Charles Godfrey Leland.

The Breitmann Ballads online

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Ton't let de Gelt go blue!
I vants you show de beoples
Dis tay vot you can do!"

Der Breitman mit his mädchen
Vas in a shblentit shleigh,
Fritz Laufer mit his Mina,
Vas yoosht agross de vay;
Mit pop-slets und mit yoompers,
Mit horses and mit mules,
Dere vas more ash vifty fellers
Come mit deir ve-hi-cules.

Id's "Ein-Zwei-Drei!" togedder
Dey hollered klein und gross,
Like de wind in shtormy wetter,
Stracks vent de Deutschers los!
Dey crock de vips like mooskets,
Dey ring from berg to berg,
"Hooray!" exsglaim Hans Breitmann:
"Dot sounds like Gettysburg!"

Der Breitmann und der Laufer
Vere half a mile ahet,
For ven id coom to driven,
De oder Dootch vere deadt.
Dey vly like teufel's arrows,
Mit imps oopon em gay,
Dey killt five hoondred shbarrows
Vot kit indo de vay.

Dey vly like rats und blitzen,
De fery gals vos doomb,
Und Breitmann kept his wits on,
To see vot shanse vouldt coom;
He know'd de pace dey clipped it
Moost enden in a shquall
By de vay der Laufer ripped it,
Und de shteeds vere ganz egál.

Der Laufer he vos leadin'
Hans Breitmann ash he goed,
Boot he tidn't see a soplin'
Dot vos lyin' in de road.
Id yank dem out like marples,
Mitout a will or shall;
Hets downvarts in a shnow-pank,
Vent Laufer mit his gal.

Und ash Breitmann comed oonto it
Id kit indo his vay,
Und tossed him mit his mädchen
Right indo Laufer's shleigh;
Hans crab de reins like blitze',
Und go ahet like sin:
"Adjé, mein lieber Fritze![89]
Dis dimes I scoop you in!"

He vly avay like shvallows
To vhere a davern lay,
Vhere de opple-tod vos ploomin'
Among de Deutschers gay.
Der Breitmann as he vonisht
Yoost cast von look pehind,
At de lecks of Fritz - und Mina-
A-vafin in de wind.

Homburg vor der Höhe, Hesse-Nassau,
September 1, 1888.


IT was stiller, dimmer twilight - amber toornin' into gold,
Like young maidens' hairs get yellow und more dark as dey crow
Und dere shtood a high ruine vhere de Donau rooshed along,
All lofely, yet neclected - like an oldt und silent song.

Out shpoke der Ritter Breitmann, "Ven I hafe not forgot,
Ich kenn an anciendt shtory of dis inderesdin shpot,
Of the Deutscher Middleolter vot de Minnesingers sung,
Ven dot olt ruine oben vas a-bloomin, fair, und yung.

"Vonce dere lifed a noble fraülein - fery peautiful vas she,
More ash twendy dimes goot lookin - it is in de historie;
Und mit more ash forty quarters on her woppenshield,[90] dot men
Might beholdt mitout a discount she vas of de upper ten.

"But dough lofely as an angel, mit eyes of turkos plue,
She vas cruel ash a teufel, und de vorst man efer knew.
Vonce ven a nople young one kneeled down to her mit lofe,
She kicket him mit her slipper und oopset him on de shtove.

"Und said, 'I do refuse you, as you may plainly see;
Und from dis day henseforvart mine refuse you shall pe,
Und when I do run afder you like dogs run afder men,
Den I vill pe your vife, yung man - boot keep avay dill denn!'

"He lishten to her crimly, and no single vort he said,
Boot de bitter dings she spoken poot der teufel in his head;
For she hafe not learned de visdom, vich is alvays safe and
'Don't go to pourin' water on a mouse ven id ist trowned.'

"Vonce, at de end of autoom, ven de vind vos bitter cold,
Dis maiden out a-ridin' met a voman poor and old;
Her feets vere bare and pleedin', and she said, 'Ah! ton't refuse
To gife me, nople lady, yoosht de vorst of your oldt shoes!'

