logo
Search:

Nicolas Edouard Becker


 
At times, Becker's moralizing tone is a bit hard on the stomach. Nevertheless, a number of his poems are very enjoyable. I especially like Remembrance and White Crows, because you can sing them easily to old Luxembourgish folk tunes. Driving the Oxen is a very funny ballad as well. But read for yourself: I'm sure everyone will find a verse that is to his liking in the motley collection here below.
 

 

Stand Strong My Son

Stë fest mei jong!

Stand strong my son! If false deceit
On you its hate and gall has spent;
'Cause truth and honesty defeat
These feelings surely in the end.
 
Stand strong my son! If dreadful storms
Are gathering round your heart and head;
Crush down your nagging doubt like worms
Or else the Devil wins his bet.
 
Stand strong my son! A decent guy
Will gladly do whatever's right;
He'll look you frankly in the eye
And never acts just out of spite.
 
Stand strong my son! Because your soul's
Salvation you shall hold most dear;
If to your faith you steadfast hold
Then snide remarks you need not fear.
Stë fest mei jong! wann d'falschhêt déch
Och nidderdréckt matt hâsz a neit;
Wât recht a wóer, sicherlech,
Et kênt 'rém uowen matt der zeit.
 
Stë fest mei jong! wann d'fûrchtbar stîrm
Der sauszen îwer hèrz a kapp;
Zertrèt den zweiwel 'wë d'gewîrm.
Soss kritt de schwârzen déch mam schlapp.
 
Stë fest mei jong! dât as de mann,
Dên ongbekémmert dêt, wât recht;
Dê frei an d'â ê kucke kann,
Dên zèlt gewéss nét bei de schlecht.
 
Stë fest mei jong! dei sëlenhêl,
Et musz der îwer alles gôn,
Dei glâf, dê së der kêmôl fêl,
Wât och de âner mège sôn.
 

 

The Farmer's Song

Bauereliddchen

In all the land the very best
Are farmers who with happy zest
And sweating brow, that much is sure,
Our daily bread for us secure.
't would hunger reign all through the land
If 't were not for the farmer's hand.
 
From early morning unto night
And often till the stars shine bright
The farmer's working in his field,
Not just in cash he counts his yield
But in the pleasure to supply
The bread on which we all rely.
 
The plow, that is the farmer's shield,
Behind this steel he walks his field,
The scythe, that is his trusted sword,
Well sharpened it's a treasure hoard,
'Cause hay and rye and corn and wheat
Are by this weapon cut down neat.
 
The farmer works all year indeed
Behind the plow, to plant the seed.
To stack the hay, to harvest grains,
Involves much work and many pains.
To feed us all with bread all right,
He hardly ever gets respite.
De beschte mann am ganze lant,
Dé fént mer an dem baurestant;
Hèn zët jô d'brót fir alle welt
Matt saurem schwêsz a séngem felt;
Erhéngere miszt der alleguor,
Wîr nét de bauer matt der schuor.
 
Fu muorges frë bis owens spitt,
An dack bis dasz der stère g'sitt,
Hellt séch de bauer op dem felt,
Dach dét en 't nét eleng fer d'gelt,
Hè schâft èch gèren d'dêgelech brót
A schîrmt èch gèr fîr hongersnót.
 
De pló, dên as dem bauer d'schélt,
Dât hè recht gère fìr séch hélt,
An d'sëszel huot en als e schwèrt,
A gutt geschlaff as dë fill wèrt,
An hê a grumm, a wês a kuor
Lêt hèn op d'récker matt er duor.
 
De bauer as dermêscht geplôt,
Bâl matt dem pló, bâl matt der sôt,
Da matt dem hê, da matt dem wês,
An all séng ârbecht kascht e schwêsz.
Fer brót ze zë'n fer jidderên
As hè bâl émmer op de bên.
 

 

Money! Money! Money!

Gelt! gelt! gelt!

In every walk of life you find
There's only trouble reigning,
And if you ask what's on their mind
They always start complaining.
 
The carpenter earns money good,
He doesn't like his craft, though:
Tools are expensive, so is wood,
And wages are so low.
 
The tailor bickers that his trade
With thread and needle's slowing,
The cobbler says the very same,
His wealth it won't keep growing.
 
The newsreporter cries for cash,
The greenbacks won't come tumbling,
And if the banker has to spend
Some money he starts grumbling.
 
The blacksmith hammers all day long,
His coals so brightly shine,
He sells his wares and spends the cash,
Now, how to buy the iron?
 
The merchant handles in his shop
His scales and his tape measure,
The narrow profit margin brings
Him anything but pleasure.
 
The teacher's household can't afford
To spend a lot of money,
His wife, his children, pale as ghosts,
This isn't very funny.
 
The tavern keeper's house is full,
But far from being happy,
He moans and drinks lots of his beer,
He fears it might turn crappy.
 
And if you see inside his book
You see what is his trouble,
His patrons always want to buy
On credit and they squabble.
 
The farmer's lot is not the worst
Although he works untiring,
If wares are dear, grain prices low
The farmer starts perspiring.
 
He is a middleman for us,
Whom every man's applauding,
He may not be the richest guy
And yet his life's rewarding.
 
It seems to be the fashion now
To pile up many riches,
But wealth won't make you all content
It merely gives you itches.
A jiddem stant op grósz op kleng,
Bei jiddem fént mer plôen;
A frô' der ên, 'wë hèn ét dreift,
Da fenkt en un ze klôen.
 
Ferdéngt de schreiner och nach gelt,
D'gescheft as em zewidder:
D'geschîr as deier, d'buorten och,
De lón as fill ze nidder.
 
De schneider klôt, et gêt nét recht
D'gescheft matt nôl a schëer;
Beim schóster as ét grât esó,
Sei gelt rennt fill ze sëer.
 
Den zeidongsschreiwer rifft nô gelt,
'Well d'greenbacks lânzem kommen,
A soll de banquier gelt ausgin,
Da fenkt en un ze brommen.
 
De schmatt, dê klappt fu muorgens frë,
Ferbrennt derbei séng kuolen,
Ferkêft séng wôn, an da kê gelt,
Wë d'eise nû bezuolen?
 
De kâfmann schafft de gânzen dâch
Matt môszen a gewîchter,
An owens wann e rechnonk hellt,
Da mécht e lâng gesîchter.
 
Beim lërer spîlt de schmuolhans oft
Am haus de kichemêschter;
Séng frâ, séng kanner kucken drân,
As wèren 't lèwech gêschter.
 
De wîrt, dé ként zefridde sin,
Dach klôt en, dasz en dauer;
Mâ hèn drénkt selwer muonche patt,
E fèrcht e gëf em sauer.
 
A weist en èch sei buch emôl,
Da weist en èch séng suorgen,
Dô stin dë all a grószer zuol,
Dé émmer némme buorgen.
 
De bauer stêt nach nét der schlechst,
Zwâr musz e séch fill plôen;
Sén d'sâchen deier, béllech d'frûcht,
Huot hèn e recht ze klôen.
 
Hèn as esó e méttelmann,
Mer dîrft e bâl erhèwen,
A wann en och fill gelt nét huot,
Dann huot en dach ze lèwen.
 
Bâl jidderên, dat as de mót,
Wéllt séch fill gelt erspuoren,
Dach wèn derbei zefridden as,
Dât hudder nét erfuoren.
 

 

Remembrance

Zur erénneronk

A New Year's gift for the old settlers in town 12 and 13.
 
Come forward you men all, it's evening and winter,
If you can't see clearly, come forth with a lantern,
Sit down and let's chat, boys, about times of yore,
Some thirty years passed and they seem like much more.
 
Let's talk about what we have meanwhile accomplished,
The things we've created, the life we've established,
We didn't have much, as we came to these lands,
But hard workers were we, had bright minds, strong hands.
 
We didn't have houses, no shed and no stable,
Expensive were cattle and food on the table,
We didn't have bedsteads, no table, no chair,
The land we had bought was still woodland, I swear.
 
We set to the task then, robust and with courage,
Each settler was busily clearing a passage,
We built our houses, a fence was put up,
And tree marks showed where our properties stop.
 
We worked hard all day, we were clearing and burning,
With smoke in the eye and the hands badly blist'ring,
We rarely complained, yes, all eager we were,
The hope in our hearts was a powerful spur.
 
And when we at last had a house and a stable,
Potatoes and bread and some meat on the table,
A school and a churchhouse stood now on our site,
All pain was forgotten, the future looked bright.
 
At last we had roads – though not yet quite perfected –
The field fruits and flour were faster collected,
If carts became stuck in the mud at the task
At least we now had a good swig in our flask.
 
We now have good land, decent houses, a stable,
We've money and maybe some stocks, we were able
To live through the trouble and live through the pain,
So let's praise the Lord for the comfort we've gained.
 
Some friends from our midst, they've been dead now for long,
Yes, some suffered downfall, they sinned and did wrong,
But none of our friends will we ever forget,
We say a Lord's Prayer remembering the dead.
Den âlen usidler an town 12 & 13 zum neie jôer.
 
Erbei nun dîr jongen, 't as owent a wanter,
Dê klôr nét geseit më, dê komm matt der lanter,
Mer wéllen emôl plauderen fun âlécher zeit,
Dë drészech lâng jôer nun hanner ons leit.
 
Mer wéllen 't ferzèlen, wât mîr hun errongen,
Wât mîr ons geschâfen, wât mir ons erzwongen,
Mer hâten nét fill, wë mer quómen an d'lant,
Dach kreften, dë hâte mer, fleisz a ferstant.
 
