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The Breitmann Ballads
by
Charles G. Leland.

1889

TO THE MEMORY
OF THE LATE
NICHOLAS TRÜBNER

This Work is Dedicated
by
Charles G. Leland

Poul and Karen Anderson
without whose inspiration
it would not exist.
Geoff Kidd
Krista Rourke


Ad Musan.
"Est mihi schoena etenim et praestanti corpore liebsta
Haec sola est mea Musa meoque regierit in Herza.
Huic me ergebo ipsum meaque illi abstatto geluebda,
Huic ebrensaulas aufrichto opfroque Geschenka,
Hic etiam absingo liedros et carmina scribo."
- Rapsodia Andra, Leipzig, 17th Century
Preface
To the Edition of 1889.

- -

Though twenty years have passed since the first appearance
of the "Breitmann Ballads" in a collected form, the author is
deeply gratified - and not less sincerely grateful to the public
- in knowing that Hans still lives in many memories, that he
continues to be quoted when writers wish to illustrate an
exuberantly joyous "barty" or ladies so very fashionably dressed
as to recall "de maidens mit nodings on," and that no
inconsiderable number of those who are "beginning German"
continue to be addressed by sportive friends in the Breitmann
dialect as a compliment to their capacity as linguists. For as a
young medical student is asked by anxious intimates if he has got
as far as salts, I have heard inquiries addressed to tyros in
Teutonic whether they had mastered these songs. As I have
realised all of this from newspapers and novels, even during the
past few weeks, and have learned that a new and very expensive
edition of the work has just appeared in America, I trust that I
may be pardoned for a self-gratulation, which is, after all
really gratitude to those who have demanded of the English
publisher another issue. My chief pleasure in this - though it
be mingled with sorrow - is, that it enables me to dedicate to
the memory of my friend the late NICHOLAS TRÜBNER the most
complete edition of the Ballads ever printed. I can think of no
more appropriate tribute to his memory, since he was not only the
first publisher of the work in England, but collaborated with the
author in editing it so far as to greatly improve and extend the
whole. This is more fully set forth in the Introduction to the
Glossary, which is all his own. The memory of the deep personal
interest which he took in the poems, his delight in being their
publisher, his fondness for reciting them, is and ever will be to
me indescribably touching; such experiences being rare in any
life. He was an immensely general and yet thorough scholar, and
I am certain that I never met with any man in my life who to such
an extensive bibliographical knowledge added so much familiarity
with the contents of books. And he was familiar with nothing
which did not interest him, which is rare indeed among men who
MUST know something of thousands of works - in fact, he was a
wonderful and very original book in himself, which, if it had
ever been written out and published, would have never died. His
was one of the instances which give the world good cause to
regret that the art of autobiography is of all others the one
least taught or studied. There are few characters more
interesting than those in which the practical man of business is
combined with the scholar, because of the contrasts, or varied
play of light and shadow, in them, and this was, absolutely to
perfection, that of Mr. Trübner. And if I have re-edited
this
work, it was that I might have an opportunity of recording it.

There are others to whom I owe sincere gratitude for
interest displayed in this work when it was young. The first of
these was the late CHARLES ASTOR BRISTED of New York. With the
exception of the "Barty," most of the poems in the first edition
were written merely to fill up letters to him, and as I kept no
copy of them, they would have been forgotten, had he not
preserved and printed them after a time in a sporting paper. Nor
would they even after this have appeared (though Mr. Bristed once
tried to surprise me with a privately printed collection of them,
which attempt failed) had not Mr. RINGWALT, my collaborator on
the PHILADELPHIA PRESS, and also a printer, had such faith in the
work as to have it "set up" in his office, offering to try an
edition for me. This was transferred to PETERSON BROTHERS, in
whose hands the sale became at once very great; and I should be
truly ungrateful if I omitted to mention among the many writers
who were very kind in reviews, Mr. GEORGE A. SALA, who was
chiefly influential in introducing Hans Breitmann to the English
public, and who has ever been his warmest friend. Another friend
who encouraged and aided me by criticism was the late OCTAVE
DELEPIERRE, a man of immense erudition, especially in
archæology,
curiosa and facetiæ. I trust that I may be pardoned for
here
mentioning that he often spoke of Breitmann's "Interview with the
Pope" as his favorite Macaronic poem, which, as he had published
two volumes of Macaronea, was praise indeed. His theory was,
that as Macaronics were the ultra-extravagance of poetry, he who
wrote most recklessly in them did best; in fact, that they should
excel in first-rate BADNESS; and from this point of view it is
possible that Breitmann's Latin lyric is not devoid of merit,
since assuredly nobody ever wrote a worse. The late LORD LYTTON,
or "Bulwer," was also kind enough to take an interest in these
Ballads, which was to me as gratifying as it was amazing. It was
one of the great surprises of my life. I have a long letter from
him, addressed to me on the appearance of the collected edition,
in 1870. In it he spoke with warmest compliment of the poem of
"Leyden," and the first verses of "Breitmann in Belgium."

