Else von Freytag-Loringhoven
Satirical Poem about Ernst Hardt, 1896-1898




Else Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven

A Long Satirical Poem About Her Stormy Affair With Ernst Hardt, ca. 1896-1898 *
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, rev. Feb. 2004



I.
Es hat mal einen Ernst gegeben
Der war für mich das Salz zum Leben.
Doch eines Tages krass und jäh
Verließ er mich und ging zur See.
II.
Nicht daß er etwa als Matrose
Die Welt durchflog, die grenzenlose.
O Gott -- ich sage, die Idee!
Er ging als Passagier zur See.
III.
Er ging direkt bis nach Athen,
Um seine Hochzeit zu begehn.
Das Mädchen, das dazu erkoren,
War nämlich in Athen geboren.
IV.
Ihr Temperament kam nie ins sieden.
So sehr war sie von mir verschieden.
Auch hatte sie, in Ernst vernarrt,
Auf Ernsten wartend ausgeharrt
V.
Der sieben Jahre ohne Zucken,
Auch ohne frech sich umzukucken
Nach andern, um damit zu flirten,
Und drum, um dieser unerhörten
VI.
Schätze von Tugend allerhand,
Zog Ernst zur See nach Griechenland.
Ich ging mit Richard in die Schweiz,
Die hat doch immer ihren Reiz.
VII.
Und Richard hatte Sympathie
Mit meinem Leid, und zeigte sie.
Auch hatte er das Geld bereit
Zum Trost in einer solchen Zeit.
VIII.
Am bläulichen Lugano See
Tat mir die Sehnsucht ernstlich weh.
Im Flieder sang die Nachtigall,
Da war es aus und war es all.
IX.
Ich legte mich auf kalte Fliesen
Und schrie nach Ernst und wünschte diesen.
Und als ich so nach Ernsten schrie,
Kam Richard mit der Sympathie
X.
Und mit dem Geld, der liebe Bengel,
Er war ein absoluter Engel.
Er war mir Stütze, Stab, und Ruder,
Er war so gut als wie ein Bruder.
XI.
Ein Glück, daß ich den Richard hatte!
Er war so gut als wie ein Gatte.
Mit diesem Gelde reist' ich Meilen
Und Meilen -- Ernsten zu ereilen,
XII.
Der noch in Dresden was besorgte.
Ich glaube, daß er sich was borgte.
Er konnte nämlich gar nicht sparen.
Er konnte nur in Droschken fahren,
XIII.
Um sich nicht seelisch zu besudeln
Und dichterisch zu übersprudeln.
Er war erst grade ausgewachsen,
Und er bekam dies Geld aus Sachsen.
XIV.
Doch nein, ich irre mich, aus Mainz.
Ernst hatte Geld so gut wie keins.
Sogar das Geld die Braut zu frein
War er genötigt, sich zu leihn.
XV.
Der Richard war sein Freund gewesen,
Er hatte auch sein Stück gelesen:
"Der Zank ums Zuckersüß" genannt,
Und weil er nichts davon verstand,
XVI.