"De lady boorst out laughin', 'Fool here, or fool me dere,
You give to me a couple, I gives to you a pair.'
Denn she rode avay a-laughin'; de old voman says 'I wete,
I'll give you shoes, my lady, dot vill fit your soul and feet!'

"Dis voman vas a vitchè, an bitter one dere to,
All dot vot she had shpoken she light enough could do;
De Ritter did not know it, but he told her of his love,
And how dot shkornful lady hat oopset him mit de shtove.

"Out spoke de grimme witchè, 'She shall pay dee well to
If yo pring to me de measure of dat lady's liddle foot.'
He got it from her shoemaker, and gafe id to de vitch,
Denn she gafe it to de damsel pooty soon as hot as pitch.

"Von morn de lofely lady, on openin' her toor,
Found de nicest pair of gaiter boots she efer saw pefore;
Dey vitted her exoctly - mitouten any doubt-
Boot, mein Gott! how she vas shrocken ven dey 'gun to valk

"Und ash de poots go valkin', like de buds go mit de stem,
It vollowed dot de lady had to valk apout in dem.
Dey took her out into de street - dey run her on de road,
Bym-by she saw a man ahead vot led her vhere she goed.

"Vhen he vent valkin' longsome denn longsome vas her pace,
Vhen he roon like a greyhound she skompered in a race;
He led her o'er de moundains und cross de lonely plain,
Until de evenin' shadows, ven he took her home again.

"Denn she dink mit hate and fury of dis man she used to skoff,
Und den go at de gaiters - boot she couldn't pull dem off,
She vork mit all de servants, boot 'tvasent any use,
Und so she hafe to go to bett - a-shleepin' in her shoes.

"Next mornin' off dey shtarted, apout de broke of day,
Den he led her to a castle in de woods and far away,
And shpeak to her, 'My lady - I dink at last you see
Dat de dime has come in earnesdt vhen you've cot to vollow me!'

"Oh vat ish female nature? Oh vat ish mortal pride?
How all dot shtands de firmest most quickly shlips aside
De cloudts dot o'er de moundains look shkornful at de plain,
Ere long mit shtormy wetter come toomble down in rain.

"So de storm-cloud of Superbia vhich shweep her soul above,
Vas meltet mit his shternness and be-turnèd into love,
As his words like donner wetter croshed ven de lightnin' flies,
So downward coom de torrents of dear trops from her eyes.

"Und she gry, 'Mit shame I own it, to say de fery least,
I gonfess dat in dis matter I hafe acted like a peast;
Ven I made of you my refuse, I dinked it no account,
But now de pack is on my back it seems a big amount.

"'But if you vish to ved me, I vill do vat you require.
He answered, 'Now you're talkin' - dot is yoost vot I
For I am very willin', and you do not refuse,
Boot remember vot you bromised - send de vitch a pair of shoes!'

"She answered, 'I vill follow verever you may go,
All ofer hills and falleys, in sunshine, rain, or schnow,
All over in der Welt, dear, I'll vander on vith thee,
I do not care how rough de road or dark de path may be!

"'Or in de bloomin' meadows, vhere de grass is soft and sweet,
Or in de rocky passes, vhere de stones are under veet,
Or if I vear de shoes, love, vitch you hafe given me,
Or if I moost go barefoot, is all de same to me.'

"He drew away de gaiters. She said, 'As I'm rich
I vill fill dem both mit money, and take dem to de vitch.'
Ja wohl, she saw die Hexe, and takin' her aside,
She danked her for de lesson vot hat dook avay her pride.

"On de vay vhen dey vere married, how vere dey all erstaun
To see a lofely lady come in mit golden crown,
All in a rosy-silken dress vot shined as pright as glass,
Said, 'My dears, I am de vitch dot fetch dis ding to pass.

"'You know I look so ogly vonce, und now am peautiful,
Dot ist de vay dot all dings vork ven folks pe dutiful.
Ash de lily toorns to vhitey vot once vas dirty green,
So all ist fair ven virdue ist runnin' de machine.'"

Dis is de vondrous shtory vot de Ritter Breitmann told
Besides the rooshin' Danube of de schloss so grey und old,
Vhile a shmokin' of his meerschaum; und till all time pe gone
The rustlin' of de vasser tells de tale for ever on.

