Nicolas Gonner

Nicolas Gonner contributed 31 poems to Prairie Flowers. First there are his religious poems and thoughts about his heritage, which you can read below, then follow the longer ballads and folk tales from Luxembourg. Interspersed are reminiscences about his friends back in Europe and lyrical works.


Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum

Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum

Throughout the world it is well known
That Luxembourgers pious, free,
To Mary filial love have shown
And Holy Mary heard their plea.
She helped the people through all times,
She helped the people in their pains
As consolatrix afflictorum.
When crops turned bad because it rained,
When grains were withering on the field,
Then Mary blessed what yet remained,
From famine she was our shield.
The Luxembourgers never fussed,
In Mary we put our trust,
Our consolatrix afflictorum.
Disease once raged throughout the land
Grim Death took peasant and took prince,
The people came to understand
That God was punishing their sins.
Then prayed the rich men and the poor,
They asked for mercy, help and cure
From consolatrix afflictorum.
When wars were waged with German states
And France invaded our grounds,
The people were in desperate straits,
But fought like lions the welsh hounds.
For victory prayed upon their knees
The prince just like the peasant: Please,
Help, consolatrix afflictorum.
And when in Luxembourg one day
The country's leader on the throne
Restricted freedom, caused dismay,
No rebels threw their sticks and stone.
The problems were resolved through speeches
And people prayed, their prayer reaches
Our consolatrix afflictorum.
And through a many hundred years
The Mother of God was not betrayed,
In Luxembourg through pain and tears
She was the people's comfort, aid;
Upon their faith she could depend,
Unwavering trust until the end
In consolatrix afflictorum.
And to the Queen of Heaven was
Then consecrated all the land,
Their gratitude they showed her thus
And for her help they made a stand;
The people's praises rose anew,
They showed a lifelong gratitude
To consolatrix afflictorum.
When all the meadows bloom in May
In Luxembourg is Octave held,
Thereto the pilgrims make their way,
All Luxembourgers feel compelled,
Sometimes they thank upon their knees
Or ask deliverance from disease
Their consolatrix afflictorum.
The week of Octave, every day
To Luxembourg are pilgrims bound,
With flags and crosses on display
Their prayer has a holy sound;
It lessens sorrow, pain and plight,
From heart to heart, a moving sight,
For consolatrix afflictorum.
All Luxembourg on the plateau
On Sunday dressed up to the nines,
The ancient borough's people know
Stately appearance of all kinds.
Their rich procession wants to show
What high esteem they all bestow
On consolatrix afflictorum.
And even in the far away land
Which lies behind the western sea,
In 'Merica, where hand in hand
Religion goes with liberty,
There, let me tell you, people know
How to bow down, their faith to show
To consolatrix afflictorum.
To Carey in Ohio go
In sunny May on the Octave
The pilgrims in processions slow,
They show unwavering trust and faith.
No Heathen, Jew can in the prairie
Keep them from honouring Holy Mary
As consolatrix afflictorum.
'T wôr allzeit an der welt bekannt,
Dasz d'létzebûrger frumm a frei,
Maria hun hîr mamm genannt,
An d'mamm, dë stóng en dann och bei,
Sî stóng e bei zó allen zeiden,
Si stóng e bei an hîre leiden
Als consolatrix afflictorum.
As d'sôt gefêlt, an d'èrnt ferrênt,
As kuor a wês am felt ferbrannt,
Maria huot de rescht gesênt,
Den honger góf nét grósz am lant.
De létzebûrger hât fertrauen,
Konnt hèn dach op Maria bauen
Als consolatrix afflictorum.
Entstêt eng peschtelenz am lant,
An huot der dót der fill geholt,
Huot d'follek gleich ét unerkannt
As Gottes strôf fir sénnescholt.
Dann huot de reichen an den ârmen
Gebèt ém héllef, gnôt, erbârmen
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
Góf dann e krich mam hêl'ge reich,
Brécht de fransós an d'lant erân,
Hun d'létzebûrger, lëwe gleich,
De falsche, welsche pâk zerhân,
A fîr de sîch mam recht ze krëen,
Bèt firscht a follek op de knëen
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
A góf am létzebûrger lant
'Môl fun de grószen op dem trón,
Dem foll'k séng freihêt nét erkannt,
Da góf ét nét gleich rebellion.
D'recht góf gesicht matt fermem rèden,
A nôgehollef matt frummen bèden
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
An dûrch fill honnert jôr erdûrch
Wôr d'Gottesmutter émmerfort
Am frumme, brâwe Létzebûrch
Dem foll'k sein tróscht, dem foll'k sein hort;
An op séng trei, dô wôr ze bauen,
Et hât e fèlzefest fertrauen
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
Der gudder himmelskinnigin
Huot follek d'stât an d'lant geweit;
Et wollt er recht erkenntlech sin,
Hîr, dë ét oft gebénedeit;
Et wollt se luowe, preisen,
Fer hîr sei grószen dank z' erweisen,
Der consolatrix afflictorum.
Am Mê, wann d'wîseblumme blën,
Dann as zó Létzebûrch d'Octâf,
Duor as ét wôr s' als pélger zën,
Dë létzebûrger, dë nach brâf,
Zum dank, mâ oft fîr héllef ze krëen,
Bèt muoncher ên op blóse knëen
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
D'Octâfwoch jidder dâch erdûrch
Mat fuondel, kreiz a chórgesank
Zën pélger hin nô Létzebûrch,
An hîrt gebèt huot gudde klank,
Et lénnert nót, a suorch a schmèrzen,
Et ként fum hèrz a gêt zum hèrzen
Der consolatrix afflictorum.
A sonndes werft d'stât Létzebûrch
Séch an de beschte stat erân,
'Well d'bîrger fun der fèlzebûrch,
Dë wéssen, wë de stat ze mân.
Hîr précession, dë soll beweisen,
Wë hëch se all Maria preisen
Als consolatrix afflictorum.
A guor am weide, frème lant,
Dât un dem mèr gënt owent leit,
A Mérika, wó, wë bekannt,
Matt freihêt nach d'rél'gon gedeit,
Dô wéssen se, loszt èch ét sôen,
Och nach ze bèden, an ze klôen
Zur consolatrix afflictorum.
Nô Carey an Ohio gin
Am schêne Mê an der Octâf,
Matt précessionen d'pélger hin
A weisen hîre feste glâf.
Nét hêtt, nét jut kann sî genëren,
Maria, dë hîr mamm, ze ëren
Als consolatrix afflictorum.