In conclusion, I acknowledge the courtesy of Messers.
DALZIELL BROTHERS for allowing me to republish here four poems
which had appeared in the "Brand New Ballads" published by them
in 1885. But to mention all of the people of whom I have
grateful memories in connection with the work, who have become
acquainted with me through it, or written to me, or said pleasant
words, would be impossible. I am happy to think it would embrace
many of the Men of the Times during the last twenty years - and
unfortunately too many who are now departed. And trusting that
the reader will take in good part all that I have said, I remain,
- his true friend (for truly there is no friend dearer than a
devoted reader),

CHARLES G. LELAND


PREFACE

- - -

When HANS BREITMANN'S PARTY, WITH OTHER BALLADS, appeared,
the only claim made on its behalf was, that it constituted the
first book ever written in English as imperfectly spoken by
Germans. The author consequently held himself bound to give his
broken English a truthful form. So far as observation and care,
aided by the suggestions of well-educated German friends, could
enable him to do this, it was done. But the more extensive were
his observations, the more did the fact force itself upon his
mind, that there is actually no well-defined method or standard
of "German-English," since not only do no two men speak it alike,
but no one individual is invariably consistent in his errors or
accuracies. Every reader who knows any foreign language
imperfectly is aware that HE SPEAKS IT BETTER AT ONE TIME THAN
ANOTHER, and it would consequently have been a grave error to
reduce the broken and irregular jargon of the book to a fixed and
regular language, or to require that the author should invariably
write exactly the same mispronunciations with strict consistency
on all occasions.

The opinion - entirely foreign to any intention of the
author - that Hans Breitmann is an embodied satire on everything
German, has found very few supporters, and it is with the
greatest gratification that he has learned that educated and
intelligent Germans regard Hans as a jocose burlesque of a type
which is every day becoming rarer. And if Teutonic philosophy
and sentiment, beer, music, and romance, have been made the
medium for what many reviewers have kindly declared to be
laughter-moving, let the reader be assured that not a single word
was meant in a bitter or unkindly spirit. It is true that there
is always a standpoint from which any effort may be misjudged,
but this standpoint certainly did not occur to the writer when he
wrote, with anything but misgiving, of his "hearty,
hard-fighting, good-natured old ex-student," who, in the
political ballads and others, appears to no moral disadvantage by
the side of his associates.

Breitmann in several ballads is indeed a very literal copy
or combination of characteristics of men who really exist or
existed, and who had in their lives embraced as many extremes of
thought as the Captain. America abounds with Germans, who,
having received in their youth a "classical education," have
passed through varied adventures, and often present the most
startling paradoxes of thought and personal appearance. I have
seen bearing a keg a porter who could speak Latin fluently. I
have been in a beer-shop kept by a man who was distinguished in
the Frankfurt Parliament. I have found a graduate of the
University of Munich in a negro minstrel troupe. And while
mentioning these as proof that Breitmann, as I have depicted him,
is not a contradictory character, I cannot refrain from a word of
praise as to the energy and patience with which the German "under
a cloud" in America bears his reverses, and works cheerfully and
uncomplainingly, until, by sheer perseverance, he, in most cases,
conquers fortune. In this respect the Germans, as a race, and I
might almost say as individuals, are superior to any others on
the American continent. And if I have jested with the German new
philosophy, it is with the more seriousness that I here
acknowledge the deepest respect for that true practical
philosophy of life - that well-balanced mixture of stoicism and
epicurism - which enables Germans to endure and to ENJOY under
circumstances when other men would probably despair.

