Else von Freytag-Loringhoven
Satirical Poem about August Endell, 1901-1902




Else Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven

A Long Satirical Poem
About Her Acquaintance & Marriage with August Endell, 1900-1902*
written some twenty years after the fact




E-Edited in the Original German with Parallel English Translation
by Gaby Divay & Jan Horner**



© University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
©2001

How to cite this e-publication


I.
Herr August Puckellonder war
ein Architect höchst sonderbar.
Nicht daß ich meine die Figur -
Dinge persönlicher Natur -
hier zu erwähnen - oder so -
das fände ich gemein und roh.
II.
Wer ihn zu sehn begierig ist,
der gehe, was nicht schwierig ist,
in sein Büro, vielleicht um eins,
bestell ein Schloß, vielleicht auch keins,
vielleicht erst mal ein Himmelbett
ein'n Stiefelknecht, ein Bücherbrett,
Herrn Puckellonders Kunstgenie
erschafft auch das, wie sonsten nie.
III.
Wem sein gesamtes Mobiliar
nicht so wie seine Seele war:
Wer sich mit seinem Bett gezankt,
wer sich für sein Büffet bedankt,
vor grünem Plüsch erzittert bass,
vor rotem tief verbittert, daß
bei Perlen oder Kreuzstich
er albbedrückt brüllt nächtiglich -
kurz, diesen ist der Mann ein Gott,
den Kreuzstichgläubigen ein Spott.
IV.
Doch was ich hier berichten will,
und was ich hier bedichten will,
ist, wie der hochberühmte Mann,
der mehr als Van de Velde kann:
der es fein tiftelig versteht
daß er [ein] seelisches Porträt
von einem Urinator späht --
wie dieser Geist im zagen Leib
sich blindlings tastete zum Weib.
V.
Es gibt in Bayern eine Stadt,
die Kunst und Bier wie keine hat.
In diese kam als junger Mann
Herr August Puckellonder an.
Er wohnte dicht am grünen Park
besitzend vierzigtausend Mark.
Er hatte diese nicht erworben,
sein guter Vater war gestorben.
VI.
Herr August Puckellonder war
damals bereits schon sonderbar:
der dunkle Trieb erregte ihn
im Dämmern durch die Stadt zu ziehn.
Held Eros spornt ihn vorn im Trab,
St. Anton zupft von hinten ab;
die Hose bauscht in Zuversicht,
der Schoßrock hinten hängt so schlicht -
so kehrt er in sein Atelier
zum Abendtee, stets tête sans têt.
VII.
Doch endlich trifft ihn eine Maid
in einem keusch gestärkten Kleid,
die wußte gleich mit ihm Bescheid.
Sie war nicht schön, sie war nicht jung,
(es war ja in der Dämmerung).
Die klagte ihm, ihr trautes Heim
sei wie ihr Herz aus Rand und Leim.
VIII.
Herr August Puckellonders dunkler Trieb
verkehrt sich prompt in Menschenlieb.
Die Mutter war ihr sterbenskrank,
Papa war flüchtig, Gott seidank!
Der Onkel, der dem Vater glich,
erwartete Verhaftung sich -
Denn er ernährte die Familie,
die kranke Mutter und Ottilie.
Ottilie ging nicht auf "talon."
Nein! Lieber sprang sie vom Balkon!
Herr Puckellonder half da aus
mit an die kühlen dreissigtaus.
IX.
Jetzt aber ward es sternenklar:
Ottilie war auch sonderbar:
Nachtnächtig fuhr sie viel spaziern
mit Civilisten und Offiziern -
ihr Kleid war nicht mehr keusch gestärkt
(selbst Puckellonder hat's bemerkt).
Der wollte grade jetzt beginn'n,
die auffinanzte Maid zu minn'n --
das Künstlerhochgefühl - au Backe!
stand kerzensteif zur Frontattacke!
Da half kein Zier'n, half kein Genier'n,