Our Language

Ons sprôch

The language that our mother taught
In high esteem we hold,
It is in our every thought
For young ones and for old.
So cosy is that tongue and sweet
Which Luxembourgers speak,
For deepest thoughts it's also neat,
It's praiseworthy, unique.
It rings out like the sweetest tune,
The best of all the songs,
And we will not grow tired soon
To praise 't to foreign tongues.
Our language lessens every pain
And helps us in our plight,
It's used when all is well again
By peasant and by knight.
Our language is a German tongue
That's why we love it so,
It's hearty, powerful and strong
But far from crude and raw.
Our language fits all sorts of songs,
Their beauty it displays;
And to our poets thus belongs
Our gratitude and praise.
And when we dwell in foreign states
As strangers in strange lands,
We easily recognize our mates
Our tongue they understand.
A real Luxembourger speaks
His language evermore,
All proud he'll cherish it and seeks
To know it to the core.
Those who despise their mother tongue
Just let them go their way,
Don't trust them, people, old and young,
They'll bring you great dismay.
Dë sprôch, dë ons ons mamm gelëert,
Mîr hun se gutt ferhâlen,
Dë sprôch, dë as hei hëch geëert
Bei jongen a bei âlen.
Gemittlech as dë sprôch a lëf,
Dë d'létzebûrger schwetzen,
Dôbei as se gedankendëf
An duofir hëch ze schetzen.
Se klénkt ons wë dât schënste litt,
Dë allerschënste weisen;
Duofir gi mîr och kêmôls mitt
Se frèmen unzepreisen.
Ons sprôch as gutt an onsem lêt,
As gutt an onsrer trauer,
Mer brauchen s' och an ons'rer frêt
Op stètsmann oder bauer.
Ons sprôch, dé stâmt fum deitschen hèr,
As stârek an as kreftech,
An duorfîr schwetze mîr se gèr,
Well sî nét rau, mâ deftech.
Ons sprôch, dë passt fer all gesank
A fîr dë schënste lidder;
Mîr wéssen onsren dîchter dank
Fer hîr poétesch gidder.
A sî mer och am frème lant
An énner frème leiden,
Un ons'rer sprôch gi mîr erkannt
Dât wêrt wuol kê bestreiden.
A wât e létzebûrger as,
Dê wêrt séng sprôch och schwetzen,
En as séch hîrer wuolbeflasz,
Sei stolz wêrt hèn drâ setzen.
Wan ên as, dên séng sprôch feruocht,
Dê lëszt mer róech gôen,
Fîr dêm huolt éch, dîr leit, an uocht,
Soss hu der bâl ze klôen.


German We Are and German We Remain

Deitsch se mer an deitsch bleiwe mer

We Luxembourgish men are
Of German blood and root,
And high we hold our banner
We're honest, free and good.
Our wives are German women,
Have German love and faith,
You feel that you could swim in
Their eyes, full soothing grace.
All faith to our Creator,
Allegiance to our land,
For gold we won't turn traitor,
For gold from treacherous hand.
Our emperors and dukes were
A solid German brand,
They fought without the least fear
For justice and their land.
And when an oath we've taken
To pledge allegiance true,
We take the oath unshaken
In German language too.
The language we are speaking
Has a Germanic ring,
When God's help we are seeking
To German we all cling.
The songs that we are singing
Are German songs in sound,
French melodies are ringing
On French, not German, ground.
And we remain what we are
Till Judgment Day we face;
We cling to German dear,
We're of the German race.
Mîr létzebûrger menner
Sén deitsch fu stâm a blutt,
Bekannt an alle lenner
Fer frei, a frank, a gutt.
Ons frâen sén deitsch frâen
Matt deitscher lëft an trei,
A kucken s' ons an d'âen,
As kreiz a lêt ferbei.
Trei dêm, dên ons erschâfen,
Trei onsem lëwe lant,
Kann ons matt golt kê kâfen,
Matt golt aus falscher hant.
Ons grôfe, kêsere wôren
En echt, en deitscht geschlecht,
Sî kannte keng gefôren
Am streit fîr reich a recht.
Hu mîr en êt gedôen
Fîr hinnen trei ze sin,
Mîr konnten deitsch e sôen,
'Wë dât deitsch menner din.
Dë sprôch, dë mîr haut rèden,
Huot deitsche klank a laut,
Wa mîr zum Hêrrgott bèden,
Gét deitsch op hè fertraut.
Dë lidder, dë mer sangen,
Sén deitsch fu wûrt a klank,
Aus welscher broscht entsprangen
Welsch wîrder a gesank.
A wât mer sin, dât bleiwen
Mîr bis zum jéngsten dâch,
Ons ka kênt deitscht ferdreiwen,
Well mîr fum deitsche schlâch.