Mer hâte keng heiser, keng stell a keng scheier,
Derbei nach wôr d'fë an den észekascht deier,
Mer hâte keng bettstèt, keng still a kên désch,
An d'lant, dât mer kâft hu, wôr alles nach bésch.
 
Mer góngen un d'ârbecht ganz muddech a kreftech,
Beim hâen a brennen wôr alles bescheftech',
T' góf heiser gebaut an och fence gemât,
Gezéchent zum nôper matt blessen e pât.
 
Wât hu mer geplôt ons matt ruoden a brennen,
Den damp an den âen, keng haut un den hennen,
'T góf sêle geklôt, ét hât jidderê loscht,
Erféllt wôr matt hoffnonk em jidde séng broscht.
 
A wë mer en haus, an e stall an eng scheier,
'Môl hâten, a schólen, a kîrchen an âner gebeier,
A grompren a brót, an och flêsch op dem désch,
Wôr d'lêt ons fergëszt, an ons hoffnonk 'rém frésch.
 
Dû krûte mer strôszen – wa schlecht s'óch nach wôren –
Fer d'frîchten an d'millen, an d'mèl hêm ze fuoren,
A blóf 'môl ên hâlen am suppeche mesch,
Dann hât en zum tróscht dach eng schlupp an der flesch.
 
Nun hu mer schë lenner, schën heiser a scheiern,
Fleicht gelt op der bank, a fleicht soss nach popeiern,
Mer hun îwerstâne fill trubel a lèt
An danken dem hêrrgott, datt haut ét gutt gêt.
 
Zwâr muonchen aus onserer métt as gestuorwen,
Fleicht hei an dô ên zó gront gâng, ferduorwen,
Dach gét haut fu jiddem, dê bei ons nach rèd,
Den dóden zur ró e Fatt'ronser gebèt.
 

 

In the Spring

Am frëjôr

The grass and plants are newly "shooting",
The sprigs upon the trees are too;
You might deduce that nature's rooting
Is dangerous to wander through.
 
But that is not at all what's happening,
You need not fear a single thing;
As soon as winter is retreating,
Each creature's welcoming the spring.
 
The field is full of merry living,
Each bird is singing its sweet song,
Great thanks each person should be giving
To Him who made this all along.
 
No child will stay inside his chamber,
They all want out into the sun.
Outside they play and happy clamber,
The gloomy living-room's no fun.
 
And even silver-haired grandfather
Will sit outside, enjoy the light,
His eighty years no longer bother
The man who knew hardships and plight.
 
He likes to watch the children playing
Around him full of joy and mirth,
No doubt this sight to him conveying
Sweet mem'ries from his place of birth.
 
Recalling how, a child, he rambled
Through meadows, fields, through heather, wood;
With friends up hills he often scrambled
And singing happily they stood.
 
His happy childhood he's recalling
And how his youth was gayly spent,
Then as a man, he knew much toiling
And now approaches his life's end.
 
Like in a mirror he is seeing
His life before his very eyes,
He wishes then with all his being
As a child once more to view the skies.
 
He knows that when this life has ended
A better life awaits him then,
Towards this life with arms extended
Should strive through hardships every man.
 
As winter soon makes room for spring –
A season sweet, which none would miss –
Thus God to every man will bring,
When this life's done, eternal bliss.
Ewell fenkt d’grâs erém un ze “schëszen”,
An d’bêm am bésch, dë “schlôen” aus;
An dô 'raus ként mer jô wuol schlëszen,
Et wôt kê ménsch séch aus dem haus.
 
Dach dât as ganz a guor ferkëert,
Fum fèrchte gét ét nét eng spûr;
'Só bâl de wanter d'muocht ferlëert,
Frêt alles séch an der natûr.
 
Wât as um felt e léschtecht lèwen,
All fîlche peift a sénger frêt,
Dât musz dem ménsch jô d'hèrz erhéwen
Zó dêm, dên alle sêge strêt.
 
Et wéllt kê kant am haus më bleiwen,
Se wéllen all am sonneschein
Dobauszen séch hîr zeit ferdreiwen,
Se nennen d'stuff en deischtre schrein.
 
De grószpapp matt de sélwer hôer,
Dé sétzt séch och eraus an d'sonn,
En zèlt nun an de uochtzech jôer,
An dôan muonech schwëer stonn.
 
Et mécht him frêt, wann hèn dë kanner
An hîrer frêt em séch geseit;
Et as gewéss och më dohanner,
En denkt un d'êge kannerzeit.
 
Wë hèn als kant erém gesprongen,
Dûrch wîs a felt, dûrch bésch an hêt,
Un d'liddercher, dë hè gesongen,
A matt komrâten séch gefrêt.
 
Denkt wë ét him a jongen dôen,
An dann och spèder as ergâng;
Wë hè als mann séch huot misst plôen,
A wë sein hèrescht ugefâng.
 
'Wë an em spîgelbîlt geseit en
Sei lèwenslâf dô fîr den âen;
O wèn dë lëf, schë kannerzeiten,
Nach êmôl, denkt en, matt ként mân.
 
Dach wêsz en, dasz nô désem lèwen
E bessert fîr de ménsch ugêt,
Wuornô as mîr all solle strèwen,
Trotz allem kreiz an allem lêt.
 
Wë mîr nôm wanter d'frëjôr krëen,
Dât jonk an âlt fill frêt berêt,
'So wêrt och wuol ons alle blëen,
Nô désem lèwen d'sëlechkêt.
 

 

Two Paintings

Zwê biller

I
 
A boy with eyes so bright and clear,
The age of maybe eighteen years,
Stands in the door, surrounded by
A sea of flowers, fresh and high.
Around the house, the garden, too,
The fields and woods in brightest hue.
The boy has just one heartfelt wish:
Oh, could I go, leave in a swish,
Oh, could the whole wide world I span,
Yes, I would be so happy then.
 
II
 
A wise old man, who's seen the world,
A face so sad and silver curls,
His thought towards the ocean soars,
He's seen so many foreign shores,
He's been around the world and now
Stands in the city, doleful brow,
The man has just one heartfelt wish:
Could I go home, home in a swish,
Oh, could I see my home again,
Yes, I would be so happy then.
I.
 
E jong matt âen hell a klôr,
Am âlter fu fleicht uochtzéng jôr,
Stêt an der dîr, dë schën emklët
Matt blumme foller hêrrlechkêt,
Em d'haus e gârt, e wîsegront,
A felt a béscher fârwech bont;
Dê jong, dê wénscht séch émmerzó:
O këm éch fort, éch hu keng ró,
O ként éch dach d'ganz welt gesinn,
Wë sollt éch dann dach glécklech sin.
 
II.
 
En âle mann, dé fill gesinn,
Matt grôem kapp an drëwer minn,
Stêt an der stât, kuckt îwer d'mèr,
E quóm fu weide résen hèr;
En as scho ront ém d'welt gewèscht,
Dach ênt bedrëft en nun am gêscht,
En denkt a wénscht séch émmerzó:
O kém éch hêm, dann hett éch ró,
Ként éch méng hêmecht nach gesinn,
Wë wéllt éch dann dach glécklech sin.
 

 

Winter Song

Wanterlitt

To the tune of "Droben stehet die Kapelle"
 
What a terrible cold weather,
Hear the stormwind's horrid sound,
Pushing snow and grass and heather
Over hard and frozen ground.
 
Hear him howl around the houses,
People shudder at his voice,
Breaking trees, the twigs he rouses,
Chases them with screeching noise.
 
Birds are pitiful, unhappy,
Perched upon the brittle bough,
While the northwind fierce and snappy
Whirls around them ice and snow.
 
And the wide-eyed children marvel
At the window's rose-display
Painted by the frost, we shudder,
What an awful, dreary day!
 
Many sit around the oven,
They don't feel the storm and cold,
Yet don't thank the Lord above them,
Him who gave them what they hold.
 
Not a thought they will bestow on
Poor men who must walk the street,
Our mercy they rely on,
Else their children they can't feed.
 
Surely things would still be sadder
Could we hope not for one thing:
That the winter's horrid weather
Will make room for balmy spring.
 
Hope is for each Christian person
Comfort when we ache and pine,
Though through Holy Week things worsen
Easter Sunday makes it fine.
Op d'Weis "Droben stehet die Kapelle"
 
O wât as ét e greiszlecht wèder,
A wë heilt de stûremwant,
Jêt de schnë, ant d'grâs ant d'blèder
Iwer d'hârt gefruore lant.
 
O wë peift en un den heiser,
Datt ét engem schudderech gét,
Brécht fill bêm, an escht a reiser,
Wë en alles fîr séch jêt.
 
D'fulle sétzen kâl an traurech
An dem bésch op dódem reis,
Em se blëszt de nôrtwant schaurech,
Ronderém as schnë an eis.
 
D'kanner, dë betruochten d'blummen,
Dë de frascht um glâs gemâch',
Zëen séch fu kêlt zesummen:
Wât as dât e wëschten dâch!
 
Wë fill sétzen ém den uowen,
Spîren neischt fu stûrm a kêlt,
Danken èwel dém dô uowen
Nét, dê mécht, datt neischt e fêlt.
 
Denken och nét un den ârmen,
Dên haut musz dobausze sin,
One gnôt an ónst erbârmen
Fîr de kanner brót ze gin.
 
Sicher wîr ét nach më traurech,
Wann dë hoffnonk nét besténg,
Dasz nôm wanter, kâl a schaurech,
D'frëjôr schën a méll uféng.
 