Dat is an alt legende, und yet 'tis efer new,
Und to efery von dot hears it it fits yoost like a shoe.
Und dis de shinin' moral dot in de oyster lies-
Some day you may roon after de dings you vonce despise!

Vienna, 1888.


THIS Glossary was prepared entirely by Mr. NICHOLAS TRÜBNER.
am not aware that he had any assistance in writing it. I mention
this because I have never met with any person who was so equally
familiar with obscure and obsolete old German facetious
literature (as the text indicates), and at the same time with
Americanisms. I should say that in all of the later ballads, or
at least in fully one half of all in the book, the author was
indebted to him for ideas, suggestions, and emendations, and that
the work would never have been what it is - sit verbo
venia - but
for him. Mr. Trübner was a poet, even in English, as his
translation from Scheffel's poems indicates. A very few words
have been added to explain the poems in the ballads which appear
for the first time in this edition.

- - - - - - -

Abenddämmerung,(Ger.) - Evening dim light; twilight.
Abendgold,(Ger.) - Evening gold.
Abendroth,(Ger.) - Evening red.
Abendsonnenschein,(Ger.) - Evening sunshine.
Abbordez-moi vodre mére,(German-French) - Bring me
your mayor.
Ach weh,(Ger.) - Oh, woe.
Allatag,(Ger. dial.) - Every day.
Alla weil - All the while; always.
Allegader - All together.
Alles wird ewig zu eins,(Ger.) - And all for ever becomes
Alter Schwed',(old Swede) - A familiar phrase like "old
Anamile,(Amer.) - Animal.
Annerthalb Yar, Anderthalb Jahr,(Ger.) - Year and a half.
Anti Word: Antwort - Answer.
Antworded,(Ger.) - Answered.
Apple-tod,(Amer.) - Apple toddy. Spirit distilled from
Arbeiterhalle - Working-man's hall.
Arminius,(Herman.) - The Duke of the Cheruskans, and
destroyer of
the Roman legions under Varus, in the Teutoburg Forest.
Armlos - Unarmed.
Aroom, Herum - Around.
Arrière pensée,(Fr.) - A reserved thought or
Aufgespannt,(Ger.) - Stretched, bent.
Augen,(Ger.) - Eyes.
Augenblick,(Ger.) - Twinkling of an eye.
Aus,(Ger.) - Out.