Our New Home

Ons nei hêmécht

To the tune of "Doctor Eisenbart"
This land we live in, it is free,
But it's not a helter-skelter, see,
We do not serve a king out here,
A king is every pioneer.
And we elect a president
Who's leading our regiment,
And if he is not voted in
A recount will yet make him win.
We need not join the army here,
Back home so many volunteer,
And yet the world won't fall apart,
We get along, it is an art.
No prince, no count and no baron
Is worthier than a peasant's son,
You keep the nobles, we don't care,
Just send the peasant boys up here.
Gendarmes we do not have out here
In this free land on the frontier,
And if a crook has done mischief
He'll get to know our own sheriff.
We do not need the town crier's view,
No bailiff tells us what to do,
No one is ordering us around,
We are not in such shackles bound.
We do not humbly doff our hats,
Do not rest on the porch like cats,
We do not bend our backs like serfs,
A handshake every man deserves.
Election day here in the States
Has farmers oft in dire straits,
Which candidate our vote deserves?
They all are getting on our nerves.
And people are not dragged to court
If they to mischief once resort,
If carried out with clever wit
We all may even laugh 'bout it.
You can believe me, it is true,
A better man is made of you,
You'll look the people in the eye
And proudly hold your head up high.
In church we go right to the fore
Instead of lingering near the door,
Without ado we pay our share
And from the right path will not err.
If this may sound quite strange to you
Believe me, all I say is true,
I'd gladly bet you three pence, sire,
To show that I am not a liar.
Op d'weis fum "Doctor Eisenbart"
Mîr sén hei an em freie lant,
An dach as neischt aus rant a bant,
Mîr schwère kengem kinek trei,
Mîr selwer sin de kinek hei.
Mîr wèlen ons e président,
Dê fëert ons onst régement,
A gét e nét erâ gewèlt,
Da gét en dach erâ gezèlt.
Mîr brauche nét zaldôt ze gin,
Dât lôsze mîr èch âner sin;
An dach gêt d'welt hei nét zó gront,
Well hei nach kê kamméss erfont.
De prénz, de grôf an de barong
Sén hei nét më as soss e jong;
Mîr lôszen èch de hêrre gèr,
Schéckt dîr ons némmen d'bauern hèr.
D'standâren, dë sén nét bekannt
Hei an dem grósze freie lant,
A wêrt ên eppes îwels din,
Wêrt hèn de shériff bâl gesinn.
Mîr brauche kê gemenge buot,
Kê prëter, dên ze sôen huot,
'T as kên, dên ons hei cujenërt,
Ons drêt a soss de fridde stërt.
Hei gét den hutt nét fill gequétscht,
Nét op der benk beim haus gerétscht,
Hei gét de bockel nét gebéckt,
Hei kritt de bauer d'hant gedréckt.
A wa mer dann election hun,
Dann as de bauer îweldrun;
E wêsz nét wèn e stémme soll
'Só schwetzen sî him d'óre foll.
Hei ként mer nét gleich op d'gerîcht,
Wan ên emôl eng ugestîcht,
A wann se klûch a gutt gemâcht,
Da gét och nach derfîr gelâcht.
A wât éch nach èch sôe kann,
Hei gét mer e ganz ân're mann;
De leide kuckt mer an d'gesîcht,
A béckt séch nét, als hett mer d'gîcht.
Mer gêt an d'kîrech óne schei,
Stêt nét am tûr an nét derbei,
Bezîlt séng sâch, an dômatt jê,
Da bleift mer op dem gudde wê.
Dât alles ként èch kômesch fîr,
Mâ 't as esó, dât glêft der mîr;
Dir wéllt dach nét drei steiwer gin
A fîr eng lîgen 't ugesinn.


Moselle Wine

De muselwein

For the pleasure of my old friends from the Moselle.
On the Moselle, wine's produced,
Some very good, some even better,
It's not to sauerkraut reduced,
The barrels' liquid matter.
In Metz is made an awful wine
And Thionville's is just atrocious,
In Konz the one with the red shine
Is good but not ferocious.
But if you want it clear and fine,
Walk further down the Mosella,
In all of Schengen the best wine
Is found in Beissel's cellar.
Remerschen wine's no vinegar,
They like to sip it in the Oesling,
But Wintrange wine's more popular
The rich for it are jostling.
While Schwebsange wines like gypsum taste,
They're actually quite tasty,
And once they're in the cellar placed,
They're often drunk quite hasty.
Bech-Macher's drink is very fine,
Within your glass it's sparkling,
Reminiscent of French red wine
From Bordeaux, they're remarking.
The wine that grows in Remich's yards
Is Bichler called and highly praised,
Give vintner Hierzig my regards
When there your glass is raised.
And Bredimus on the Moselle
Is well-known for its vineyards,
The grapes enjoy the sunny spells
They're filling up the haycarts.
In Greiveldange town every child
Can tell you that their wine has flavour,
The wine has connoisseurs beguiled
It's wonderful to savour.
In Ehnen Federweisser's great,
The older wine is even better.
It puts you in a happy state,
Your palate it will flatter.
In Wormeldange, as we all know,
Way up the hill upon the top
The best wine in the country grows,
A most fantastic drop.
And Wormeldange's other wine
Will easily beguile consumers.
Its bouquet and its golden shine
Are heavenly, say rumours.
From Ahn to Macher I applaud
The tasty wine they're selling,
But further down the river, it's flawed,
The brew is not compelling.
About the wine from Trier some facts:
They worsen, cheapen and degrade,
The wine with water in the kegs -
That brew is awful, I'm afraid.
Méngen âlen miselerfrénn zûr plesëer
Um Muselstróm gét wei gebaut,
Dên ên as gutt, den ân're besser,
Se hun nét lauter sauerkraut
Am keller an de fesser.
Zó Metz, dô wîszt e schlechte wein,
Fun Dîdenuowen neischt ze sôen,
Zó Konz, dê matt dem róde schein,
Dê lëszt séch scho ferdrôen.
A komm der weider d'Musel ân
A wéll der klôre, rengen,
Da këert bei de Bêszel ân,
Dê wein, dên as zó Schengen.
De rémerscher, dên as bekannt,
Am Esléck hun se dê recht gêren;
De wéntrénger as belëft am lant,
Et as e wein fîr d'hêrren.
De schwëtzbéng'r matt dem gappgeschmâch
As guor nét ze feruochten,
A ként e glécklech énner dâch,
Brauch kên derbei ze schmuochten.
Bech-Mâcher hîren dronk as fein,
E krellt am glâs a fonkelt;
A schmâcht der welleschter róde wein,
Fu Bordeaux gét gemonkelt.
De wein, dên se zó Rëmech zë'n,
De Bichler, muszt der dichtech luowen;
Beim Hîrzéch kénn der gudde krë'n
An och um Duorf douowen.
Zó Brëd'mes énn'r der grószer lê,
Dô musz de wein jô gutt gerôden,
Dô mâ'n de hêrren wein 'wë hê,
Hîr drauwe gi gebrôden.
De greiveldénger wein huot blumm,
Dât kann èch jidder kant dô sôen,
Dê wein hât allzeit gudde numm,
Dât kénn der miseler frôen.
Zó Innen as de grêche gutt,
Mâ nach fill besser as den âlen,
Dé mécht e monter, wuolgemutt,
Mer drénkt matt wuolgefâlen.
Zó Wórmeldéng, dât as bekannt,
Grât uowendrop a rondém d'Képchen
Dô wîszt de beschte wein am lant,
Et as eng prechtech drépchen.
Den âner wórmeldénger wein,
Dê kann de miseler lîcht bedrëen;
De bouquet an de goldne schein
Sé fîr a rausch ze krëen.
Fun On bis Mâcher dô erôf
Dê wein as nach ze luowen;
Mâ gidder weider d'Musel ôf,
Dô gét en all ferduorwen.
Zó Trëer gét e gallisë'rt,
Sî puddlen, doctren, schmèren, fèrwen,
An d'bâch, dë gét an d'fâsz gekë'rt
Dem wein zum sichere ferdèrwen.