Ich meine Richard, Ernst -- na, ja,
Doch das ist weder hier noch da.
Ich kritisiere hier kein Stück,
Ich klage um zerflognes Glück,
XVII.
Und überhaupt, das ganze Dichten
Hilft nicht den Lebensknoten schlichten.
Es ist nur, daß der Dichter klag'
Um etwas, daß er nicht mehr mag.
XVIII.
Ich sage es ganz ohne Zieren,
Ihr könntet mir den Ernst servieren
Mit Lorbeerkränzen und mit Bitten,
Umsonst -- ihr hättet euch geschnitten,
XIX.
Ihr hättet euch gemein verhauen,
Ich kann sein Dichten nicht verdauen.
Ich mache euch hier keine Flusen,
Ich kann sein Dichten nicht verknusen.
XX.
Doch damals, laßt es mich bekennen,
Ob mir vor Scham die Backen brennen,
Hätt' er gedichtet wie die Tante,
Wie heißt sie doch, na, die bekannte
XXI.
Ihr habt sie alle ja gelesen, die Natalie,
Hätt' er gedichtet so wie die,
Oder gechattert wie Karl May
Es war mir gänzlich einerlei,
XXII.
Es war für mich gar keine Chose,
Es war mir Jacke so wie Hose.
Es kam mir gar nicht in die Kiepe,
Es war mir schnurz, es war mir piepe.
XXIII.
Und lautete es monscheinharfen-prächtig,
Es war mir höchstens sehr verdächtig.
Was ging mich das Gesäusel an,
Er war der heiße Sonnenmann.
XXIV.
Sah er mich an mit Strahlenaugen,
Mußt' ich an seinen Lippen saugen.
Wie Trunkenbolde an 'nem Bittern.
Wir faßten uns, um loszuzittern.
XXV.
Ich war kein Mensch, ich war ein Schlauch,
Fest drängt' ich mich an seinen Bauch.
Schluchzjauchzend wie es Dichterbrauch
Tat er es schießlich, endlich, auch.
XXVI.
Dies war des Weltbaus Zweck und Sinn,
Und deshalb ging ich immer hin,
Und deshalb kam er zag und zier
Voll Sinnenlust auch hin zu mir.
XXVII.
Nach Keuschheit doch so [sehr] verlangte,
Weil es ihn um sein Dichten bangte.
Drum muß ich heut' mich noch beschweren:
Die in Athen konnt' ihn entbehren.
XXVIII.
Wer sieben Jahre warten kann,
Braucht überhaupt doch keinen Mann,
Der sieben Jahre langes Warten
Läßt Liebe zum Fantom entarten.
XXIX.
Sie konnte pudelselig sein
Mit dem Fantom, der Ernst war mein.
Ich hatte ihn mir glatt erworben,
Ich wäre süß für ihn gestorben.
XXX.
Ich hätt' das Leben ihm gegeben,
Viel besser als Polly in Theben.
Ach nein, Athen; doch im Exzesse
Hieb er mir einstmals in die Fresse,
XXXI.
Aus Dichtergram und Hysterei,
Verlangend nach der Polizei.
Drum ging ich mit dem Richard reisen,
Und überließ ihn seinen Preisen
XXXII.
Und seiner Braut aus Mondenschein
.......................................pottallein.