D'hoffnonk as ons chrésteleiden
Tróscht zur zeit fu kreiz a lêt,
Nô der Kuorwoch matt de leiden
Folgen d'Oschtere matt der frêt.
 

 

The Old Man and His Pipe

Den âlen a séng peif

I have a friend who's dear to me,
I love him more than I can tell,
He's never let me down, you see,
I would not want to say farewell.
 
The friend I'm speaking of, you see,
Is no one other than my pipe,
He's made of maplewood and he
Is all my joy, my greatest pride.
 
When I was young, I do admit
Sometimes I smoked a good cigar,
But since I'm old I haven't lit
One, I prefer the pipe by far.
 
There's nothing better than my pipe,
And nothing that I better like,
With good tobacco full and ripe
Right through its soul the fires strike.
 
If there's a thing that worries me
And if I don't know where to turn,
When gout is gnawing at my knee
I light my pipe and let it burn.
 
When I am sad he comforts me,
I watch him glowing fiery red,
And then I feel a rush of glea
When smoke is clouding round my head.
 
My wife has long to heaven gone,
Upon my children's grave I wept,
I have no friends, am all alone,
But this one happiness I've kept.
 
I'm old and wise, and praise the friend
Who will assist me in my need,
That's all that's counting in the end
That such a friend you have indeed.
Ech hun a frént, dên as mer lëf,
Dên hun éch îwer alles gèr,
En huot méch kêmôl nach bedrëft,
Fer alles gëf éch hèn nét hèr.
 
Et as mein âle peifekapp
Fu mâszelter, aus guddem holz,
En as ganz ronn ewë en dapp,
En as méng frêt, mei ganze stolz.
 
Gutt zigârn hun éch och alt wuol
Gefémmt a ménger jonger zeit,
'T as ânescht haut, wó eng ganz zuol
Fu lânge jôr derzwéschent leit.
 
Haut as neischt besser as méng peif,
An neischt wât mîr esó gefël,
Féllt gudde knaster hîre leif,
Brennt d'feier hîr bis dëf an d'sël.
 
Hun éch och eppes, wât méch dréckt,
A fêlt ét mîr u guddem rôt,
Wann d'gîcht mer all meng glidder zwéckt,
Da gét nôm peifekapp gefrôt.
 
Hè bréngt mer tróscht a jiddém lêt,
Matt frêden stèchen éch en un,
Well wann de kapp am damp mer stêt,
Da sin éch allzeit besser drun.
 
Méng frâ, dë wêrt am himmel sin,
Méng kanner huot der dót geholt,
Méng frénn, dë se mer ontrei gin,
Mâ dése frént hei bleift mer holt.
 
Dê luowen éch als âle mann,
Dê frént, dên trei bleift an der nót,
'Well frénn op dë en traue kann,
Dêr gin der dreizéng op e lót.
 

 

The Old Forty-Sixer*

Den âle sechsafëerzéger*

When I'm looking all around me
At the state of things round here,
Many faces in this county
Are now drooping, that once cheered.
There are those that are complaining
And are spreading gossip round,
Braggarts meanwhile they are feigning
That their wealth and skills abound.
Then I see,
Won't you agree,
The reason for this sorry sight
Is nothing else but envy, pride.
 
Nowadays the peopl' are holding
Mortgage-money and great farms,
If they need to walk, they're moaning,
No, their shoes won't come to harm.
Every fam'ly owns a buggy,
Not just any, no, the best,
When parading out in muggy
Weather, pride will swell their breast.
But I say,
Let them stray,
Those who must on status dwell
Are creating their own hell.
 
Women wear their fancy dresses
With a feather in their cap,
Jealousy their look expresses
If a girl has nicer wrap.
All the girls are good at dancing,
Better than their mothers were,
In their frilly clothes they're prancing,
Showy, colourful they are.
Can you see it,
Understand it,
What will come of it at last:
Pride reaps sorrow unsurpassed.
 
Oh, the happy days of olden
When great riches none possessed,
When our wooden huts in golden
Forest light stood new and blessed.
People barely made a living,
P'tatoes, scraps of meat and bread
And a drop of schnapps was giving
Us the strength to face all dread.
So, you see,
You will agree,
Back then people did not fight:
If no one's wealthy, there's no spite.
 
Back then manners were inviting,
All the neighbours got along,
Never ever were they fighting,
Wish 't had never gone so wrong.
When the neighbours came together
Happily they reminisced
And their goodwives brought a platter
Full of food, hard to resist.
All were glad
To sit and chat,
Back then no one knew about
Hate and jealousy, no doubt.
 
In the living room is standing
Pretty furniture today,
Back then on the staircase landing
Working boots were on display.
Men wore cotton pants and socks and
Women wore no silly frill,
Carts were pulled by sturdy oxen,
Vanity was no man's skill.
Yes, I'm saying
It's dismaying,
Happiness back then was light,
Just think back and say I'm right.
 
No man's trusting his companion,
Jealousy is all you find,
You can, that is my opinion,
See this even when you're blind.
Some try to oppress their neighbours
Using money like a spike,
Others looking down on labour
Take on man and God alike.
So, you see,
You will agree,
't is a fact, quite easily,
That with pride comes jealousy.
 
Journals nowadays are written
By enlightened liberal minds,
Readers nowadays are getting
Bored with the traditional kind.
If the neighbour reads "Freethinker"
Or another heathen sheet,
Others see it as a wink to
Also ditch their right-wing treat.
Can you see it,
Understand it,
Our problem's far from new:
Monkey see and monkey do.
 
And the rich folk are begrudging
Poor man's daily crumb of bread,
They are very bad at judging
How he had to slave for it.
But the poor are yet more jealous,
Full of envy will they stare,
'Cause the lucky wealthy fellows
Don't know miserable despair.
Can you see it,
Understand it,
't is a solid fact, indeed:
Hate is bred by pride and greed.
 
People, take a look around you
And you'll see what state we're in:
Even on this foreign ground you
Fight with all your kith and kin.
But the man who has decided
To be decent, as of yore,
He is laughed at and derided
As a fool, an awful bore.
So we better
Drop the matter,
Cannot change it, 'tis no use,
Otherwise all hell breaks loose.
 
*In 1846, Europeans first settled in the region around Port Washington
Wann éch haut rondém méch kucken,
Wë ét bei ons ausgeseit,
Wêrde fill haut deischter kucken,
Dë gelâcht zó âler zeit.
Eng din neischt më as wë klôen,
Oder d'nôpre schlecht ze mân,
Aner musse brâlen, blôen
Wénke kluch mat hîren ân.
Da gesinn éch,
Da ferstin éch,
Wóun as dât alles leit:
'T as guor neischt 'wë stolz a neit.
 
Haut hun d'leit hir prechtech fârmen
A fleicht gelt op mortgage stôn;
Matt de schongen hun s' erbârmen,
'T wéllt kê ménsch zó fósz më gôn.
Buggies hun se alleguoren,
Wéllen all de schënsten hun,
Wann eng op de strôsze fuoren,
Stécht de stôlz dë âner un.
Mâ éch sôn,
Lôszt se gôn,
'T mâchen eng den ânern 'nô,
Schâfen séch hîr êge plô.
 
Hófrech klêder drôen d'frâen
An eng fèder op dem hutt;
Neidech lîchten hinnen d'âen,
Klêt eng âner séch më gutt.
D'mêdercher, dë kénnen danzen,
Besser 'wë hir mamm ét konnt,
Klêder foller firlefanzen
An och fill a fill ze bont.
Jô gesidder
A ferstidder,
Wât dodraus um enn entstêt:
Stolz a neit matt kreiz a lêt.
 
A wât wôren dât gutt zeiten,
Wë nach kê fill reichtom hât,
Wë am bésch nô alle seiten,
Hétte stóngen bis un d'stât.
D'leit, dë hâte grât zum lèwen
Grompren, eppes flêsch a brót,
An eng drépchen dann dernèwen
Fîr de bauchwë an der nót.
Mâ gesidder
A ferstidder,
Dêmôls góf ét guor kê streit:
'T hât kê fill, dô wôr kê neit.
 
D'leit dë wôren dû zefridden,
En hât nach den ân're gèr;
Sicherlech góf nét gestridden,
Dasz ét dach 'só blîwe wèr!
Quómen d'nôper dann zesummen,
Da góf alles opgefréscht,
A wë fréntlech wôren d'mummen,
Alles hun se opgedéscht.
'T wôr e frôen,
'T wôr e sôen,
Wë mer haut ét nét geseit:
'T woszt nach kên fun hâsz a neit.
 
Wó se haut dë schënste mîw'len
An den heiser stôen hun,
Stóngen dêmôls schwëer stîw'len,
Dë se sonndes ugezun.
'T menner hâte kotténgs bochsen,
D'frâe wôren nét ferklêt,
Fîr ze fuoren hât mer ochsen,
'T woszt kên neischt fun eidelkêt.
Jô éch sôen,
Musz gestôen,
Duorfir hâten d'leit och gléck,
Kuckt an denkt emôl zeréck.
 
'T as keng fréntscheft më ze fannen,
Well se séch all neidech sin,
Dât ka jô e jidde blannen
One bréll èch haut gesinn.
Matt dem gelt wéllt ên erdrécken
D'nôperschâft, dë ém e leit.
Aner wéllen séch nét bécken,
Se' matt Gott a welt am streit.
Ma gesidder
A ferstidder,
Wôun dasz dât alles leit:
Matt dem stolz kénnt och de neit.
 