Bach,(Ger.) - Book.
Baender-box - Band-box.
Baldface corn,(Amer.) - Plain maize whisky.
Barell-hell pars - Parallel-bars; a part of the gymnastic
Barrick,(Pennsylvania Ger. for Berg) - Mountain.
Bauern,(Ger.) - Peasants.
Be-ghostet,(Ger. Begeistert) - Inspired.
Begifted, - Beschenkt - Gifted.
Begreifen,(Ger.) - Understand.
Beheaded, Behauptet,(Ger.) - Asserted.
Bei Leib und Leben,(Ger.) - By my body and soul.
Bekannt, Beknown - Known.
Bellin,(Ger. Bellen) - To bark.
Bemarket,(Ger.-Eng.) - Remarked.
Be-mark,(Ger. Bemarken) - Observe.
Bemarks,(Ger. Bemerkungen) - Remarks.
Bemerkbàr,(Ger.) - Observable. Should be noticed.
Bemoost,(Ger.) - Mossgrown, in student's language, ein
Haupt, an old student.
Bender,(Amer.) - A spree; a frolic. To "go on a
bender" -
to go on a spree.
Be-raised - Raised, with the augment, literal for Ger.
Berauscht,(Ger.) - Intoxicated.
Besoffen,(Ger.) - Drunk.
Bestimmung des Menschen - Vocation of Man, title of one
of Fichte's works.
Betaubend,(Ger.) - Enchanting.
Bewises,(Ger. Beweist, from Beweisen) -
Bibliothek - Library.
Bienenkorb,(Ger.) - Beehive.
Birra gazzosa,(Italian) - Aerated, gaseous beer.
Bischof,(Ger.) - Bishop.
Bix Büchse,(box) - Rifle. Bess in Brown Bess is the
of the German Büchse, (Brown being merely an
epithet;) French, buse tube; Flemish, buis.
found in blunderbuss, arquebuss.) See Blackley's "Word
Blaetter,(Ger.) - Leaves.
Blei - Lead.
Blitz,(Ger.) - Lightning.
Blitzen,(Ger.) - Lightning.
Blokes,(English) - Men.
Bock - A strong kind of German beer.
Boemisch - Bohemian.
Boerenvolk,(Flem.) - Peasants.
Bole Jack road - Near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Bool - Bull.
Bornirtheit - Limitedness of capacity.
Bouleverse - Boulevard.
Bountiee,(Amer.) - Bounty-money paid during the war as a
to soldiers. To jump the bounty, was to secure the
premium and
then run away.
"This is the song of Billy Jones,
Who jumped the boun-ti-ee."
- American Ballad of 1846.
Bowery - A street at New York, inhabited principally by
Branntewein,(Ger.) - Spirits.
Brandy smash,(Amer.) - A plain half-glass mint julep of
sugar,ice, spirits, and mint. A regular julep is larger,
contains more ingredients.
Brav,(Ger.) - Good.
Breit,(Ger.) - Broad.
Bring it down to dots - Reduce it to figures.
Brisner - Prisoner.
Broosh-pinder - Brushbinder,(Ger. Buerstenbinder.)
Brushmaker. The brushmakers are supposed, probably on
of their throat-parching business, to be always thirsty.
Brummed - growled - (Ger. Brummen).
Brücke,(Ger.) - Bridge.
Bugs - In America all insects, especially Coleoptera.
Bummer,(Amer.) - A fellow haunting low taverns; applied
the late civil war in the United States to hangers-on of
army. Probably a corruption of the German
Bumming - From Bummer.
Bushwhackers - Guerillas.
Bust his shell - Broke his head.
Butterbrod,(Ger.) - Buttered bread.
By-Nearly; Beinahe - Almost, nearly.

Came - Game.
Camine - Chimney-piece.
Canyon,(Span. Cañon) - A narrow passage
between high and
precipitous banks, formed by mountains or tablelands,
with a river running beneath. These occur in the great Western
prairies, New Mexico, and California.
Carmagnole - A wild street dance.
Carmosine,(Ger.) - Crimson. French, cramoisoi.
Carnadine - Incarnadine.
Change their lodge - Shift from one "society" to another.
Chroc, Chrocus, Crocus - An Alemannic leader, who overran
according to Gregory of Tours.
Chunk - A short thick piece of wood, or of anything else;
a chump.
The word is provincial in England, and colloquial in the
Cinder - Suende; sin.
Clam - The popular name of a bivalvular shell-fish, the
Clavier,(Ger.) - Piano.
Colle belle,(Ital.) - With the beauties.
Comedy - Committee.
Conradin - The last of the imperial house of the
Hohenstaufen -
beheaded at Naples in 1268.
Coot - (To cut) a dash, (to come out a "swell,")
to dress extravagantly.
Corned,(Amer.) - Made drunk.
Coster - The inventor of the art of printing, according
to the Dutch.
Crate - Great.
Crecian pend - When Breitmann says "Dat pend of the bow
the Crecian pend," it is a rather eqivocal compliment.
"Grecian bend" has lately become a common newspaper
expression. Smuggling done by women is called a "Case of
Grecian bend." The present style of skirt, full at the
is favourable to it.
Crislies - Grisly,(bear.)