I.
Once, there was a man called Ernest
Who gave my life much salt and zest.
But one fine day he up and left me
Stranded, to sail the open sea.
II.
Not as a sailor to explore
The world in all directions four.
Dear God! Who would think that?!
As passenger he went, a pampered cat.
III.
Towards fair Athens he made straight
His wedding there to celebrate.
The maiden he had planned to wed
In Athens had been born and bred.
IV.
Her temperament, quite unlike mine,
Refused to burn, was cool and fine.
Her love for Ernest was devout,
Tenaciously she had held out.
V.
Without a quiver, for seven years,
Abstaining from all looks and leers,
With other men she remained chaste,
And therefore, drawn to sail in haste,
VI.
To claim such virtues incarnate
Did Ernest join his perfect mate.
Richard and I went to Switzerland,
Where, as you know, the views are grand.
VII.
And Richard had much sympathy
With all my plight and consoled me.
He also had the money handy
To soothe my woes as if with candy.
VIII.
Lake Lugano, shimmering in blue,
Brought out my longing, oh so true.
As lilacs brimmed with nightingales,
My deep-dark grief went off the scales.
IX.
I threw myself on the cold tile,
And howled for Ernest all the while.
And while for him I called by name
Good Richard with his money came,
X.
And sympathy, the darling Dear!
He was an angel, and without fear.
He was my pillar, staff, and rudder.
He was as good as if my brother.
XI.
What luck to have the dear at hand
He was as good as a husband.
With his resources I went mile on mile
To catch my Ernest in great style
XII.
He was in Dresden, to shop around
For loans to keep him safe and sound.
You may well know: he could not save;
All his money to cabs he gave,
XIII.
So not to tarnish in his fine soul,
or jeopardize the poet's goal.
Barely grown up and in long pants,
From Saxony came helping hands.
XIV.
But no, I'm wrong, from Mainz it came.
Ernest had nothing, what a shame!
Even to wed his fiancee
He had to borrow, had to repay.
XV.
Richard had once befriended him,
Had read his play, so dark and grim:
"Strife for Sweetness" it was named,
And no great sense from it he claimed.
XVI.
I mean Richard. Ernest -- oh dear...
But this is neither there nor here.
I am not here to judge of this,
But to lament evaporated bliss.
XVII.
And anyway, all poetry-making
Fails to smooth out life's undertaking.
The poet offers loud lament
About emotions he has spent.
XVIII.
I'm telling it without a frill:
You could push Ernest all you will,
With laurels, honours, and acclaim --
You would be begging all in vain.
XIX.
Sorely your target you would miss,
At his fine work I'd roundly hiss.
I'm telling you what is at hand:
All of his stuff I cannot stand.
XX.
But way back then, let me confess,
Though shame ignite my face in much distress,
If he had rhymed as well as matron ...
What was her name? You all were patron
XXI.
Of Natalie's; you all have read her;
Or like Karl May's old Shatter-chatter --
Had Ernest shared with these success,
I really could not have cared less.
XXII.
For me, it simply was no issue,
Like pants and tops, mismatched in tissue.
I did not let it in my mind,
I was aloof, was disinclined.
XXIII.
Ernest was spouting moonshine-splendid tones
At best, I was suspicious of his poems.
What could I make of this insipid bran?
He was my Thor, the hottest kind of man.
XXIV.
When his sun-like eyes shone into mine
I had to suckle from his lips divine.
Junkies with their bottle I'd resemble.
With our embrace, we set ourselves atremble.
XXV.
I was a beast, a tube alive.
Tightly against his bulge I'd strive.
Exultantly he sobbed like poets do,
He at long last surrendered, too.
XXVI.
This was, in tune with cosmic laws,
Why I kept running to his claws.
And why he came to me, furtive and coy,
His mind all full of lust and sensual joy.
XXVII.
Yet, pureness he did so desire,
His precious poetry not to bemire.
Still I must berate him to this day:
His Athen-sylph with him would never lay.
XXVIII.
Who seven years can bear to wait
Most surely needs no man to mate.
Seven full years in a chaste veil
Degrades true love into a phantom pale.
XXIX.
She could be happy with sunshine
And phantom-lovers, Ernst was mine.
I had him conquered by my side,
Gladly for him I would have died.
XXX.
For him, my life I'd give in loving folly,
More readily than would his Athens Polly.
Once Ernest, in the heat of rage,
When poems would not flow upon his page,
XXXI.
He punched me on the kisser - oh!
And then for the police he'd crow.
That's why I went with Richard travelling
And left dear Ernst to his unravelling
XXXII.
And to his bride of pale moonlight
......................all alone and out of sight.



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2001, University of Manitoba Libraries


* The original German poem about Ernst Hardt was likely composed in Berlin during the winter of 1923/24. Freytag-Loringhoven (FrL) had returned 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, 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 Ernst Hardt & August Endell 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 Hardt poem was much improved during a retreat in November 2000, the Endell one in June & July 2001.



How to cite this e-document:
Freytag-Loringhoven, Else von. "Es hat mal einen Ernst gegeben..." / "Once there was a man called Ernest": Satirical account of her affair with Ernst Hardt, 1896-98. e-Ed. & Tr., Gaby Divay & Jan Horner. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, Archives & Special Collections, ©2000.
<http://www.umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/collections/fpg/frl/txt_hardt/>

Webpage last revised: 6Nov2007
. Accessed ddmmmyyyy [ex: 18jun2004]. [browser preview: 4 p.]



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