Zeidonge gin haut gehâlen,
Dë ganz opgeklëert sén,
Kên huot haut më wuolgefâlen
Un em blât matt guddem sénn.
Lèszt e nôper de "Freidenker"
Oder soss en hêdeblât,
Denkt en âner, wât deiwénker
Fort mat méngem pâfeblât.
Jô gesidder
A ferstidder,
Wuofîr haut dë grószech plô,
E mécht gèr dem âner nô.
 
Reich leit kénnen 't nét fergonnen
Armen nôpern d'dêglecht brót,
Wann se séch och fill geschonnen,
Bis se quómen aus der nót.
An den ârmen as bal schlémmer,
Kuckt de reichen neidech un,
Well dên séch nét émmer, émmer
Kreiz a lêt brauch unzedun.
Jô gesidder
A ferstidder,
Wôun as dât alles leit,
Hâsz entspréngt aus stolz a neit.
 
Kuckt der èwel ém èch, menner,
Wë ét haut hei ausgeseit,
Och an dése frème lenner
Leien d'nôpern nach am streit.
Mâ wéllt ên ét besser mâchen,
Oder wë ét frëer wâr,
D'leit, dë dëten hèn auslâchen,
Dëte sôen: 'T as e nâr.
Jô, mer wéllen
Ganz am stéllen
D'welt schë lôsze, wë se as,
Soss wîr gleich der deiwel lass.
 
* 1846 as d'gëgent nörtlech fu Port Washington ugesidelt gin
 

 

The Blind Boy

Den blanne jong

One sunny day in summer I
Was walking through a woody nook,
The air was fresh and blue the sky,
Bright flowers grew along a brook.
 
And nature laughing greeted me,
Each bird was singing full of joy,
But I grew sad when under a tree
I saw there sat a girl and boy.
 
The children rested in the shade
Much sweeter than in painter's mind,
I secretly attention paid
And realised the boy was blind.
 
"Dear Mary," said he to the lass,
"I know that you can see the bird
That sits and sings there in the grass,
I bet it's beautiful," I heard.
 
"Yes, Matty, look there in the sun
It's perching on a mighty beech."
"Wish I could also see that one."
He's sighing, while he makes the speech.
 
"You told me that the flowers bloom
From spring into the autumn months,
And trees are pretty, I presume,
For all to see with eyes at once.
 
At least one happiness I've got
And therefore, God, be greatly praised!
The flowers' scent my smell has caught,
The birdsongs leave me all amazed.
 
And so I will not fret and whine
That here on earth I cannot see,
But please do tell me, sister mine,
Do blind men reach the heaven's glee?"
 
"Dear Matty, all blind men see there,
But, tell me, why you want to know?"
"I'd like to see, that is my prayer,
Our God up there who loves us so."
 
Soon after this encounter, I
Heard that the boy was very ill,
His mother could not help but cry
And pray his death was not God's will.
 
The boy caressed her teary face
And said: "Oh please, don't cry for me.
I'll soon be seeing God's bright grace,
This thought is filling me with glee.
 
To that bright place you'll come as well,
Dear mother, you and Mary, too,
Just don't forget, you have to tell
Me that the people I see are you."
 
Thus spoke dear Matty and he died,
In death his gentle face still smiled,
And God in heaven opened wide
The seeing eyes of this brave child.
Un engem schëne summerdâch
Dû góng éch dûrch a klenge bésch,
Fill blummen góf et dô lânscht d'bâch,
An d'loft am schèt wôr kill a frésch.
 
Wë huot méch alles ugelâcht,
All fîlchen huot sei litt gesong',
Mâ wât mer wë émt hèrz gemâcht,
Dât wôr e mêdchen an e jong.
 
Dë kanner sószen dô am schèt,
E bîlt 'wë kên ét môle kann,
Ech lauschtren hêmlech hîrer rèt,
A wosst dû gleich, de jong wôr blann.
 
"Lëft Marë", hèn zur schwester sêt:
"Du kanns de fîlchen dach gesinn,
Wë hèn dô séngt a sénger frêt,
Musz hèn dach wîrklech prechtech sin."
 
"Jô, Mettë, kuck am sonneschein,
Sétzt hèn op enger grószer bich."
Den ârme klenge seifzt: "O mein!
Ech wéllt, dasz éch en och gesich.
 
Du sês, dasz d'blumme lëflech blë'n
Fum frëjôr u' bis d'hèreschtzeit,
Dasz d'bêm am bésch all gréng a schën,
Eng frêt fer dên, dên dât geseit.
 
Zwâr eng plesëer hun éch och:
An duorfîr ons'rem hêrrgott dank!
Fu schëne blummen de geroch
A fun de fullen de gesank.
 
Duorfîr wéll éch och nét fill klôn,
Wann éch heinidden neischt gesinn,
Dach eppes musz de mîr nach sôn,
Op och am himmel blanner sin?"
 
"Nê, Mettë, dô gesinn se all,
Wó denkst de dann op êmôl hin?"
"Ech mècht de lëwe Gott dach bâl,
Dên alles dât erschâft, gesinn."
 
De jéngelchen, dên dât gerèt,
Dê góf fum fëwer mattgeholt.
Séng mamm, dë huot gekrasch, gebèt,
Datt Gott en dach ferschóne solt.
 
E fillt er d'trënen um gesîcht,
A sêt: "O kreischt dach nét fer méch,
Ech kucke bâl an d'himmelslîcht,
Dât mécht méch da jô gléckelech.
 
Dernô, lëf mamm, fun déser êrt
Komm dîr an d'Marë och dohin,
Da sô der mîr, dasz dîr ét wêrt,
Ech hun èch jô nach nét gesinn."
 
Dât sêt de Mettë a ferschêt.
Séng minn huot nach nôm dót gelâcht;
Douowen an der ëwechkêt
Huot Gott him d'âen opgemâcht.
 

 

Poet and Bird

Dîchter a fillchen

When spring anew comes to these lands
Our heart with bliss and joy feels strong,
Invigorated now expands
The poet's breast with tale and song.
 
His melody booms like the storm,
Then soft and fresh as breeze in May,
This mixture feels as good and warm
As sunny days, a sweet bouquet.
 
Just like a well turns turbid, clear,
The poet's everchanging heart
At times is bursting with good cheer
And then again is torn apart.
 
Just like the little bird that sings
Within its fragant leafy nest,
The tune full joy, then mournful rings
'Cause what it feels must be expressed.
 
It is rejoicing all day long
Inside its happy home up high,
And when you hear its merry song
It lifts your spirit to the sky.
 
And even locked up in a cage
It's singing, bittersweet its song,
Reminding us at every stage
It loved its freedom all along.
 
The same holds for the poet true,
Whose pain rings forth with every song,
Who knows what challenges life threw
Upon the path he walked along.
 
Just like a bird that's flying free
He seems when joyfully he sings,
Just like a bird inside a cage
He seems when sad his music rings.
 
So wonderful's a poet's mind
That it can equally express
That which brings greatest happiness
And that which gives him such distress.
Senkt d'frëjôr séch erém an d'lant,
As d'hèrz erféllt matt frêt a loscht,
Matt neiem lèwe spréngt gesank
'Wë d'blëen aus der dîchterbroscht.
 
Bâl rauscht sei litt 'wë stûrm dohin,
Bâl luos an zârt 'wë d'mêeloft,
Dât mécht e wonnerfollt gemésch
Fu sonneschein a blummendoft.
 
E bûr, dên drëf bâl, a bâl klôr,
Ferennerlech as d'dîchterhèrz,
Bâl as ét foller lëft a gléck,
Bâl foller trauer, foller schmèrz.
 
Betruocht de fîlchen, wë e séngt,
A séngem doft'ge blèderhaus,
Bâl séngt en hëch, bâl séngt en dëf,
Dach wât e fillt, dât dréckt en aus.
 
E frêt séch sénges schënen haus,
Well hèn doanne glécklech lèft,
De ganzen dâch tënt e gesank,
Dên engem d'hèrz zum himmel hèft.
 
As hèn am kèrfchen âgespârt,
Da séngt en och, e gét nét mitt;
Wë hèn am freie glécklech wâr,
Erkenne mîr u séngem litt.
 
'Só as den dîchter, dêm sei schmèrz
Aus séngem littchen deitlech tënt,
Wè wêsz, wât hèn um lèwenspât
Schon hârdes, rauhes jê begënt.
 
E gleicht dem fîlchen an dem bésch,
Wann hè fu gléck, fu frêde séngt,
E gleicht dem fîlchen an dem kuorf,
Wa wëmutsfoll sei liddche klénkt.
 
'So wonnerfoll as d'dîchterbroscht,
Dasz sî 'só guor, wât d'hèrz erdréckt,
Am sangen ze erkenne gét,
'Sô gutt ewë dât, wât sî begléckt.
 

 

The Course of Life

De lèwenslâf

A horse-drawn carriage comes along the drive,
Within the rig a rich man and his wife,
Just look, the woman's splendidly adorned,
Such great magnificence cannot be scorned.
 
At ease they watch the landscape passing by,
Here villages, there fields and meadows lie.
They're looking gracefully to left and right,
I wonder do the rich know much delight?
 
Behind his sawbuck a muscular man
Is staring raptly at the passing van,
He looks and sighs with longing after them:
"I dearly wish I owned that travelling gem."
 
The baron looks upon his dressed-up wife,
His heart with sorrow fills about his life.
"I'm rich, in money literally I swim,
And yet I wish I were as strong as him."
 