und fand sich nichts zu attackier'n!
X.
Grad pürschend wollend in die Bresche
verflüchtigt sich die neckisch-fesche
Ottilie, finanziell gestärkt --
(selbst Puckellonder hat's bemerkt).
Nun fing er an zu überlegen
wieso - warum - weshalb - weswegen?
zu speculirn
zu sontisiern
zu simulirn
zu fintisirn
ein problematscher Akt der Seele
wie der, war ohne Parallele!
Er exclusiv war so bescheert --
das war die dreissigtausend wert.
XI.
Mit zugespitzter Spürernäse
schwingt er sich auf die Seelenchäse:
"Warum bin ich kein Hasser nicht?
Warum bin ich kein Prasser nicht?
Warum ist es mir nicht gegeben
Warum lass' ich Ottilen nicht
verhaften von dem Amtsgericht?
Doch findet dieser Akt mir die
verwickelte Maschinerie
der Seele, die's geschehen ließ?
War sie berechnenden Genies?
War's meine Eselei, war die's?
XII.
Ist sie zu tadeln, ist sie blind?
bin ich tollkühn, wie Männer sind?
Das Weib ist fleischlicher Natur,
die Seele reizt es keine Spur!
Hat nicht das Mädchen gründlich recht?
Sie ist anbetungswürdig echt!
Ottilie du! Weib primitiv, nicht schlecht!
In Schönheit lächle ich Verzicht,
Du liebtest, kanntest mich ja nicht!
Hätt'st du gewartet, glaubend an den Glanz --
Pah! du bist die Betrogne, ganz!"
spricht tiefe, tiefe Obsevanz.
XIII.
Nach dieser Lustbarkeitsselbststeuer
(Psychologie in Praxis teuer)
ward er noch schüchterner, noch scheuer!
Doch kommt's auch hier, vom ersten Kuß
zum unoriginellen Schluß.
Wer zweifelnd spottet wird sich irr'n,
beweisend Mangel an Gehirn:
Er küßte mich ekstatisch auf die Stirn!
XIV.
Dies gab mir Rätsel über Rätsel --
(ich war ja noch so'n kleines Mädsel!)
Eins aber wurde sonnenklar,
daß dieser Kuß fachmännisch war,
er war verblüffend sonderbar!
Ein roter Schimmer wurde wach,
Herr Puckellonder hält in Schach
ein Temprament, hinreißend, jach --
das mich, Gott ja, na also, ach!
Dies aber war, na wissen Sie,
ein Popanz reger Phantasie.
Ein Temprament von meiner Art
geht trällernd auf die Himmelfahrt.
Er war von löblicher Familie,
sein Geld besaß meistens Ottilie,
der Rest, infolge Zähigkeit
nächster Verwandten Sterblichkeit
war nicht vollendet erbbereit.
Dies diente uns zum krassem Frommen,
sonst hätt' Ottilie es geklommen
XV.
Hier muß ich streng mich selbst beschwichten,
zuchtvoll verzichten auf's Berichten,
dies darf ich nun nicht weiterdichten.
Die Discretion erfordert Pflichten
von Bräuten, Frauen, Tanten, Nichten
der besseren Gesellschaftsschichten.
Erläuternd eh'liches Charmir'n,
den zagen Gatten zu blamir'n
mußt ich mich legitim genir'n.
Es ist nicht einwandfreier Styl,
besudelnd alles Zartgefühl --
man weiß zu viel, man harrt so schwül
auf dem Pfühl
-- ornamental --
des Himmelbetts auf den Gemahl:
"Wo bleibt der Glanz ---?"
schreit bittertiefe Observanz,
hohnwütig, kritisierend-kühl,
laut-raus --
Graus.
Vor solchem Scheußlichkeitsscandal
verfärb ich mich aschgreulich fahl.
Bis hier, dies merkt der Denker jeder,
floß es mir harmlos aus der Feder,
munter, ein episches Gezeder.
XVI.
So viel merkt doch ein jeder Narr:
auf meine Art bin ich und war
auch sonderbar --
sonst wären wir kein Ehepaar
geworden -wesen, in dem Jahr,
Jahr-zeit Liebe. War das einmal wahr?
Son-der-bar.

