Goethe for a grey November day

Building your business is like planting a garden. A fellow translator once said that and I liked it then.
Looking out of the window on a grey November day, the idea sounds less tempting.
Well, it might be right with regard to careful planning and selecting the best suited soil, plants and fertilizer – but what about Darwin and survival of those that adapt best?
What about the joyful discovery of new developments, of beautiful wild flowers and berries, what about attracting birds and butterflies?
On a grey November day, let’s support the artistic angle of the language business.
The land of translation is like the land of song: Infinite and inspiring, disregarding whether you’re dealing with joyful, exciting, simple, complicated or even dull varieties.
You struggle, you discover, you enjoy the plenitude.

And, as for the building aspect, there is an ever true stanza from Goethe’s ‘Singspiel’ (playlet) Lila, set as a song (‘Beherzigung’) by Brahms and other composers:

Cowardly thoughts,
in anxious vacillation,
sissyish* hesitation
fearful lamentation
will not change adversity
will not set you free.

Opposing all force
staying true to one’s course,
never to yield,
maintaining your field,
will call the arms of the Gods
to your side.

*mmhh, obviously Goethe and his contemporaries wouldn’t have used the term “sissyish”. The Man himself called it “weibisch”, woman-like, effeminate – nothing to do with political correctness, it sounds wrong nowadays. Even someone’s attempt to translate the thought by spineless doesn’t cover the idea. Tough luck for our sisters called Sissy – the word fits best.


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