There comes a girl, as fresh as a new bud,
A load upon her back, cheeks red as blood,
Her light young voice rings out into a song,
But then she sees the carriage drive along.
 
And when she spots the lady in her dress,
Who rests on downy cushions without stress,
She sets her heart upon that silken gown,
That life of leisure, riches and renown.
 
The wealthy lady meanwhile contemplates
The healthy farmer's girl, her heart it aches.
"Oh my! I hate this wretched rattling cage,
Wish I were free like her and young of age."
 
Thus goes the course of life, what we possess
We never cherish and we ne'er express
Our humble thankfulness to God, instead
About what others have we daily fret.
 
You people, rich and poor, oh, can't you see
How life's thus wasted to a high degree,
No man today is happy with his lot,
He thinks his friends are all more fortunate.
 
Do not be silly, it's the same old tale,
Resentment will with rich and poor prevail,
Felicity is meanwhile locked up tight,
Contentment is the key to that delight.
Dûrch d'gâsz erân matt engem fëergespann
A precht'ger kutsch, dô fîrt a reiche mann;
Séng demchen, dë sétzt bei em fei geklêt.
Wât as dât wuol fîr eng grósz hêrrlechkêt?
 
Se fuoren lânzem, sî betruochten d'welt,
Hei bâl en duorf, bâl dô eng wîs, e felt,
Se kucken d'seit bâl aus, a bâl zeréck.
Hun dë bei allem reichtom och all gléck?
 
Um holzbock dô gesinn s'e stârke mann,
Dên d'âe nét fun hinne schlôe kann,
E kuckt, e seifzt en traurech hannennô:
"Hett ên eng kutsch a gelt 'wë dë dô."
 
Ganz deierlech, matt engem drëwen â,
Bekuckt de barong séng gebotzte frâ.
"Zwâr hun éch gelt, a fill 'wë hé;
Mâ wîr éch stârk, as wë dé matt der sê!"
 
Dô ként e mêdchen, frésch a wuolgemutt,
Eng bîrt um réck, a bâke rót 'wë blutt;
Et séngt sei litt matt heller, klôrer stémm,
An drët op êmôl séch gént kutsch erém.
 
A wë ét damm an hîrem botz geseit,
Wë sî gemechlech an de késse leit,
Dû wénscht ét séch hîrt feint neiseide klêt,
Hîr bante, streisz an hîr gemechlechkêt.
 
An d'damm, dë an der kutsch, wât sêt wuol dë?
Bekuckt dë môt, an d'hèrz, dât dêt er wë,
“O mei! mer tréllt séch mitt hei am gefèr,
Wè jonk a schën, as wë dât mêdche wèr!"
 
'Só as ét op der welt, a wât mer hun,
Fer Gott dem hêrr ze danken, 't denkt kên drun,
Matt grîweln îwer âneren hîr sâch
Ferdreift mer d'zeit bei nuocht a bei dem dâch.
 
Dîr reich, dîr ârem, hudder ét scho beduocht,
Wë d'lèwen sénnerlech erém gét bruocht?
'T as kê më haut zefridd'n a séngem stant,
E mengt sei frént hett gléck më as ferstant.
 
Sitt dach nét tôpech, 't bleift séch ëwech gleich,
Den neit, en as bei ârem a bei reich;
Dach d'gléck, dât as ferspârt matt engem schlasz,
Wuorzó d'zefriddenhêt de schléssel as.
 

 

The Rich Man's Son

Den hêrrejong

I am a rich man's pampered son,
Can do whatev'r I please;
My dad has money, I have fun
And luxury and ease.
 
The clothes are very fashionable,
I wear exquisite shoes;
My brand new hat, it suits me well
When through the town I cruise.
 
My bed is softest eiderdown,
I sleep until past ten;
I ask for breakfast, without frown
My servant serves me then.
 
Then I drive through the city streets
At a most hellish speed;
And I am laughing from my seat
At workers that I meet.
 
And music helps me pass the time,
I do no work, no trade;
The afternoon is most sublime,
I'm resting in the shade.
 
Whenever I feel slightly ill
I get some medicine;
I'm never hot and never chill,
I've never known chagrin.
Ech sén e jongen hêrr, dîr leit,
Ka mâche, wât éch wéll;
Mei papp as reich, an dât bedeit:
Ech hun allzeit mei wéll.
 
Nôm neiste mót sén éch geklêt,
Ech drôe prechtech schong;
E neien hutt, dé mîr gutt stêt,
Mécht méch e feine jong.
 
Ech schlôfen an em fèderbett
Bis muorgens ém de zéngt;
Wann éch da gèr mein èszen hett,
Gin éch recht gutt bedéngt.
 
Da gét ét dûrech d'gâszen all
An engem rant gejôt;
Wë lâchen éch, wann îwerall
Séch grósz a kleng dô plôt.
 
Schë muséck hu mer émmerzó,
Fun ârbecht gêt keng rèt,
A wann éch wéll, hun éch méng ró,
Mer lêt séch an de schèt.
 
Wa mîr 'môl eppes klenges fêlt,
Da krë'n éch médecin;
Ech leide widder hétzt nach kêlt,
Soll éch nét glécklech sin?
 

 

The Farmer's Son

De baurejong

My father is a farmer and
I want to be one too,
'Cause farmer's work is heaven sent,
Brings happiness so true.
 
I need no hat, no fashion frills,
Those things are rich man's toys,
I don't have these expensive bills,
My mended clothes enjoy.
 
Each morning when I rise and shine
Before the sun is up,
Potato soup for breakfast's fine,
I relish every sup.
 
I tend the horses, hack the wood,
The cows need to be milked;
The outdoor toil makes me feel good,
At many things I'm skilled.
 
And music helps me pass the time
At work out in the fields;
The birds are singing most sublime,
To their sweet song I yield.
 
I'm healthy, full of energy,
My force is never spent;
I'm happy as a lark can be
Because I am content.
Mei papp, dên as e bauersmann,
An éch wéll och ê gin,
'Well neischt as besser engem kann
Fer gléckelech ze sin.
 
Kên hutt, keng broscht, nôm neiste stuol,
A wât dë reich begléckt,
Keng deier klêder hun éch wuol,
Mâ gutt, wann s' och gefléckt.
 
All muorgens stin éch ganz frë op,
Gewënlech fîr der Sonn,
Wë gutt schmâcht da méng gromprenzopp,
Se schmelzt mer bâl am monn.
 
Ech drenken d'pêrt, 't gét holz gerasz
An d'kë, dë gi gestrach,
'Só lang um felt dann ârbecht as,
Gét nét derfu gewach.
 
A muséck hun éch émmer frésch,
Dë klénkt mer óne më,
'T sin d'fillercher, dë an dem bésch
Mer sange spët a frë.
 
Ech sé gesont, as wë de fésch
Am wâszer èch ka gin;
Mei mutt, méng frêt sén émmer frésch,
Well éch zefridde sin.
 

 

Driving the Oxen

Ochsendreiwen

A true story
 
In eighteen sixty-eight it was
That Pierre came to this land,
Found work then as a farmhand
He knew what farmwork meant.
In the Champagne he'd laboured,
Was handy with the plough,
As hired hand he oft' felt
The sweat break on his brow.
 
Our Pierre was good at ploughing,
Knew how to sow and mow;
Could drive a cart with horses,
All farmwork did he know.
The farmer one day sent him
Upon the field in spring,
To sow the seeds with oxen,
That was no easy thing.
 
At first the oxen trod there,
He followed like a prince,
They suddenly resisted
And stopped right at the fence.
He ordered them to tread on,
To fast resume their trip;
The oxen were not budging,
He even used his whip.
 
They slowly shake their heads but
They clearly will not move,
And neither French nor German
Can make them budge a hoof.
At last out came the master,
He laughed quite heartily,
Pier scratched his head in wonder:
"They just won't move," said he.
 
Mischievously is grinning
The farmer at young Pierre:
"Believe me, son, your German
Nor French will help you here.
You need to talk plain English,
That's all they know, you see,
In 'Merica all oxen
Like Yankees want to be."
 
He turns around and faces
The oxen, shouts: "Back haw!"
At once they go on pulling,
Amazed, Pierre laughs: "Hoho!"
He doesn't mind admitting:
(Upon his heels he rocks)
"Wish I would know my English
As good as this old ox."
 
Now Pierre works as a barman
Down in New Trier, I s'pose,
The farmer lives at Random
His name is Beckesch Klos.
Worecht, keng Dichtonk
 
Am jôer âcht a sèchzech
Dû quóm de Pèr an d'lant,
Ferdéngt séch bei e bauer,
En huot jô d'ârbecht kannt.
Hè wôr schon an der Champagne,
Wôr dô um pló gefuor,
An îwerhâpt a Frankreich
Hât hè scho fill erfuor.
 
Konnt plóe, sëe, mëen,
All baurenârbecht dun;
Matt pêrde konnt e fuoren,
E góf nét îweldrun.
De bauer, kuckt, dê schéckt en
Am frëjôr an der sôt,
Op d'felt matt séngen ochsen,
Dô woszt e guor kê rôt.
 
Wuol góngen d'ochse prechtech,
An hèn ewë e prénz,
Bis sî op êmôl stóngen
Am eck bei enger fenz.
Dû huot e commedëert
Fer d'këer schnell ze mân,
Wë d'ochse nét parëert,
Se matt der batsch gehân.
 