To the tune of "Fern im Süd des schönen Spanien"
Say, my boy, you look so crappy,
Why this sighing and these moans?
Wherefore are you so unhappy,
Can't you speak in joyful tones?
Look how people joke and banter,
Note their bright and open smiles,
With a light and happy canter,
Thus they master life's long miles.
See the brightly sparkling sunshine
In the sky, so vast and blue,
And the birds fly in a straight line,
Marvel at their plumage too.
So majestic sway the flowers
On the open-spaced prairie
And the Mississippi powers
Down toward the mighty sea.
Say, my boy, whatever ails thee,
Why do you hang your head and stoop?
Trust in me, have I not daily
Shown you friendship, so why droop?
Is there something on your conscience,
Has a girl beguiled you, son,
Or is there some other nonsense
That you're brooding on alone?
Gold is pure, but oh, much purer
Than pure gold my conscience is,
And no other things for sure are
Troubling me or are amiss.
Nothing I can say against you,
Like a friend you've been to me,
But there's one thing that you sensed true
Something gives me misery.
You can say about the people
All the good you want to say,
Where the heart is meant to be, well,
There's a moneybag so grey.
Happy smiles upon their faces
Tell you that they've conned someone,
For such schemes I have no praises,
They will lie and steal and run.
See their daughters, pale as spectres,
They will not my heart torment,
In their homes they play directors,
Where I want to have command.
Don't you praise the sun in summer,
Summer heat will make you burn,
While in winter, what a bummer,
You'll know harshest frost in turn.
Without scent are all the flowers
And the birds don't sing a tune,
Here a rattlesnake devours
Children playing out at noon.
Though the Mississippi mighty
Rolls its course so broad and bold,
Yet the hills are not as tidy,
Nor the wine of purest gold.
To my home I am returning
Where a heart beats in each breast,
For the flowers' scent I'm yearning
And each bird sings in its nest.
Home, where golden vines so scented
Ripen on the Moselle strand,
People sip a glass contented,
Back to Luxembourg, my land.
Weis: "Fern im Süd des schönen Spanien"
Sô, mei jong, wuorfîr dann traurech,
Wuorfer as dât usch a wë?
Wuorfer bas de bruckech, paurech,
Kannst du dann nét schmûnzle më?
Kuck wë d'leit hei spâsze, lâchen,
Wë se flénk a monter sin,
Wë se lîcht hîrt lèwe mâchen,
Huos de selwer dach gesinn.
Kuck de schëne, blôen himmel
Matt dem helle sonneschein,
Kuck de fullen hîrt gewimmel,
Hîrt gefèdesch blénkech fein.
An dë blumme, wë se prechtech
Op der weiter prairie stin,
Wë de Mississippi mechtech
Sei gewesser rollt dohin.
Sô, mei jong, wât kann dîr fêlen,
Dasz de kapp du henke lësz?
Wuofer wéllst ét mîr ferhêlen,
Ech wâr dîr dach kêmôls bës?
Huos de fleicht kê rengt gewéssen,
Huot der ênt de kapp ferdrët,
Hues de eppes ze ferquéssen,
Dât déch fort fu ménschen zët?
Golt as reng, mâ mei gewéssen
As fill renger nach as golt;
Ech hu guor neischt ze ferquéssen,
Dât méch truble, plôe sollt;
Hun och neischt gënt èch ze sôen,
Dîr wôrt mîr jô allzeit gutt,
Soss hun éch méch ze beklôen,
An dât hélt mer all mei mutt.
Dîr ként fun de leit hei schwetzen,
Ként se luowen, wë der wéllt,
Wó am leif hîrt hèrz soll sétzen,
Henkt e geltsâk onggeféllt.
Wann se schmûnzle, wann se lâchen,
Hun se sicher ê bedrûn,
A fîr némme gelt ze machen,
Gét gestuel a gét gelûn.
Kuckt dë frâleit, kuckt dë gêschter,
Dêr ferdrët mîr kênt de kapp,
Sin am haus jô hêrr a mêschter,
Wó éch gèr de mann a papp.
Braucht nét matt der sonn ze brâlen,
Dë am summer ê ferbrennt,
Lësz am wanter ên erkâlen,
Wa mer soss kê feier kennt.
Hutt jô blummen, dë nét richen,
Fullen hudder óne stémm,
Gêt a kant séch blumme sichen,
Bréngt eng rasselschlang ét ém.
Wann de Mississippi mechtech
Séng gewesser dôhi rollt,
Sin séng bèrger dach nét prechtech,
A sei wein as nét fu golt.
Fort an d'hêmecht wéll ech zëen,
Wó dach d'ménschen hèrzer hun,
D'blumme riche, wann se blëen,
Wó dach jidder full sein tun;
Wó de gélden drauwe blénken
Un dem schëne muselstrant,
D'leit a ró hir scheppchen drénken,
Fort an d'létzebûrger lant.