Da ist er! Schau! - There he is! look!
Damit,(Ger.) - Therewith.
Dampfschiff - Steamboat.
Deck - A pack of cards, piled one upon another.
Demperanceler, Temperenzler - Temperance man.
Dessauerinn - A woman from Dessau.
Deutschland - Germany.
Die Hexe - The witch.
Die wile as möhte leben - During all its life.
Daz wolde er immer dienen
Die wile es möhte leben.
- Kutrun. XV. Aventiure, 756th verse.
Dink - he, they think; my dinks - my thoughts.
Dinked - he, they thought.
Dishtriputet - Instead of attributed.
Dissembulatin' - Dissembling.
Dissolfed - Instead of resolved.
D'lusion - Instead of allusion.
Donnered,(Ger.) - Thundered.
Donnerwetter,(Ger.) - Thunder and lightning.
Dooks - Ducks.
Doon - Tune.
Doonderblix - Thunder and lightning.
Dorn - A thorn. Dorn lieder - Thorn-songs.
Drawed he in - (literal rendering of the German Zog er
Dreimal,(Ger.) - Three times.
Drocks - Drakes, dragons; (Ger. Drachen.)
Druckerei - Printing-office.
Dummehrlichkeit,(Ger.) - Honest simplicity.
Dunkelheit - Darkness.
Dursty,(Ger. Durstig) - Thirsty.

Earnsthaft, ernsthaft - Serious.
Eber,(Ger.) - Wild boar.
Eberschwein,(Ger.) - Wild boar.
Eckhartshausen - A German supernaturalist.
Eher,(Ger.) - Sooner. In the dialect it has the meaning
of "before."
Einander to sprechen mit,(Ger.) - To speak together.
Eins, zwei, drei - One, two, three.
Einsichen, to take up one's abode with.
Eldern,(Ger. Eltern) - Parents.
Elfenbein,(Ger.) - Ivory.
Emerich - King Emerich, hero of a German legend.
Emsig Gruebler,(Ger.) - Assiduous inquirer.
Engel,(Ger.) - Angel.
Engländrinn,(Ger.) - English woman.
Entlang,(Ger.) - Along.
Erfinder,(Ger.) - Inventor.
Erfounden,(Ger. Erfunden) - Invented.
Ergeben,(Ger.) - Resigned.
Error-dom, Irrthum - Error.
Erstaun, Erstaunished, erstaunt - Astonished.
Erstarrt,(Ger.) - Aghast.
Erwaitin',(Ger. Erwartend) - Awaiting, expecting.
Euchre, Eucre - Sort of game played with cards, very much
in vogue
in the West.
Euchred - From Euchre, the game of cards.

Fackeltantz,(Ger.) - Torch dance.
Fancy craps or crabs - Fast horses.
Fanes, Wetterfahnen - Weathercocks.
Fass,(Ger.) - Barrel.
Fat - Printer's term.
Feldwebel,(Ger.) - A sergeant.
Feinslieb,(Ger.) - Fair or fine love.
Fenster - A window.
Fichte - A German philosopher.
Finster,(Ger.) - Dark, dismal.
Foal - Full.
Foll - To fall.
Foon - Fun.
Foors - First.
Fore-by - Literal translation of the German Vorbei.
Fore-lying - Literal translation of Vorliegend.
Foreschlag,(Ger. Vorschlag) - Proposal.
Foresetzen - To set, put (lay) before an audience.
Foxen,(Ger. Fuchsen) - Foxes.
Frank-tiroir - Franc-tireur.
François Villon - An old French humorous poet, whom
speaks of as the first who began to write truly modern
Frau,(Ger.) - Woman.
Freie,(Ger.) - Free.
Freischarlinger,(Ger. Freischaerler) - A member of
a Free Corps;
especially applied to those who belonged to the Free
formed in Southern Germany during the Revolution in 1848.
Freischuetz,(Ger.) - Free shot, one who shoots with
bullets, the name of Karl Maria Von Weber's celebrated
Friederich Rothbart - Frederic Barbarossa, the great
Emperor of
Germany and one of the German legendary heroes. He is
to sleep in the Kyffhauser in Thuringia, and to awaken
one day,
when he will bring great glory over Germany.
Frolic - Frohlich, merry.
Froze to de ready - Held fast to the money.
Fullenden - Vollenden - To complete, perfect.
Fuss,(Ger.) - Foot.
Fust or Faust - The partner of Gutemberg, the
inventor of the
art of printing.