Se hun hîr kepp geréselt,
A wollte guor nét gôn,
E schwetzt bâl deitsch, franzësesch,
Dach d'ochse bleiwe stôn.
Op êmôl kóm de mêschter
A lâcht de Pèrchen aus,
Dê krâzt sêch hannerm óer: –
"Wë krëe mer s' lô eraus?"
 
De mêschter trétt ganz schelmzech
Ferun de Pèrchen hin:
"Hei helft dîr kê franzësesch,
Well sî kên deitsch ferstin.
Hei musz de englesch schwetzen,
Dâs d'sprôch, dë sî ferstin;
A Mérika, dô wéllt jô,
All ochs e yankee sin."
 
Gekëert zo den ochsen
Rifft hè ganz streng: "Back haw!"
Dû kommen sî gezûen,
De Pèr, e lâcht: "Hoho!"
Drop sêt e ganz treihèrzech:
(A reift séng henn un d'bochs)
"Kénnt d'englescht éch ferstôen
Ewë esó en ochs."
 
De Pèr as zó Nei Trëer,
Ferzâpt dô bei der môsz,
De bauer wunt bei Random,
Mer nennt e Beckesch Klôs.
 

 

White Crows

Weisz kuoben

To the tune of "Kuob"
 
A farmer walks his field, a rifle in his hand,
He's eager to shoot down all raven from his land,
A murder of crows he sees, approaching with their dame,
The mother showing off her young without a shame.
 
"Whereto with that there gun?" she asks the farmer bold,
"Methinks of evil birds you want to get a hold;
That project I quite like, but, farmer, don't you dare,
Of my dear young ones you shan't touch a single hair."
 
"Well, madam," said the man, "I'll see what I can do,
A crow that eats my grains I'll shoot without ado,
And if your precious kids behave like any crow
Well then I won't, dear madam, any mercy show."
 
"Oh," answered Missus Crow, "don't fear, they're not depraved,
Unlike so many young, my kids are well behaved.
They are my saint-like dears, not one of them a thief,
They have been brought up well, this you may straight believe."
 
"If that is so, dear Ma'am, one thing just let me know:
How can I tell your child apart from the next crow?"
"My kids are very neat, their clothes are always clean,
They are the whitest crows that you have ever seen."
 
The farmer goes his way, Dame Crow sits in the shade,
She croaks: "After this talk, I need not be afraid.
My neighbour's kids are all as bad as they can be,
If some of them were shot that would be fine with me."
 
Around high noon the man comes back, his chase is done,
Upon his mighty shoulder a bunch of crows are hung
"Caw, caw! What do I see? If only I'd known that!
How dare you, cursed farmer, shoot my kids all dead."
 
"Do not blame me, dear Ma'am, these crows are black as night,
And I recall quite well you told me yours were white.
So therefore these blacks crows cannot your children be,
Unless unwisely, Ma'am, you lied this morn to me."
 
"Caw, caw, oh no, what perfid, treacherous foul play!
You rascal know it well, it is as clear as day,
My children are all white, you did an evil deed,
I hope you trust how well a mother knows her breed."
 
So from this tale a moral we can easily draw:
Most mothers do not see their children's greatest flaw;
Pitchblack is white, their babes they sure will not berate,
And when they realise the truth it's all too late.
Op d'weis fum "Kuob"
 
E flént op sénger schéller e bauer gêt an d'felt,
Dô mècht hè gèr all kuobe lîwre fun der welt.
Et ként en trapp geflû'n, eng zûcht mat hîrer mamm,
De âl drët hin an hèr më stolz as wë eng damm.
 
"Wóhi mat êrer flént?" rèt sî de bauer un,
"Ech denken haut sén all schlecht fullen îweldrun;
Dât musz éch sôen as recht, mâ gét mer némmen uocht,
Dasz kênt fu ménge kanner gét em d'lèwe bruocht."
 
"Madamm", sôt dû de bauer, "dât wélle mer gesinn,
Ech schësze némmen dë, dë d'welschkuor schnèwle gin;
A wann êr kanner dât, wë âner wéllen dun,
Da wészt, datt éch matt hinne kên erbârmen hun."
 
"O", entwért schnell frâ kuob, "méng kanner din dât nét,
Et sén de bescht fun alle kuoben, dë ét gét.
Sî si ganz brâf a frumm, 't as kênt, dât eppes stîlt,
Mer sé fu brawe leit, hun d'kanner gutt gezîlt."
 
"Abë madamm, gét mir dann îwer ênt beschêt:
Wóun erkennt en êr, sin s' âneschter geklêt?"
"Ganz fein sén se geklêt, éch kann èch sôn sî sin
Më weisz, as dîr ért lèwen nach e kuob gesinn."
 
De bauer gêt; frâ kuob sî setzt séch an de schèt
A sêt: "Wât rîcht mer aus matt enger kluger rèt!
Dô as mei nôper huor, sei ganze stôt as schlecht,
Gëf dên emôl erschosz, 't geschëch dem dëf sei recht."
 
Gént méttech, wë de bauer fun der juocht hêm ként,
Huot hèn eng kludder kuoben henken un der flént.
"Gâk, gâk! Wât as dât dô? hett éch dach dât gewoszt,
Der huot jô dach mer all méng kanner dót geschoszt."
 
"Madamm sèt dach nét bës, sî si jô schwârz 'wë d'nuocht,
E weisze kuob ze schëszen hun éch nét geduocht.
Et kénnen êr nét sén, sôss hu der méch belûn,
An och, der muszt gestôn, èch selwer uorch bedrûn."
 
"Gâk, gâk, mâjô, wât as dât dô eng lompech sâch!
Der wészt ét gutt genuch, ’t as klôer 'wë der dâch.
Dë kanner si ganz weisz, der huot nét recht gedôn,
Dât kann dach besser kên, as wë hîr mamm èch sôn."
 
D’moral fun dèr geschicht ka jidderê gesinn:
Muonch mamm as ganz ferblénnt, want d'kanner bëses din;
Schwârz kuckt se û fer weisz, lëszt guor neischt gént se sôn,
A wann s’ ét ageseit, émsoss as dann hîrt klôn.
 

 

The Mound at Random Lake

De mount zó Random Lake

Black Bear in peacetime and in war
Respect inspired in his people;
He shot the arrow mighty well
He rode the pony, was not feeble.
 
He had a great amount of scalps
Acquired on the warpath proudly;
And all around, the neighbouring chiefs
He had defeated, as had vowed he.
 
His wigwam stood at Random Lake,
His hunting grounds went to Milwaukee;
He was the chief of all the Sauk,
The proud, brave son of the Ozaukee.
 
No matter how much power he held,
How much of warfare that he knew,
Still in a short while, very soon,
The time would come to say adieu.
 
He was aware that Manitou
Would ask him very soon to enter
Into the happy hunting grounds
As a revered and proud old hunter.
 
His eyes turned weak, his strength decreased,
To say his last farewell he wanted
All of his warriors by his side,
He bade them smoke the pipe undaunted.
 
He designated their next chief,
Said how he wanted to be buried;
They promised him to do all that
The squaw was weeping, whom he'd married.
 
"After my death," commanded he,
"On my white mustang I'll be sitting,
You'll lead it to an open space,
Break into warcries fitting."
 
They duly carried out his will,
His scalps, his pipe to him they carried;
Two Indians careful propped him up,
The longbow at his side they buried.
 
The tomahawk propped in his hand
He then was turned towards the morning;
When that was done the Indians all
A passionate war dance were performing.
 
The Indians brought great lumps of earth,
The horse and rider best to bury;
And finally a mighty mound
Rose to the sky upon the prairie.
 
And when the mound stood proud at last,
At sundawn, when the sun was setting,
In memory of Black Bear they plant
A beech: no one should be forgetting.
 
And if you want to know some more
At Random you can ask the people;
There everybody knows quite well
Where once the mound stood like a steeple.
De Schwârze Bèr, am fritt am krich,
Wôr ugesinn bei sénge leiden;
'T huot kên 'we hèn de feil geschosz,
'T kont kên de pony besser reiden.
 
A scalps hât hèn a grószer zuol,
Dë hèn um krichspât séch errongen;
A ronderém séng nôperchîfs,
Dë hat en alleguor gezwongen.
 
Sei wigwamm stóng bei Random Lake,
Séng juochtgrénn gónge bis Mîlwaukee;
Hè wôr de chîf fun alle Sauks,
De brâwe son fun dem Ozaukee.
 
Wë reich a mechtech hèn och wôr,
A wë gescheit a krichsgescheften,
Woszt hèn dach gutt, dasz matt der zeit
Et krîpsgang gèng matt sénge kreften.
 
'T wôr him bekannt, dasz Manitû
Him bâl eng uorder ként zóschécken,
Duor, wó dë ëwech juochtgrénn sin,
Als âle jêer ânzerécken.
 
Wë d'â gebrach an d'krâft gewach,
Wollt hèn dann och sein ofschêt mâchen,
E rifft séng krîger all erbei
A lëszt se d'friddenspeifche râchen.
 
E sêt, wén nô him chîf soll gin,
A wë se hè begruowe sollen.
Se hun him alles gêr fersprach
A sénger squaw as d'hèrz geschwollen.
 
"Nô méngem dót", huot hè befuol,
"Setzt dîr am stat méch op mei schémmel,
Der lêt en op eng plâz, dë frei,
Matt grószem krichsgetémmel."
 
Sei leschte wéll góf him gedôn,
Zwën indien hun en ugehâlen;
Se bruochten him séng scalps, séng peif
Matt séngem stillebó, dem âlen.
 