An Upside-Down World

D'ferkëert welt

An upside-down world oh so odd
Is this America the Great,
The mighty dollar is their god
And women claim what men should get.
The tailor and the cobbler here
Preach proud the word of our Lord,
Their followers, delighted, cheer
As popes are killed by verbal sword.
The preachers screw and roll their eyes
On Sunday during sermon time,
They know how to sensationalise
As long as dollars brightly chime.
When talking about temperance
They lie with shameless cunning guile,
From water they keep abstinence
And booze on whiskey all the while.
And if their followers go to church
They do not want to praise the Lord,
The men attend to yawn and lurch
The ladies socialise unbored.
Each know-it-all's a gentleman,
Each silly girl's a lady here,
A dozen of them smartly can
Do things that thirty scarce would dare.
The stupid people oh-so-bright,
Their ears aglow with intellect,
The more they babble and recite,
The more their brains appear defect.
A tailor can be president,
A peasant minister can be,
And tavern keepers always tend
To be elected easily.
The girl is courting here the boy,
If he is rich, she will go mad,
The ladies cleverly deploy
Their charms to be, aged thirteen, wed.
The husband has to light the fire
And to prepare the breakfast, too,
His wife then, maybe, is inspired
To leave the bed, the lazy poo!
The man is toiling all day long,
Saves pennies for a rainy day,
Alas, he'll find that he was wrong,
His wife has spent it all away.
They go out for a stroll, all dressed,
The man is carrying the kid,
The neighbours need to be impressed,
So she lifts up her skirt a bit.
Yes, even with your glasses on
The maid and mistress could be twins,
And if perchance a dress is torn,
Instead of sewing, they use pins.
Our world is really upside down
I say, if it were any worse
Potatoes would have to be grown
Not in the ground, but with the stars.
Wât as dât eng ferkëert welt
Hei an dem grósze Mérika;
De Gott, dên sî hei hun as d'gelt,
A wât de mann soll sin, as d'frâ.
De schneider an de schóster hei,
Dê prèdecht Gottes lautert wûrt;
Séng schêwercher si fró derbei,
Wann hèn de pobst mam monn ermuort.
Dë preacher, dë ferdrëen d'ân,
Wa sonndes s' un der prèdecht sin,
Se kénne gutt grimasse mân,
Dach mussen't féllech dollere gin.
A kommen sî un d'temperenz,
Da gét gelûen, dasz ét krâcht,
Fum wâszer hun se abstinenz
A saufe whiskey, wann e schmâcht.
Wann dann dë schôf an d'kîrech gin,
'T as sicher nét zu Gottes ë'r,
Fir d'gâpsen, dô gin d'menner hin,
An d'ladies gi fer hîr plesë'r.
All rotzbuof as e gentleman,
All gens-che wéllt eng lady sin,
Zó zwèlef sén se 'só behenn,
Wë mir soss nét zó dréssech gin.
Dë domm leit hei sin all gescheit,
Mer seit en 't un den óren un,
A wât de mont më brêt a weit,
Wât sî ma'm hîrn më îweldrun.
Hei gét de schneider président,
De bauer ka minister sin,
A wann e wîrt fer office rennt,
Wêrt hèn nét lîcht gebuode gin.
'T as d'mêdchen, dât de jong hei freit,
Zemôl wann hè fill sûen huot,
Dë ladies hei, dë sî gescheit,
Zó dreizéng wêrn se gèr bestuot.
De mann, dé mécht hei d'feier un,
Hèn déscht de kaffë muorgens op,
An dann as d'lady îweldrun,
Op s' aus dem bett soll gôen, d'popp.
Am dô, da schafft de mann séch kromm,
E spuort séch fîr den âlen dâch,
A mengt en dann, en hett eng zomm,
Huot d'lady alles dropgemâch.
A wann s' emôl spazëre gin,
Dann drët de mann der lady d'kant;
Dasz nôpeschen de stat gesinn,
Hélt sî den énn'schte lepp an d'hant.
Wèn d'môt hei oder d'mêschtesch as,
Dât ka kê matt em bréll gesinn,
An hun s' emôl hîr dressen z' rasz
Parbleu, da wêrt gespéngelt gin.
Ként d'welt nu më ferkëert sin?
Ech hun e stârken zweiwel drun,
Mîr mîszten, wó haut d'stère stin,
Am frëjôr d'grompren dann ausdun.


God's Peace and God's Might

Gottes fridden, Gottes macht

Have you seen it in its might,
Have you seen it full of peace
When it's calm and oh so quiet,
Have you seen the sea like this?
Have you seen the storms released,
Have you seen it, raging high,
Waves a mountainous abyss,
Water blown into the sky,
Have you seen the sea like this?
Now a picture of God's peace
When it shows a world of bliss,
Then a picture of God's might,
Such an awe-inspiring sight.
In a quiet starry night
Have you, with no breeze around,
Gazed into the sky so wide
Where a thousand stars exist,
Which the Moon leads with no sound?
Have you seen the fiery lightning
Through a pitchblack night sky hiss
From the clouds, so dark and frightening,
Hurled out by a mighty fist?
Night skies are – who disagrees? –
Now a picture of God's peace,
Then a picture of God's might,
Such an awe-inspiring sight.
Have you seen the sunlight twinkle
On the flowers and the grass,
Colourful the dew's dawn-sprinkle,
Have you ever gazed at this?
Have you heard exploding mass
Bursting from the mountainside,
With a frightful thund'rous hiss
Down the fiery rivers glide,
Have you seen the likes of this?
Is the morning dew's sweet kiss
Not a picture of God's peace?
Is the mountaintop alight
Not a proof of God's great might?
Hudder an der majestët,
Hudder ét a séngem fridden,
Wa keng léftchen drîwer zët,
Hudder d'mèr da scho gesinn?
Hudder wann em d'stîrm gebidden,
Hudder ét a séngem rôsen,
Wa séng wâle bèrger gin,
Dë aus wâszer hëch geblôsen,
Hudder d'mèr da scho gesinn?
Haut e bîlt fu Gottes fridden
Op der weider welt heinidden,
Weist ét muorge Gottes macht,
Gottes hêrrlechkêt a pracht.
Hudder an der stéller nuocht,
Wa keng léftchen séch gerëert,
Dann den himmel scho betruocht,
Wó de dausent stère sin,
Dë de Mônt dôuowe fëert?
Hudder schon dë feirech blétzen
An der deischtrer nuocht gesinn,
Wann s' aus schwârze wolkerétzen
Grell eraus geflâmt se gin?
D'fîrmament as ongbestridden
Haut e bîlt fu Gottes fridden,
Muorge weist ét Gottes macht,
Gottes hêrrlechkêt a pracht.
Hudder schon am sonneglanz
Muorgens frë op grâs a blummen,
Fun dem dâ de fârwendanz
Hudder dên emôl gesinn?
Hudder bèrch a stécker jummen
Schrecklech a matt donnerkrâchen,
Dasz nô alle seiten hin
Rausche feierech schlâkebâchen,
Hudder dât gehë'rt, gesinn?
As den dâ am grâs heinidden
Nét e bîlt fu Gottes fridden?
As de bèrch, dê flâmt a kacht,
Nét beweis fu Gottes macht?