Breitmann is one of the battered types of the men of '48 -
a person whose education more than his heart has in every way led
him to entire scepticism or indifference - and one whose
Lutheranism does not go beyond "Wein, Weib, und Gesang." Beneath
his unlimited faith in pleasure lie natural shrewdness, an
excellent early education, and certain principles of honesty and
good fellowship, which are all the more clearly defined from his
moral looseness in details which are identified in the
Anglo-Saxon mind with total depravity. In such a man, the
appreciation of the beautiful in nature may be keen, but it will
continually vanish before humour or mere fun; while having no
deep root in life or interests in common with the settled
Anglo-Saxon citizen, he cannot fail to appear at times to the
latter as a near relation to Mephistopheles. But his "mockery"
is as accidental and naif as that of Jewish Young Germany is keen
and deliberate; and the former differs from the latter as the
drollery of Abraham a Santa Clara differs from the brilliant
satire of Heine.

The reader should be fairly warned that these poems abound
in words, phrases, suggestions, and even couplets, borrowed to
such an extent from old ballads and other sources, as to make
acknowledgement in many cases seem affectation. Where this has
appeared to be worth the while, it has been done. The lyrics
were written for a laugh - without anticipating publication, so
far as a number of the principal ones in the first volume were
concerned, and certainly without the least idea that they would
be extensively and closely criticised by eminent and able
reviewers. Before the compilation the "Barty" had almost passed
from the writer's memory, several other songs of the same
character by him were quite forgotten, while a number had formed
portions of letters to friends, by one of whom a few were
published in a newspaper. When finally urged by many who were
pleased with "Breitmann" to issue these humble lyrics in book
form, it was with some difficulty that the first volume was
brought together.

The excuse for the foregoing observations is the unexpected
success of a book which is of itself of so eccentric a character
as to require some explanation. For its reception from the
public, and the kindness and consideration with which it has been
treated by the press, the author can never be sufficiently
grateful.

CHARLES G. LELAND
London, 1871.

CONTENTS

HANS BREITMANN'S BARTY
BREITMANN AND THE TURNERS
BALLAD
A BALLAD APOUT DE ROWDIES
THE PICNIC
I GILI ROMANESKRO
STEINLI VON SLANG
TO A FRIEND STUDYING GERMAN
LOVE SONG
DER FREISCHÜTZ
WEIN GEIST
SCHNITZERL'S PHILOSOPEDE -
I. PROLOGUE
II. HANS BREITMANN AND HIS PHILOSOPEDE
DIE SCHÖNE WITTWE -
I. VOT DE YANKEE CHAP SUNG
II. HOW DER BREITMANN CUT HIM OUT
BREITMANN IN BATTLE
BREITMANN IN MARYLAND
BREITMANN AS A BUMMER
SECOND PART
BREITMANN'S GOING TO CHURCH
BREITMANN IN KANSAS
HANS BREITMANN'S CHRISTMAS
BREITMANN ABOUT TOWN
BREITMANN IN POLITICS -
I.
1. THE NOMINATION
2. THE COMMITTEE OF INSTRUCTIONS
3. MR. TWINE EXPLAINS BEING "SOUND UPON THE GOOSE"
II.
4. HOW BREITMANN AND SMITH WERE REPORTED
TO BE LOG-ROLLING
5. HOW THEY HELD THE MASS MEETING
6. BREITMANN'S GREAT SPEECH
III.
PARDT DE VIRST: - THE AUTHOR ASSERTS THE VAST
INTELLECTUAL
SUPERIORITY OF GERMANS TO AMERICANS
PARDT DE SECOND: - SHOWING HOW MR. HIRAM TWINE "PLAYED
OFF"
ON SMITH
BREITMANN AS AN UHLAN -
I. THE VISION
II. BREITMANN IN A BALLOON
III. BREITMANN AND BOUILLI
IV. BREITMANN TAKES THE TOWN OF NANCY
V. BREITMANN IN BIVOUAC
VI. BREITMANN'S LAST BARTY
EUROPE -
BREITMANN IN PARIS
BREITMANN IN LA SORBONNE
BREITMANN IN FORTY-EIGHT
BREITMANN IN BELGIUM -
SPA
OSTENDE
GENT
BREITMANN IN HOLLAND -
'S GRAVENHAGE - THE HAGUE
LEYDEN
SCHEVENINGEN
AMSTERDAM
GERMANY -
BREITMANN AM RHEIN - COLOGNE
AM RHEIN - NO. II
AM RHEIN - NO. III
MUNICH
FRANKFORT-ON-THE-MAIN
ITALY -
BREITMANN IN ROME
LA SCALA SANTA
BREITMANN INTERVIEWS THE POPE
THE FIRST EDITION OF BREITMANN -
SHOWING HOW AND WHY IT WAS THAT IT NEVER APPEARED
LAST BALLADS -
BREITMANN IN TURKEY
COBUS HAGELSTEIN
FRITZERL SCHNALL
THE GYPSY LOVER
DORNENLIEDER
BREITMANN'S SLEIGH-RIDE
THE MAGIC SHOES
GLOSSARY