I.
Sir August Puckellonder was, I say
An architect quite strange in ev'ry way.
I do not mean his odd physique,
But private matters, quite unique -
To speak of bluntly I'm not keen,
And would consider crude and mean.
II.
Who wishes to consult or see him
Might find his office on a whim
At one p.m., to plan a house, but no -
You better start with bootshelves low,
A bookcase, say, or heavenly
Bed with a glam'rous canopy.
Sir Puckellonder's genius innate
Such peerless work can easily create.
III.
He who hates all his home furnishings,
That fail to strike a chord with his heartstrings
Who his ornate abode contests,
Whose sideboard he in fact detests,
Who shudders in disgust of em'rald plush,
Who ruby plush considers mush,
Who perls or cross-stich plague outright,
So that he screams night after night -
Well, those like God August revere,
While cross-stich lovers at him sneer.
IV.
But what I here want to report
And in poetic garb cavort
Is how the fashionable man,
Who more than Van de Velde can,
Who so uncannily espies his soul
Within an ordinary toilet bowl -
How this great mind in body meak
Tried womanhood to blindly seek.

V.
In fair Bavaria lies a town
Where Art and Beer are in renown.
There August Puckellonder came
As a young man to seek his fame,
Took residence near English Park
Bringing his wealth of forty-thousand Mark.
For those he had not dearly vied,
No, his good father had just died.
VI.
Sir August managed to appear
Even back then as rather queer.
Dark urgings did quite often him excite
To roam the streets in rather dim twilight.
Keen Cupid spurred him to a trot
St. Anthony would keep him on the spot.
His pants in front bulged forth in confidence,
His coat-tails hanging limp with less pretense.
Thus he returned home rather late
Invariably without a date.]
VII.
But at long last a maid found him,
Dressed in a frock all chaste and trim.
That one did size him up with flair;
She was not young she was not fair
(It happened when the light was spare).
Her eloquent complaints poured out in rambles
How home and heart were all in shambles.
VIII.
Sir August's deeply hidden drives
Promptly turned into kindness for all lives.
The mother on her death-bed lay,
The father on the run -- Thank God, we say!
The uncle, not unlike the father,
Arrest awaited, though he'd rather
Care for Ottilie and sick mother.
No, never would she walk the street.
No! Rather death head-on she'd meet!
Sir August sprang to her rescue, and how,
Humanely, with a mere cool thirty-thou.

IX.
And now all became crystal-clear:
Ottilie was herself quite queer.
She cruised the town night after night
With officers or civies, less uptight.
No longer chastely starched her crumpled dress
(On August's mind this did at last impress).
And just at this point he had finally planned
To woo the maiden he had given such a hand!
Oh dear! The artist's newly-found elation
Rose tumescent, ready for a confrontation.
Through coyness and chagrin he'd tack
There WAS no object to attack!
X.
When he was ready for a bold advance
Ottilie, dressed to kill, did vanish in a prance.
She now was finacially set up --
That, Puckellonder did wake up!
And now he started ruminating about that:
How come? Why ever? Wherefore? For what?
To speculate
To sonorate
To simulate
To fabulate
Soul searching of this kind, oh well,
Was his alone, and without parallel.
So all exclusive he was now -
That was well worth a measly thirty-thou!
XI.
His keen hound's nose was leading all the way,
So, on a Freudian couch he lay:
Why can I hate not?
Why can I spend not?
Why can I ... [get it up] not?
Why can't I have Ottilie dear
Arrested at the courthouse near?
Would THIS act help in my quest for
The soul's so much entangled core.
Which made me sorry, sad and sore?
Was SHE of the manipulating kind?
Was I a dunce, was I just blind??
XII.
Should I rebuke HER, is SHE dense?
Am I at fault, on men's pretense?
Woman is all of carnal tissue,
A Higher Soul [like mine] just can't take issue!
Perhaps, the girl is right and fine?
She IS adorable and genuine!
Ottilie! Female essence, you! You are not bad!
Benignly I renounce you, since you had
No love, no knowledge of my Being -
Had you just waited for the seeing
Of my great splendour - YOU now are the victim!
So went the depth of August's dictum!
XIII.
This self-styled tax on a desire crossed,
(for good advice comes at a dire cost!)
Made him explicably much shier -
So, in the future, from our first kiss
There was essential stuff amiss.
To him who sits in doubt, derides my tale, I say
"You lack good judgement," anyway -
On my pure brow a most ecstatic kiss he lay!
XIV.
This enigmatic act did much bemuse me
[an innocent young girl I was, you see!].
Such kiss was worthy of the Master's craft.
It was peculiar, perplexing, it was daft!
My red-hot blooming passions were
Kept at a check by August then and there.
My temperament was like a tidal-wave, I guess,
It made me... good God,... alas,... well yes!
This was, however, you must know
His wishful thinking; there was no go.
My temperament was of the strongest kind,
So that a trip to Hell I'd hardly mind!
He, in contrast, came from a good family --
Most of his wealth, alas, belonged to Ottily.
No more if it was to be had,
Due to some relatives who clung to life, too bad!
They stubbornly refused to die for now.
But good that they were holding on --and how!
Ottilie would have snatched it, anyhow!