Den hèrscht

When summer goes and autumn's near
Days grow shorter, nights grow cold
And the sunrays rare, austere,
Shining through the trees like gold,
Play upon each leaf and plant –
Rich green colours that enchant.
When summer goes and autumn comes
Step by step into the land
Where bees 'round flowers buzzed with hums
Scorched-out meadows now expand.
Golden straw bales have been stored
And the fruit, which gave the Lord.
When summer's gone and autumn's there
All the gardens lose their fruit,
All the flowers, once so fair,
Sadly droop to Death's salute.
Just the dahlias, long and thin,
Clothe the garden's naked skin.
When summer's gone and autumn's here
Storms are raging through the field,
Raging in a rage severe
And the rain's abundant yield
Is no gently pattering breeze,
Rain and storm are cold and freeze.
When summer's gone and autumn comes
The birds are gone, they've flown away,
Over Rome their flight becomes
Now at noon so fast and gay,
They're flying steadfast without rest
To new homes with joyful zest.
Now autumn goes and winter comes,
Comes with frost and ice and snow,
Rarely people are his chums,
Yes, he hurts the poor men so,
Takes away their work, their bread,
Brings them cold and pain and dread.
De summer gêt, den hèrescht ként,
D'dêch gi kîrzer, d'nuochte frésch,
D'sonnestrâle gi më glént,
Fâle gélden dûrch de bésch,
Spillen nach matt blât a planz
An dem folle grénge glanz.
De summer gêt, den hèrescht zët
Luos a luos erân an d'lant,
Dô, wó d'blumme bont geblët,
Wuos a wîs sé 'wë ferbrannt.
D'gélde gârwen sén dohêm,
Gottes gówe fun de bêm.
De summer góng, den hèrscht as dô,
D'gârden hun hîr pracht ferluor,
D'blummen lëen nô a nô
Traurech séch zum stèrwen duor.
One d'dâlien, grósz a gâkech,
Wîren d'gârden gèl a plâkech.
De summer góng, den hèrscht as hei,
D'stîrm rôsen îwer d'felt,
Rôsen an er rôserei.
Féllech fellt de rên, dê fellt,
Nét më siddlech, nét më glau
Rên a stûrm se kâl a rau.
De summer góng, den hèrescht quóm,
A fort sén d'fullen, fort geflûn,
Si gënt méttech îwer Róm
Flott a flénk derfu gezûn,
Zëen óne rascht a ró
Fort der neier hêmecht zó.
Den hèrescht gêt, de wanter ként,
Ként matt frascht an eis a schnë,
As nét filler ménsche frént,
Dêt den ârme leide wë,
Hélt en d'arbécht, hélt en d'brót
Bréngt e kêlt a suorch a nót.

This is Gonner's translation of the well-known Latin hymn Dies Irae. Gonner stays very close to the Latin original, and there are many equally close English translations. Here below you can read William Josiah Irons' version from 1849. He renders the Latin metre and rhyme scheme perfectly and I couldn't hope to do a better job.

Dies Irae

Dies irae

From the Latin.
Day of wrath and fearful bother,
David, Sybil both discover
How the crosses skyward hover.
What a trembling then ensues
When we to the Judge go, who's
All impassive of our woes.
Trumpet sounds are loudly ringing,
Down to our graves they're quickly bringing
Judgment Day – it's now beginning.
With Death so many quakes arrive
When each man once more alive
To the Court up there must strive.
The book of God is open laid
Wherein everything's displayed,
Everything that we have made.
God upon the throne we serve
Who brings to light all things on earth,
We will get what we deserve.
What must I poor soul now fear?
Can intercession help me here
When the just ones yet despair?
Majestic Lord upon the throne
Let your pity now be shown
Through your mercy I atone.
Sweetest Jesus, be my blessing,
Like in every hour distressing
Save me now too, as it is pressing.
You have saved me at great cost,
Until they've put you on the cross,
Do not let me now be lost.
You my just and rightful judge!
Hold my sins no more in grudge,
Lord, forgive me, oh so much.
Sighing for my sins I clamber,
On my forehead shame's red ember,
Just my praying please remember!
Mary Magdalene could regret,
You the murderer's deed forget,
There is hope for me then, yet.
Unworthy are the prayers I tell
So let mercy for me swell
Then I need not enter Hell!
Take me from the sinners' chart,
Put me right, from sinners barred,
When lamb and goats you tell apart.
From the cursed let me go,
Who are punished with great woe,
To the blessed the path now show.
With repenting heart I burn,
Have mercy, God, as I discern
Death and Life both for me yearn!
Day of tears, it is heartrending,
From the graves we are ascending
When God's judgment is impending.
Let us all not come to harm,
Mercy, Jesus! With your charm
Grant us peace upon your arm!
Nôm laténgeschen.
Dâch foll zuor an dâch foll schrecken;
Wë David, d'Sybill entdecken,
Wêrt séch d'kreiz gënt himmel strecken.
Wât en ziddern wêrt entstôen,
Musse mîr zum rîchter gôen,
Dên nét rëert onser klôen.
D'tën fun de posaune schâlen,
Dasz se bis an d'grèwer fâlen,
Gét dât lescht gerîcht gehâlen.
Dót, natûr se wêrde bèwen,
Wann de ménsch matt neiem lèwen,
Zum gerîcht séch musz erhèwen.
Gottes buch gét opgeschlôen,
Dô wêrt alles nett drastôen,
Jidder dôt aus onsren dôen.
Wêrt den hêrr um trón erschéngen,
Wêrt un d'lîcht hèn alles bréngen,
Krëe mîr, wât mîr ferdéngen.
Wât soll ârmen éch wuol sôen?
Wè wêrt fîrsprôch fîr méch gôen,
Wann d'gerecht, wann dé ferzôen?
Hêrr der majestët op trónen,
Aus erbârme wéll méch schónen,
Dûrch dei gnódebûr mîr lónen.
Sësze Jesus, denk am sêgen,
Wôrs mein hêl dach alletwêgen,
Rett du méch an désen dêgen.
Fîr méch huos de fill erdrôen,
Bis se déch un d'kreitz geschlôen,
Lôsz méch nét ferluore gôen.
Rîchter du, o du gerechten!
D'sénnen, óne lâng se rechten,
O ferzei se mîr, dem schlechten!
Seifze musz éch ârme sénner,
Op der stîr gêt d'schân nét énner,
Ménges bèdens déch erénner!
D'Magdelën konnt dach bereien,
Konns dem schecher du ferzeien,
Lôsz mîr hoffnonk ugedeien!
Wîrdech sén éch nét ze bèden,
Lôsz d'erbârme fîr méch rèden,
Brauch éch d'hell net ze betrèden!
Lôsz méch d'sénner dach nét hénnern,
Stell méch rechts, sin éch nét énnern,
Wann's de d'schôf an d'béck gês sénnern!
Schéck méch fu fermaledeiten,
Dë eng schrecklech quâl erleiden,
Schéck méch zó gebénedeiten.
D'hèrz zerknîrscht, foll brennent leiden,
Hëf erbârme Gott zu zeiden,
Wann der dót an d'lèwe streiden!
Dâch foll trënen, hèrzdurchstèchen,
Wa mer all onst grâf erbrèchen,
Wêrt de Gottménsch d'ûrtel sprèchen!
Duorfer hèf matt ons, ons ârmen,
Sësze Jesus! all erbârmen,
Géf ons fritt an déngen ârmen!