INTRODUCTION
BY THE PUBLISHER

- -

"HANS BREITMANN GIFE A BARTY" - the first of the poems here
submitted to the English public - appeared originally in 1857, in
Graham's Magazine, in Philadelphia, and soon became widely
known. Few American poems, indeed, have been held in better or
more constant remembrance than the ballad of "Hans Breitmann's
Barty;" for the words just quoted have actually passed into a
proverbial expression. The other ballads of the present
collection, likewise published in several newspapers, were first
collected in 1869 by Mr. Leland, the translator of Heine's
"Pictures of Travel" and "Book of Songs," and author of Meister
Karl's Sketch -Book," Philadelphia, 1856 and "Sunshine in
Thought," New York, 1863. They are much of the same character as
"The Barty" - most of them celebrating the martial career of
"Hans Breitmann," whose prototype was a German, serving during
the war in the 15th Pennsylvanian cavalry, and who - we have it
on good authority - was a man of desperate courage whenever a
cent could be made, and one who never fought unless
something could be made. The "rebs" "gobbled" him
one day; but he re-appeared in three weeks overloaded with money
and valuables. One of the American critics remarks: -
"Throughout all the ballads it is the same figure presented - an
honest 'Deutscher,' drunk with the New World as with new wine,
and rioting in the expression of purely Deutsch nature and
half-Deutsch ideas through a strange speech."

The poems are written in the dull broken English (not to be
confounded with the Pennsylvanian German) spoken by millions of -
mostly uneducated - Germans in America, immigrants to a great
extent from southern Germany. Their English has not yet become a
distinct dialect; and it would even be difficult to fix at
present the varieties in which it occurs. One of its prominent
peculiarities, however, is easily perceived: it consists in the
constant confounding of the soft and hard consonants; and the
reader must well bear it in mind when translating the language
that meets his eye into one to become intelligible to his ear.
Thus to the German of our poet, kiss becomes giss; company -
gompany; care - gare; count - gount; corner - gorner; till -
dill; terrible - derrible; time - dime; mountain - moundain;
thing - ding; through - droo; the - de; themselves - demselves;
other - oder; party - barty; place - blace; pig - big; priest -
breest; piano - biano; plaster - blaster; fine - vine; fighting -
vighting; fellow - veller; or, vice versâ, he sounds
got -
cot; green - creen; great - crate; gold dollars - cold tollars;
dam - tam; dreadful - treadful; drunk - troonk; brown - prown;
blood - ploot; bridge - pridge; barrel - parrel; boot - poot;
begging - peggin'; blackguard - plackguart; rebel - repel; never
- nefer; river - rifer; very - fery; give - gife; victory -
fictory; evening - efening; revive - refife; jump - shoomp; join
- choin; joy - choy; just - shoost; joke - choke; jingling -
shingling;, &c.; or, through a kindred change, both - bofe; youth
- youf; but mouth - mout'; earth - eart'; south - sout'; waiting
- vaiten;' was - vas; widow - vidow; woman - voman; work - vork;
one - von; we - ve, &c. And hence, by way of a compound mixture,
we get from him drafel for travel, derriple for terrible, a
daple-leck for a table-leg, bepples for pebbles, tisasder for
disaster, schimnastig dricks for gymnastic tricks, let-bencil for
lead-pencil, &c. The peculiarity of Germans pronouncing in their
mother tongue s like sh when it is followed by a t or
p, and of Germans in southern Germany often also final
s like sh, naturally produced in their American
jargon such results as shplit, shtop, shtraight, shtar,
shtupendous, shpree, shpirit, &c; ish(is), ash(as), &c.; and, by
analogy led to shveet(sweet), schwig(swig), &c. We need not
notice, however, more than these freaks of the
German-American-English of the present poems, as little as we
need advert to simple vulgarisms also met with in England, such
as the omission of the final g in words terminating in
ing (blayin' - playing; shpinnen' - spinning; ridin',
sailin', roonin', &c.). We must, of course, assume that the
reader of this little volume is well acquainted both with English
and German.