XV.
Here I most sternly must myself restrain,
Renounce my plans, to tell my tale abstain:
I surely cannot tell those facts in verse:
Discretion calls, for brides, a limit terse,
For wives and aunts and nieces, a sobriety
Imposed on all of them by High Society.
To talk about a marital disaster
Would bring some blushing to the husband-master;
To talk so freely would be vile,
And of objectionable style! A simple touch...
But incite simply knows too much.
For instance, how one oft awaited
With longing passion, unabated --
"Where is the glitter?" I lament
Or rather scream in bitter mood,
And rail, unleashed, and rather crude --
I kicked him out. It got quite loud.
Dread reigned like a most ominous black cloud.
Faced with this horrid scandal's tale,
My colour turns a ghastly shade of pale.
Up to this point, of my free will,
The ink flowed freely from my quill,
And, to be marked by all sage men,
Into a lively, coarse harangue.
XVI.
That much does not escape the common fool,
In my own way, and following my school,
I was indeed myself quite queer --
Or, we would not have wed that year!
Nor had four seasons of a love sublime --
Did this all happen, once upon a time?
"How odd, how strange," my thoughts now chime.



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Email gaby_divay@umanitoba.ca or horner@cc.umanitoba.ca
©
2001, University of Manitoba Libraries


* The original German poem about August Endell was composed in Berlin during the winter of 1923/24. Freytag-Loringhoven had eturned there from New York at a most unfortunate time, when post W.W.I inflation had reached its peak so that American painter Marsden Hartley, for instance, chose to write letters on large Billions-of-Mark denomination bills because they were cheaper than ordinary stationery.
Else had been in voluntary exile for some twelve years, having sailed in July 1910 to rejoin her companion Felix Paul Greve in Pittsburgh, where she was arrested in September for cross-dressing & smoking in public. Greve had left Berlin with an alleged suicide in July 1909, and after he left near Sparta, Kentucky in 1911, he was to become the Canadian author Frederick Philip Grove in 1912. In both his lives he used to sign with his plain initials "FPG" [seen here in a 1946 monogram designed by Else's former husband August Endell around 1900].
As she had done from America, Else continued to write many blackmail and extortion letters from Berlin to old and new friends [or foes] like Ernst Hardt and August Endell, Endell, to members of the illustrious Freytag-Loringhoven family, or to famous writers like André Gide [attested] and Bernard Shaw [undocumented so far] both of whom were virtually unknown to her.

The original German poems about August Endell & Ernst Hardt presented here were discovered in the Freytag-Loringhoven Collection at the University of Maryland, College Park, in April 1991. They were first published as an appendix to Gaby Divay's article "Abrechnung und Aufarbeitung im Gedicht: Else von Freytag-Loringhoven über drei Männer (Ernst Hardt, August Endell, Felix Paul Greve)" in the journal Trans-Lit, SCALG VII/1, 1998, 24-37. An English version of this text will be provided in the future.

**Both of the satirical Freytag-Loringhoven poems e-published here in bilingual form were originally translated by Gaby Divay for Carol Shields in March 1998. Gaby's rough rhymes would have forever remained unsuitable for public consumption without Jan Horner's expert poetic skills. The Endell poem was much improved during retreats in June & July 2001, the one about Ernst Hardt in November 2000.



How to cite this e-document:
Freytag-Loringhoven, Else von. "Herr August Puckellonder war..." / "Sir August Puckellonder was...": Satirical account of her brief marriage to August Endell, 1901/2. e-Ed. & Tr., Gaby Divay & Jan Horner. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, Archives & Special Collections, ©2001.
<http://www.umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/collections/fpg/frl/txt_endell/>

Webpage last revised: 6Nov2007. Accessed ddmmmyyyy [ex: 18jun2004]. [browser preview: 5 p.]


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