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Study Guide

The Sorcerers Apprentice Study Guide.pdf

Use the above link to download a PDF file which includes information about the poem "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and its history. There's also some activities for the classroom which are related to the show.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Good! The sorcerer, my old master
left me here alone today!
Now his spirits, for a change,
my own wishes shall obey!
having memorized
What to say and do,
with my powers of will I can
do some witching, too!

Go, I say,
Go on your way,
do not tarry,
water carry,
let it flow abundantly,
and prepare a bath for me!

Come on now, old broom, get dressed,
these old rags will do just fine!
You’re a slave in any case,
and today you will be mine!
May you have two legs,
and a head on top,
tie the bucket, quick
hurry, do not stop!

Go, I say,
Go on your way,
do not tarry,
water carry,
let it flow abundantly,
and prepare a bath for me!

Look, how to the bank he’s running!
and now he has reached the river,
he returns, as quick as lighting,
once more water to deliver.
Look! The tub already
is almost filled up!
And now he is filling
every bowl and cup!

Stop! Stand still!
Heed my will!
I’ve enough
of the stuff!
I’ve forgotten - woe is me!
what the magic word may be.

Oh, the word to change him back
into what he was before!
Oh, he runs, and keeps on going!
Wish you’d be a broom once more!
He keeps bringing water
quickly as can be
and a hundred rivers
he pours down on me!

No, no longer
can I let him,
I must get him with some trick!
I’m beginning to feel sick
What a look! - and what a face!

O, you ugly child of Hades!
The entire house will drown!
Everywhere I look, I see
Water, water, running down.
Be you damned, old broom,
why won’t you obey?
Be a stick once more,
please, I beg you, stay!

Is the end
not in sight?
I will grab you,
hold you tight,
with my axe I’ll split the brittle
old wood smartly down the middle.

Here he comes again with water!
Now I’ll throw myself upon you,
and the sharpness of my axe
I will test, o spirit, on you
Well, a perfect hit!
see how he is split!
Now there’s a hope for me,
and I can breathe free!

Woe is me! Both pieces
come to life anew,
now, to do my bidding
I have servants two!
Help me, o great powers!
Please, I’m begging you!

And they’re running! Wet and wetter
get the stairs, the rooms, the hall!
What a deluge! What a flood!
Lord and master, hear my call!
Ah, here comes the master!
I have need of Thee!
from the spirits that I called
Sir, deliver me!

“Back now, broom,
into the closet!
Be thou as thou
wert before!
Until I, the real master
call them forth to serve once more!”

(Translation copyright by Brigitte Dubei)