The reader will perceive that the writer has taken another
flight in "Hans Breitmann's Christmas," and many of the later
ballads, from what he did in those preceding; and exception might
be taken to his choice of subjects, and treatment of them, if the
language employed by him were a fixed dialect - that is, a
language arrested at a certain stage of its progress; for in that
case he would have had to subordinate his pictures to the narrow
sphere of the realistic incidents of a given locality. But the
imperfect English utterances of the German, newly arrived in
America, coloured more or less by the peculiarities of his native
idiom, do not make, and never will make a dialect, for the simple
reason that, in proportion to his intelligence, his
opportunities, and the length of time spent by him among his new
English-speaking countrymen, he will sooner or later rid himself
of the crudenesses of his speech, thus preventing it from
becoming fixed. Many of the Germans who have emigrated and are
still emigrating to America belong to the well-educated classes,
and some possess a very high culture. Our poet has therefore
presented his typical German, with perfect propriety, in a
variety of situations which would be imperceptible within which
the the dialect necessarily moves, and has endowed him with
character, even where the local colour is wanting.

In "Breitmann in Politics," we are on purely American ground.

In it the Germans convince themselves that, as their hero can
no longer plunder the rebels, he ought to plunder the nation, and
they resolve on getting him elected to the State Legislature.
They accordingly form a committee, and formulate for their
candidate six "moral ideas" as his platform. These they show to
their Yankee helper, Hiram Twine, who, having changed his
politics fifteen times, and managed several elections, knows how
matters should be handled. He says the moral ideas are very
fine, but not worth a "dern;" and instead of them proclaims the
true cry, that Breitmann is sound upon the goose, about
which he tells a story. Then it is reported that the German
cannot win, and that, as he is a soldier, he has been sent into
the political field only to lead the forlorn hope and get beaten.
In answer to this, Twine starts the report that Smith has sold
the fight to Breitmann, a notion which the Americans take to
at once -

"For dey mostly dinked id de naturalest ding as efer couldt
pefall
For to sheat von's own gonstituents is de pest mofe in de came,
Und dey nefer sooposed a Dootchman hafe de sense to do de same."

Accordingly, Breitmann calls a meeting of Smith's supporters,
tells them that he hopes to get a good place for his friend
Smith, though he cannot approve of Smith's teetotal principles,
because he, Breitmann, is a republican, and the meaning of that
word is plain: - "... If any enlightened man vill seeken in his
Bibel, he will find dat a publican is a barty ash sells
lager; und de ding is very blain, dat a re-publican
ish von who sells id 'gain und 'gain." Moreover, Smith believes
in God, and goes to church, - what liberal German can
stand this? - while Breitmann, being a publican, must be a
sinner. As to parties, the principles of both are the
same - plunder - and "any man who gifes me his fote, - votefer
his boledics pe, - shall alfays pe regardet ash bolidigal friendt
py me."

This brings the house down. And when Breitmann announces that he
sells the best beer in the city, and stands drinks gratis to his
"bolidigal friendts," and orders in twelve barrels of lager for
the meeting, he is unanimously voted "a brickbat, and no
sardine."

After this brilliant success, the author is obliged to pause,
in order to proclaim the intellectual superiority of Germans to
the whole world. He gets tremendously be-fogged in the process,
but that is no matter -

"Ash der Hegel say of his system,' Dat only von mans knew
Vot der tyfel id meant; and he couldn't tell,' und der Jean
Paul Richter, too,
Who saidt, 'Gott knows, I meant somedings vhen foorst dis
buch I writ,
Boot Gott only weiss vot das buch means now, for I hafe
forgotten it!'"

But, taking the point as proved, our German still allows that the
Yankees have some sharp-pointed sense, which he illustrates by
narrating how Hiram Twine turned a village of Smith-voters into
the Breitmann camp. The village is German and Democrat. Smith
has forgotten his meeting, and Twine, who is very like Smith, and
rides into the village to watch the meeting, is taken by the
Germans for Smith. On this, Twine resolves to personate Smith,
and give his supporters a dose of him. Accordingly, on being
asked to drink, he tells the Germans that none but hogs would
drink their stinking beer, and that German wine was only made for
German swine. Then he goes to the meeting, and, having wounded
their feelings in the tenderest point, - the love of beer, -
attacks the next tenderest, - their love for their language, - by
declaring that he will vote for preventing the speaking of it all
through the States; and winds up by exhorting them to stop
guzzling beer and smoking pipes, and set to work to un-Germanise
themselves as soon as possible. On this "dere coomed a shindy,"
with cries of "Shoot him with a bowie-knife," and "Tar and
feather him." A revolver-ball cuts the chandelier-cord; all is
dark; and amidst the row, Twine escapes and gallops off, with
some pistol-balls after him. But the village votes for


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