Gambrinus - A mythical King of Brabant, supposed to have
the inventor of beer.
Gandertate - Candidate.
Ganz,(Ger.) - Ganz.
Gans egál - Quite the same.
Ganz und gar,(Ger.) - Altogether, all over.
Garce,(French) - Wench.
Gass und Strass,(Ger.) - Lane and street.
Gast,(Ger.) - Guest.
Gasbalgs - Bladder of gas.
Gauer - Valleys.
Gaul darn - G - - -n.
Gaul dern - A Yankee oath.
Gauner-sprache,(Ger.) - Thieves' language.
Ge-bildet - Built, with the German augment.
Ge-birt',(Ger. Geburt) - Birth.
Geborn - Born, with the augment.
Ge-brudert,(formed like ge-schwister,) - Brothers.
Geh hin mein Puch,(German of the 16th century).
Gehst nit mit rechten Dingen zu - Dost not do it by any
means; there is witchcraft in it.
Gekommene - Arrived(newly arrived).
Gekommen so,(Ger.) - Come thus.
Ge-kostet - Cost, with the German augment.)
Gesangverein,(Ger.) - Singing-society.
Ge-screech, Geschrei - Bawling, clamour.
Gesembled - Assembled, with the augment of the German
Geshmasht - Smashed, with German augment.
Gespickt,(Ger.) - Larded.
Gestohlen - Stolen.
Gestohlen und bekannt,(Ger.) - Stolen, and known.
Gesundheit,(Ger.) - Health.
Gewehr,(Ger.) - Musket.
Gewiss - Certainly.
Gift,(Ger.) - Poison.
Gilt - In the ordinary sense, and also in the same verse,
implying the meaning of the German verb "gelten,"
to be worth
something, and also guilt.
Glamour - Ocular deception by magic.
Glee-wine, Glueh-wein - Hot-spiced wine.
Glucky,(Ger. Gluecklich) - Lucky.
Glueck,(Ger.) - Luck.
Goblum - For goblin.
Gool - Cool.
Gottallmachty, (Ger. Gottallmächtig) - God
Gottashe - Cottage.
Gotteshaus,(Ger.) - House of God.
Gott-full, gottvoll - Glorious, divine.
Gottsdonnerkreuzschockschwerenoth,(Ger.) - Another variety
of big
Gott's-doonder,(Ger. Gott's donner) - God's
thunder. See also
Gott's tausend, a thundering sort of oath, but
never preceded
by lightning, for it is only used as a kind of expletive to
express great surprise, or to give great emphasis to words
which, without it, would seem to be capable of none.
Gottstausend,(Ger.) - An abbreviation of Gott's tausend
donnerwetter (God's thousand thunders), and therefore
comparative of Gott's doonder; with most of those who use
it a
meaningless phrase.
Gott weiss,(Ger.) - God knows!
Go von - Go one, bet on him.
Grillers - Guerillas.
Grod, gerad - Straight.
Gros,(Ger.) - Great.
Guestfriendlich, gastfreundlich - Hospitable.
Gummi lasticum - India rubber.
Gutemberg - The inventor of the art of printing.
Guve - Southern slang for give. Guv, for give, is
English slang as well as American.
Gyrotwistive - Snaky.

Hab' und Güter,(Ger.) - Property.
Hagel! Blitz! Kreuz Sakrament!(Ger.) - Another variety of
Halberthier, for Halberdier - Halberthier means
half an animal.
Hand-shoe,(Ger. Handschuh) - Glove.
Hans Michel - A popular but not complimentary name for
Hans Wurst - Merry Andrew; Zani; Jack Pudding - the latter
being a literal translation of the German Hans Wurst; the
pudding in either case referring to the sausages, or the
pretended sausage, which the Merry Andrew always appeared
be swallowing by the yard or fathom. See Blackley's
Harmlos,(Ger.) - Harmless.
Haul de pot - Take the stakes.
Hause - House.
Hegel - Name of the German philosopher.
Heine, Heinrich - German poet.
Heini von Steier - Heinrich von Ofterdingen.
Heldenbuch - Is the title of a collection of epic poems,
to the cycle of the German Saga.
Heller Glorie schein - Bright gloriole.
Hereauf, hierauf - Thereupon.
Herout,(Ger. Heraus) - Out.
Herr Je,(Ger.) - An abbreviation of Herr Jesus (O
Lord!); generally only used by those who are fond of
meaningless exclamations.
Her-re-liche, herrliche - Superb, grand, noble.

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