which means (I'm no poet!):

"we will submit to our fate
As your holy solace wafts over us,
Oh that thous mayst bend over the maiden,
A child who beseeches thee on behalf of its (her) father
Ave Maria"

As to the grammar:

"der Jungfrau" is dative - "to the maiden"

"dich beugen" - reflexive verb - literally "bend yourself", so Storck can get away with omitting "du"

"dem Kind" - also dative, i,e, the "Jungfrau" and the "Kind" are the same person, i.e. Ellen

Phew! Leadbelly's version quoted above is nice, although it changes the perspective by making "Jungfrau" refer to the Virgin Mary - but it basically means the same!

Hope that helps!!


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