The Angelus

Der Engel-des-hêrren

The farmer walks behind his plough,
He works with steady hand,
He sings a merry tune just now
All happy and content.
A far-away sound begins to swell,
Could it be the Angelus bell?
The hunter's roaming through the wood,
Through fields and meadows green,
He whistles merrily, afoot
Across the flowery scene.
A far-away sound begins to swell,
Could it be the Angelus bell?
The shepherd's watching sheep and goat,
His faithful dog in tow,
The sunrays glimmer weak, remote,
The setting sun's aglow.
A far-away sound begins to swell,
Could it be the Angelus bell?
The fisherman has all day round
Been toiling with his net,
And now he's rowing homeward bound
With fish upon a thread.
A far-away sound begins to swell,
Could it be the Angelus bell?
The farmer pauses near the wood,
He holds his cap in hands,
He does as every Christian should
Who dwells in Christian lands.
And though the bells chime far away,
The Angelus he starts to pray.
The hunter's stopping in his hunt,
A quiet silhouette,
The rifle's pointing to the ground,
He's taking off his hat.
And though the bells chime far away,
The Angelus he starts to pray.
The shepherd gives his goat a pat,
Behind his flock he stays,
Devoted he takes off his hat
And quietly he prays.
And though the bells chime far away,
The Angelus he starts to pray.
The fisherman in swift reply
Lays down his oars into
The boat and looks up to the sky,
He knows what he must do.
And though the bells chime far away,
The Angelus he starts to pray.
The villagers are pious men,
They will not skip a prayer,
But deaf are city-gentlemen,
Right in the church, I swear.
Standing in the bell tower square,
They'd still not say the Angelus prayer.
De bauer as am felt um pló
A fîrt matt stârker hant,
Sei littchen dât séngt hèn derzó
A frêt séch sénges stant.
E lauschtert: wât laut an der fêrn?
As dât nét der Engel-des-hêrrn?
De jêer, dên de bésch durchstreift,
Dûrch felt a wîsen zët,
Dê matt dem full sei littche peift,
Séch frêt, dasz d'blimmche blët.
E lauschtert: wât laut an der fêrn?
As dât nét der Engel-des-hêrrn?
Den hîrt, dên d'schôf an d'gêsze wêt,
Em dë sei spitzel rennt,
Geseit, dasz d'sonn bâl énner gêt,
Spîrt, dasz se nét më brennt.
E lauschtert: wât laut an der fêrn?
As dât nét der Engel-des-hêrrn?
De féscher, dên de ganzen dâch
Séch matt dem gâr geplôt,
Fîrt hêm matt schârfem rudderschlâch,
Séng fésch si bôren drôt.
E lauschtert: wât laut an der fêrn?
As dât nét der Engel-des-hêrrn?
De bauer hellt mam plóen un,
En hélt séng kâp an d'hant,
E wêsz, wât jidder chréscht ze dun
An engem chréschtelant.
A lauden s' och weit an der fêrn,
Bèt hèn dach der Engel-des-hêrrn.
A wó de jêer op der juocht,
Dô bleift e róech stôn,
Den huon, dê gét an d'ró geluocht,
Den hutt gét ofgedôn.
A lauden s' och weit an der fêrn,
Bèt hèn dach der Engel-des-hêrrn.
Den hîrt lëszt d'lâmer, d'gêszen, d'schôf
Am trapp ferun séch gôn,
Zët da sein hutt undèchtech of
Fer sei gebèt ze sôn.
A lauden s' och weit an der fêrn,
Bèt hèn dach der Engel-des-hêrrn.
De féscher zët sei rudder ân,
Sein âcher dreift dohin,
Gënt himmel hèft en da séng ân,
E wêsz, wât en ze din.
A lauden s'och weit an der fêrn,
Bèt hèn dach der Engel-des-hêrrn.
Um lant, dô sin se frumm a brâf,
D'gebèt lëszt kên èch aus;
Mâ an der stât sin d'hêrren dâf.
A wann s' am klackenhaus,
Am tûr bei de klacken och wêren,
'T bèt dach kên der Engel-des-hêrrn.