Den tomahawk an enger hant,
Hun sî gént Muorgen hè muszt këeren;
An duorop hun se alleguor
E krichsdanz ém en op miszt fëeren.
 
Dann hun se wuose beigedrôn
Fer pèrt a reiter ze begruowen,
Bis séch zólescht en hëge mount
Rondém an îwer hèn erhuowen.
 
A wë de mount ganz fèrdech wôr,
Spët ôwens, d'sonn wôr schon um senken,
Hun sî eng bich geplanzt an d'seit,
Dem Schwârze Bèr zum ugedenken.
 
As ên, dé weider wésse wéllt,
Dé soll zó Random Lake et frôen;
'Well wó de mount gestânen huot,
Dât kann em dô e jidder sôen.
 

 

Stema the Cree, or, Practice Makes Perfect

Stema de Krê, oder, Ibonk mécht de méschter

The fort of Benton in Missouri,
High in Montana Territory,
Where many Blackfoot Indians settle
Against other redskins doing battle,
There came a Cree, he's called Stema,
A handsome lad, just twenty year,
With painted face, eyes dark as tar,
And eagle's feathers in his hair.
 
He came from far up North there yonder,
Around the fort he thought he'd wander,
The old commander asked him sternly:
"So wherefrom, whereto wished to turn he?"
His answer was: "To where the Cree
Up in the North the buffalo track,
There is my home, I want to be
Where never snow falls on your back."
 
Soon after, not two hours later,
Stema the Cree still had to wait there
One hundred Blackfoot Indians gathered
They were astounded, 'cause it mattered
To them that here they found a Cree.
One warrior said: "He is a spy.
Hand swiftly over him to me
This nation's enemy must die."
 
What should they do, the soldiers wondered,
The Blackfoot were enraged, a hundred
Of them for Stema's scalp were shouting,
A fight was near, that none was doubting.
The fort's commander knew it well,
He turned towards the Blackfoot crowd,
These thoughts of raid he had to quell,
And standing strong he said aloud:
 
"A month of peace was promulgated
So therefore you can't fight," he stated,
"Until full moon you must be waiting,
I swear we shall not be debating,
I'll organise therefore a chase
In which the chasing Cree will get
A headstart of a hundred pace
And if you catch him he is dead."
 
The Blackfoot Indians soon consented,
To win the footrace they intended,
So none could say that like a coward
They had a Cree here overpowered.
Then for the race a day was set,
When full the moon shines in the sky,
Until this time the Indians let
Their horses o'er the prairie fly.
 
Stema was now exercising,
His running skills were soon surprising;
Full moon would be in three weeks time,
His shape till then had to be prime,
Each day he jogs around the fort,
With practice you cannot go wrong:
At first his runs are slow and short,
But soon he's speeding fast and strong.
 
When full the moon shone on the prairie,
Here came proud Blackfoot Mackinairy,
The mighty chief rode to the station.
"As promised, satisfy our nation!"
Said boldly he to the commandant,
"I dare you, captain, watch and see
How fast my men will lay a hand
Upon your friend, slow-footed Cree."
 
"Bring first into the fort your horses,
Then Indians, you can show your forces,
Your rifles you will not need either,
Without them, you are running lighter,
The weapons leave before the race."
Thus was the captain's fast reply,
He measured out a hundred pace
Under the Blackfoot's eager eye.
 
The Cree comes out and now he's standing
Full ready on the paced-out landing.
The captain says: "Now you may run
For your scalp's sake, this must be won."
Stema the Cree, he starts to race,
And like a rabbit dodges bold,
The Blackfoot warriors soon give chase
And each one hopes to get a hold.
 
The fastest of the Blackfoot hunters
Come very close as Stema blunders,
They grab at him with eager fingers
Convinced that close their victory lingers;
He bolts, their plan is undermined,
He cocks a snook at them and grins,
The Blackfoot warriors lag behind,
With stamina he pumps his shins.
 
When stars across the sky were twinkling,
At last the Blackfoot got an inkling
Of Stema's new-found strong endurance.
They gave the captain this assurance:
"This Cree, he must have had some sort
Of medicine, he was so fit."
Then grumpily they left the fort
And never again they talked of it.
Op d'fôrt fu Benton um Missouri
Hëch am Montana Territory,
Wó ronderémer d'schwârzfësz lèwen
A gént dë âner rótheit strèwen,
Duor quóm e krî, genannt Stemâ,
E schmocke borscht fun zwanzech jôr,
D'gesîcht bemôlt, en donkelt â
An âdlerfèdern an dem hôr.
 
Hè quóm weit aus dem Nôrt dohannen,
E rót gèr aus am fôrt dobannen,
De commedant, dê lëszt e frôen:
"Wóhèr? wóhin?" Dât miszt e sôen.
Séng entwért wôr: "Dô 'wó de krî
Am kâle Nôrt de büffel jêt,
Sén éch dohêm; dô wó kê schnî,
Kê wanter gét, hun éch méng frêt."
 
Gleich drop, et wôre keng zwó stonnen
Nô désem fîrfall nach ferronnen,
Dû quómen d'schwârzfësz hîrer honnert
An hun séch êschtelech ferwonnert,
Wë sî Stemâ, de krî, gesinn.
Dên ên, dé sôt: " 'T as e spion,
Dê muszt de schnell eraus ons gin,
En as fu feindlecher nation."
 
Hei wôr e gudde rôt nun deier,
'Well d'schwârzfësz wôre 'wë am feier,
Dasz sî hè sicher scalpe wollten,
Wann s' an hir macht e krëe sollten,
Dât woszt de commedant ganz gutt.
En huot séch och nét lang beduocht,
Frêt duorfîr d'schwârzfësz foller mutt,
A sêt: "Ech hun et îwerluocht.
 
'T as grât ewell de mont fum fridden,
An dôa gét mer nét gestridden.
Bis follmont muszt der nach ferzëen,
Da soll der hèn eraus hei krëen;
Dîr gét em fîrspronk honnert schréck,
Fenk' dîr en dann am folle lâf,
Bréngt dîr de bock heihinnen zréck,
As op dem êchebâm sei grâf."
 
Dês wôren d'schwârzfësz gèr zefridden,
Am lâfen konnt kê lîcht se bidden
An hun ét fîr eng schân gehâlen,
Wann hîrer honnert ên ufâlen,
Da góf den dâch en nach gesôt,
Wa foll de mont um himmel stêt.
Drop sén se all derfu gejôt,
Dûrch d'blummemèr, dât weit a brêt.
 
Stemâ musz dîchtech exezëren,
E musz gehërech lâfe lëren;
Bis follmont wôren 't nach drei wochen,
E streckt an dêr zeit brâf séng knochen,
Em d'fôrt, dô lêft en dâch fer dâch.
Am ufank góng et steif a luos,
Mâ d'îbonk huot ét dâch gemâcht,
Dasz hè bâl lêft as wë en huos.
 
Kaum schéngt de follmont îwer d'prairie,
Quóm matt de schwârzfësz Mackinairy,
De grósze chîf, op d'fôrt geridden.
"Nu komm a stell dë hei zefridden!"
Sôt hè matt stolz zum commedant.
"Du wêrs gesinn, wë bâl as sî
De borscht 'rém fenken an dem rant.
Hopp! lôsz e lâfen nun de krî."
 
"Der muszt êr pêrt an d'fôrt mer bréngen,
Da wéll éch èch ganz schnell bedéngen,
Er flénte musz der och hèr henken,
Wéll dîr de bock am lâfe fenken,
Soss", sêt de klûge commedant,
"As neischt ze mân." E mèszt d'distanz
Fun honnert trétt en op dem lant,
An d'schwârzfësz frê'n séch op den danz.
 
E lëszt de krî un d'enn séch stellen,
A lëszt em och ganz strengstens mellen:
"Nu mâch déch fort; wann sî déch fenken,
Muszt du dei scalp e sicher schenken."
Stemâ, fenkt gleich ze lâfen un
Am zickzack, wë matt angscht dohin,
An d'schwârzfësz och gleich hannendrun,
E jîdde wéllt de fîschte sin.
 
Dë flénkst fun hîre flénke jêer,
Dë quómen him dann nô an nêer,
Se wollten nôm Stemâ scho lângen,
Se duochte schon, e wîr gefângen,
Du zët en aus ewë en huos,
An d'schwârzfësz bleiwe weit zeréck,
E lâcht, a mécht en eng lâng nuos
A kë'rt en dann erém de réck.
 
Wë d'stère schon um himmel stóngen,
Dû quómen lânzem all méng jongen,
Op d'fôrt erém matt drëwe minnen.
Zum commedant sêt ê fun hinnen:
"Dem krî", sôt ên, "góng ét fun hant,
Well hèn eng stârek médecin kritt hât."
Ferdrésslech sén se hêmgerannt,
Hu kêmôl gèr derfu geschwât.
 

 

Autumnal Thoughts

Hèrschtgedanken

The summer, the summer has gone out of sight,
Its roses are dead, all the petals so bright,
The swallows have left us, they've flown far away,
Towards southern countries, that's where they will stay.
 
The summer, the summer, we have it no more,
Its flowers, its petals, their death we deplore,
Their wonderful scent and their colours are gone,
The frost forced cold-hearted its deathbite upon.
 
The summer, the summer has certainly gone,
It's autumn and yet we all know that ere long
Cold winter will come with its powerful force,
It brings us its storms and its manners so coarse.
 
The summer of life needs must equally end,
So harvest its berries as well as you can,
And just like the swallow get ready to fly,
Forever to heaven, your home in the sky.
De summer, de summer huot fort séch gemâcht,
Séng róse sén dót, dë ons fréntlech gelâcht,
Fort fun ons sén d'schmuolwen, fort fun ons geflûn,
An d'hêmecht am Süden duor sén se gezûn.
 
De summer, de summer, en as nét më dô,
Séng blummen, séng blëen, dë sén em all nô,
De gudde geroch an hîr fârwe sén hin,
De frascht, en huot hinnen den dódesstósz gin.
 
De summer, de summer, dên as nu fergâng,
T as hèrescht an't dauert nu guor nét më lâng,
Da ként ons de wanter entgënt matt gewalt,
E bréngt ons séng stîrm a séng trotzech gestalt.
 
De summer fum lèwen, och dê kritt en enn,
Drém pléckt èch séng frîchte matt fleiszegen henn,
An hâlt èch, 'wë d'schmuolmésch zum flëe berêt
An d'hêmecht douowen, dë ëwech bestêt.
 

 

Expensive Peas

Deier èrzen

In Paradise the Lord decreed
That Eve and all her womankind
Fulfill their husbands' every need
And to the household be confined.
 
But history tells a different tale
All through the ages we can see
That womenfolk did never fail
To brush aside what men decree.
 
One day through town a famine spread,
The food was scarce, the season dry,
The prices soared for meat and bread
And money was in short supply.
 
The priest concocted then a plan:
"I'd really like to see," he vows,
"In our town, how many men
Are lord and master in their house."
 
At church next Sunday he decrees:
"You know how fast the price augments
And that I own full many peas,
They are the best in all the lands.
 
That man who's master in his house,
Whose wife must docile be, obey,
He'll get from me," the Father vows,
"A bag of peas this very day."
 
All men appeared before the priest,
Their homes each meant to rule severe;
They all looked forward to a feast,
But easy does it, hold on here.
 
The curate asked them many things
About their homes, from A to Z
And presently to light he brings
That none is worthy of a pea.
 
The last demand made master Feit.
His back was broader than a door.
His limbs were rough, a mighty sight,
In short: A man built like a boar.
 
He answered all the questions then,
At home 't was him who called the shots,
The most in charge of all the men
He'd earned the peas for his own pots.
 
They filled the peas into his bag,
One, two, then three, four bushel in
The priest turned red, he had to gag:
Not even half full was the bin.
 
"That one is quite unduly big,"
Said he, and sadly eyed the sack.
"That's true," agrees good Feit quite quick,
"I thought it were too big and slack.
 
At home I took a smaller one,
As this one seemed unduly large,
My wife said though: "It can't be done,
Take this here bag and off you barge."
 
The priest, relieved, full fast retorts:
"If this be so, you must agree,
At home your wife is master, lord,
These peas will therefore stay with me."
 
In our times now, tell me, please:
Where is the man who'd get the peas?
Dasz d'frâ dem mann soll énnerdôn
Allzeit an hîrem hausstôt sin,
Huot am par'deis der Ewâ schon
Den Hêrrgott fîr eng strôf opgin.
 
Ma wë ons d'weltgeschicht belë'rt,
An 't as aus âler zeit bekannt,
Gét séch nét fill dodru gestë'rt,
Dem mann sei recht nét unerkannt.
 
Nu quôm emôl eng hongersnót,
'T wôr alles râr, 't hât nét gerént,
'T góf alles deier : d'flêsch ant d'brôt,
A matt fill gelt wôr kê gesént.
 
Dû huot den hêrr sei plang entworf:
"Ech wéll emôl", sêt hè, "gesinn,
Wëfill as hîrer an dem duorf
An hîren heiser mêschter sin."
 
"Dîr leit", fenkt hèn dû sonndes un,
"Dîr wészt, ét as eng deier zeit,
An och, dasz éch fill èrzen hun,
Keng schëner gét ét nô a weit.
 
Wann ên am haus d'commando huot,
An d'frâ huot neischt ze sôn,
Dê kritt fu mîr (wât kengem schuot)
E sâk foll èrzen hêm ze drôn."
 
Dû quómen d'menner ugezun,
Se wollten all de mêschter sin;
E jidder wollt dë èrzen hun,
Mâ gêst d'erém, wuor wéll der hin?
 
Den hêrr kaplôn, dé frêt se aus
Fun désem, dêm, fun A bis Z,
An dôbei stellt ét séch eraus,
Dasz kê ganz fill se sôen hett.
 
Zum leschten quóm ëm Feit erop,
En hât e réck ewë eng dîr,
An dêmnô wér och alles grop:
Jê 't wôr e kërel 'wë e bèr.
 
Dê stóng och alle frôe rèt,
Séng frâ, dë hât guor neischt ze sôn,
E stellt dë âner an de schèt,
Hèn dûrft wuol nô den èrze frôn.
 
Sî mèszen d'èrzen an de sâk,
En, zwën, drei, fëer sèschter foll;
Den hêrr góf rót op jiddem bâk,
De sâk wôr nach nét hallef foll.
 
"Dên dô, dên as jô frêschtlech weit",
Sôt hèn, wë hèn de sâk betruocht.
" 'T as wóer, hêrr", sôt dû de Feit,
"Ech hun ét selwer och beduocht.
 
Ech hât och më e klenge schon,
Well dên elei ze grósz geschéngt,
Dû sôt méng frâ: "'T huot neischt ze sôn,
Huol dên elei, dasz 't eppes déngt."
 
"Em Feit", sôt dû den hêrr kaplôn,
"Dann as jô d'frâ den hêrr am haus;
'Só gét mer neischt eraus gedrôn:
Schétt schnell dë èrzen all eraus."
 
Wann ê nu parallelen zët:
Wó as de mann, dên d'èrze krët?
 

 

The Right or the Wrong Way

De rechten oder de îre wê

There's people, helpless with a plane,
Who say "I'm a cabinet maker";
Others claims to know each street
But stumble on each acre.
 
A third brags with his sewing skill
And calls himself a tailor,
And yet can make no clothes, no quill,
With scissors is a failure.
 
If you know naught 'bout medecine
But think you're a physician,
A headache you will try to cure
By plastering shins, magician.
 
If someone aims to till the land,
But fears that dirt will harm, or
Knows nothing of a scythe, a plough
Yet wants to be a farmer.
 
If someone says: You shall not drink
And then you see him drunken,
And always preaches: Walk upright
While he is slouching, shrunken.
 
Then everyone will say: Come on,
These men are worthless, silly,
That's how it's here and I suppose
All through the whole world, really.
 
And yet some men are Christian men
And Catholic by religion,
And yet they do not think they should
Lead Catholic lives a smidgen.
 
The tavern is the place he loves
Instead of mass and sermon,
And gossip and the braggard talk
His life always determine.
 
Then he to Harugari goes
And joins the Sons of Hermann
Wants to become an Odd Fellow
Or worse, I can't determine.
 
He stays out late, goes on a binge,
Forgets his kids and wife,
Talks bad about his neighbours all
On slandering priests he thrives.
 
Is that a man, I ask you all,
Who shows such bad behaviour?
Who praises all bad things on earth
More than he does our Saviour?
 
I hope you'll all agree with me,
He's sold his soul's salvation,
He doesn't seem to know wherefore
Man lives as God's creation.
Wéllt îrgent ên e schreiner sén
A ka kên hûwel stószen;
A wann e sêt, e kennt all wê
A fellt op alle strôszen;
 
Gét ên séch fîr e schneider aus
An as e schlechte nëer,
Ka mâchen widder frack nach bochs
Nét émgôn matt der schëer;
 
Wéllt drôen én en docterhutt,
Kennt neischt fu médecinen,
Dêm engen, dên em kappwë klôt,
E plôschter lêt op d'schinnen,
 
Ferlêtt séch én op d'bauerei,
Mâ fèrcht dë schmotzech stîwelen,
Kennt neischt fu sëszel, pló an ëch
An ân're bauremîweln;
 
As ên, dên 't drénke ganz ferbitt,
An hè gêt selwer saufen,
Den ânere fîrhellt rîcht ze gôn
An hèn musz émmer schlaufen;
 
Da sêt all ménsch: O git ewech!
Dât se jô guor keng menner!
'Só as ét hei, an't wêrt wuol och
'So sén an ânere lenner.
 
Wann ôwer ên e kréscht wéllt sén,
Katólesch nach dernèwen,
An denkt dach nét, dasz hèn dann och
Als katolik soll lèwen;
 
Wann hèn an d'wîrtshaus hocke gêt
Aplâz a méss a prèdecht;
A séch fum tâdeln, hecheln nét
Hellt émmer lass a lëdech;
 
Wann hèn bei d'Harugâris fleicht,
Bei d'Hermannssinn wéllt gôn;
Guor Sonderbâre Brudder gin,
Fu schlémmrem nét ze sôn;
 
Gêt hèn ze fill op d'lomperei,
Denkt nét u frâ a kanner,
An zët allzeit gënt nôper lass,
Gënt gêschtlechkêt nét manner;
 
As dât e mann, nu sôt emôl,
Dén séch esó opfëert?
An dên all schlechtechkêt bâl më
As wë den Hêrrgott ëert.
 
Musz dô nét gleich all ménsch séch sôn,
Dât hêscht séng sël ferkâfen,
Wêsz dên dann nét, wuofîr as Gott
Ons ménschen huot erschâfen.
 

 

up