Dedicated to the Sang und Klang choir in Pfaffenthal.
A song is mirth, a song is glee,
A song inspires you,
When we are singing merrily,
It feels so good and true.
Just listen to our choir,
We praise the Lord with song,
You'll see that I'm no liar,
I tell you nothing wrong.
We're singing while we sip the wine
A lively, happy song,
And if the wine is clear and fine
We're singing all night long.
If we must stop our singing
We are in dire straits,
What else should we be doing
At meetings with our mates?
In spring when every bird must chirp
A song upon the tree,
The sun is shining most superb
We set out happy, free.
We let our ditties ring out,
Through wood and fields unfurled,
Until their echoes swing out
All through the wide, wide world.
If one of us should get engaged
We'll sing a serenade,
And when his marriage then is staged
Again a song is played,
The most melodic voices
Are offered to the bride,
The bridegroom too rejoices
And sings right at her side.
If one of us should have a child
We'll sing for him a song,
But if he was unwise and wild
No one will sing along.
He'll rock the cradle all alone,
We will not care at all,
Let him have his load and groan,
Pride comes before a fall.
And when at last we're old and grey
And Death stands at the door,
We won't lament in our dismay,
Our song will skyward soar.
When finally they bury
Our bodies in a hole
In heaven we make merry
And sing with all our soul.
Dem "Sang und Klang" aus dem Pâfendâl gewiddemt.
Gesank as frêt, gesank as loscht,
Gesank mécht frésche mutt;
Mîr sange gèr aus foller broscht,
Et dêt ons alle gutt.
A sange mîr am chóer
Zó Gottes luof a preis,
Dann hë'r' der, dasz ét wóer,
Mer mâchen èch neischt weis.
Mer sange bei der scheppche wein
E léschtecht, frëlecht litt;
An as de wein schën hell a fein,
Da gi mer guor nét mitt.
Wa mîr nét sange kénnen,
Da si mer îweldrun,
Wât mâ' mer bei de frénnen,
Wa mîr kê liddchen hun?
Am frëjôr, wann all fîlche séngt
A séngem blèderhaus,
Wann d'sonn matt goldne strâle schéngt,
Dann zëe mîr eraus.
Mer lôszen d'lidder schâlen
Dûrch d'béscher an dûrch d'felt,
Bis dasz se widderhâlen
Weit an der weider welt.
As ê fun ons dên hantstrêch huot,
Kritt hèn e ambârt bruocht,
A gét en dann dernô bestuot,
Gét och un hè geduocht.
Ons allerschënste weisen,
Dë sange mîr der braut,
Hèn helft se selwer preisen,
Dë séch him ufertraut.
Bréngt ê fun ons e kant zur dâf,
Da sange mîr him ênt,
Mâ wôr e fleicht nét weis a brâf,
Da sange mîr him kênt.
Sétzt hèn dohêm ze wëen,
Da séngt e seint eleng,
Lôszt hèn de bendel zëen,
En zët en nét ze streng.
Gi mîr dann âl a kâzegrô,
Da ként der dót gezûn,
Mer frôe guor nét fill dernô,
Mer stémmen him ênt un.
An hun se ons begruowen
Um kîrfech an e lach,
Da sange mîr douowen,
Mâ mîr, mer sange nach.


Happy New Year

Gléck zóm neie jôr

The year is over, it went so fast,
It brought some sadness and some glee,
Some passed on to eternity
Who started out with hope to last.
There's one who had his cross to bear
Throughout the year that has just passed,
Another, lucky in contrast,
Cannot complain about his share.
The needy ones whose life was rough
We wish them first of all – that's clear –
Much better luck for the new year,
They've fought with fortune brave enough.
The lucky ones who can't complain,
Who don't look gaunt and hungry pale,
To those as well, without a fail,
We wish the same good luck again.
The rich ones who enjoy great wealth
With gold and silver, cash to spend,
True happiness we wish them and
May money not impair their health.
The one thing that we wish for all
Is God's sweet blessing upon you,
Without his blessing, it is true,
Great need and death would us befall.
Erém as d'jôr, 't as schnell fergângen,
'T bruocht engem frêt, em ân're lêt,
A muonche góng an d'ëwechkêt,
Dên ét matt hoffnonk ugefângen.
Den ên huot kreiz a let gedrôen
Am jôer, dât fergângen as;
En ânere quóm më béllech las,
E braucht emôl fleicht nét ze klôen.
An dë guor suorch a nót gelidden,
Mer wénschen dênen, dât as klôr,
Zóm éschte gléck zóm neie jôr,
Well sî mam schicksal brâf gestridden.
An dênen, dë nét fill ze klôen,
Dë nét fun honger blêch a môr,
Och dêne wénsche mîr d'neit jôr,
Dasz d'gléck nét soll fun hinne gôen.
An dênen, dë am folle lèwen,
Dë golt a sélwer hun, a bôr,
Och hinne gléck zum neie jôr,
Dasz sî séch nét um gelt ferhèwen.
Dât gléck, dât mîr èch alle wénschen,
Soll Gottes sêge fîr èch sin,
'Well as de sêgen èch dohin,
Ként nót an dót schnell îwer d'ménschen.


The Snowdrop


The wind, it blows
Through fields so bold,
There's frost and snow,
The air is cold.
Where once this nature teemed with life,
Now all's cut down by Death's sharp knife.
On Christmas day
Nature revives,
And things display
A thirst for life,
At dawn, when we to matins go,
A sign of life the snowdrops show.
Arrives at last,
The frozen sea
Is thawing fast,
The snowdrop peeps out of the snow,
It wonders, where'd the Magi go?
At Candlemas
Saint Blaise can see
The winter pass,
It must retreat.
The snowdrop laughs and turns its face
All lilywhite to warm sunrays.
At Carnival
All men are mad,
The flower small
Bows down its head,
Red-faced, ashamed the snowdrop lies
Down on the ground and simply dies.
De want, dê peift
Dûrch felt a bésch,
Et schneit, ét reift,
An d'loft as frésch.
Wó soss dach alles lèwe wôr,
Leit alles op der dódebôr.
Mâ chréschdâch dann
Erwâcht d’natûr,
Wât lèwe kann,
Weist lèwensspûr.
Wa muorgens mîr zûr mette gin,
D’schnëkleckelchen wêrt lèwech sin.
Dê ként erbei,
A krâcht och d’bâch,
‘T as bâl ferbei.
D'schnëkleckelchen lûszt aus dem schnë,
Et kuckt, wó nach der kineke më.
As Lîchtmész dô,
Kuckt Blâsius
Dem wanter nô,
Dê weiche musz.
D'schnëkleckelchen, dât lâcht a rîcht
Séch lilieweisz zum sonnelîcht.
Zur fuosent, wann
All ménsch ferréckt,
Dë blimmchen dann
De kepche béckt.
D'schnëkleckelchen schuomt séch, gét rót,
Et lét séch duor a stîrft séch dót.


Your Heart's a House of God

Dein hèrz as e gotteshaus

We all of us must bear our cross
In this sad vale of grief,
The reason for our dire loss –
It is the fall of Eve.
See on the hill that chapel there,
Folk moving in and out?
The chapel has its cross to bear,
It is a house of God.
Your heart is, human, please take care
As well a house of God;
It also has its cross to bear,
A lot goes in and out.
E jidder huot e kreiz ze drôen
Hei an dem jammerdall,
Dasz mîr ons all um kreiz ze plôen,
Dât ként fun Ewas fall.
Geseist d'um bèrch d'kapell dô stôen,
Fill foll'k gêt dran an draus?
D'kapell, dë huot e kreiz ze drôen,
Et as e gotteshaus.
Dein hèrz, lôsz dîr, o ménsch, dât sôen,
As och e gotteshaus;
Dein hèrz huot och sei kreiz ze drôen,
A fill gêt dran an draus.