Charles Godfrey Leland.

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Breitmann, and be "licks der Schmit."

The ballad, "Breitmann's Going to Church," is based on a
real occurrence. A certain colonel, with his men, did really,
during the war, go to a church in or near Nashville, and, as the
saying is, "kicked up the devil, and broke things," to such an
extent, that a serious reprimand from the colonel's superior
officer was the result. The fact is guaranteed by Mr. Leland,
who heard the offender complain of the "cruel and heartless
stretch of military authority." As regards the firing into the
guerilla ball-room, it took place near Murfreesboro', on the
night of Feb. 10 or 11, 1865; and on the next day, Mr. Leland was
at a house where one of the wounded lay. On the same night a
Federal picket was shot dead near Lavergne; and the next night a
detachment of cavalry was sent off from General Van Cleve's
quarters, the officer in command coming in while the author was
talking with the general, for final orders. They rode twenty
miles that night, attacked a body of guerillas, captured a
number, and brought back prisoners early next day. The same day
Mr. Leland, with a small cavalry escort, and a few friends, went
out into the country, during which ride one or two curious
incidents occurred, illustrating the extraordinary fidelity of
the blacks to Federal soldiers.

The explanation of the poem entitled, "The First Edition of
Breitmann," is as follows: - It was not long after the war that a
friend of the writer's to whom "the Breitmann Ballads" had been
sent in MSS., and who had frequently urged the former to have
them published, resolved to secure, at least, a small private
edition, though at his own expense. Unfortunately the printers
quarrelled about the MSS., and, as the writer understood, the
entire concern broke up in a row in consequence. And, in fact,
when we reflect on the amount of fierce attack and recrimination
we reflect this unpretending and peaceful little volume elicited
after the appearance of the fifth English edition, and the injury
which it sustained from garbled and falsified editions, in not
less than three unauthorised reprints, it would really seem as if
this first edition, which "died a borning," had been typical of
the stormy path to which the work was predestined.

"I Gili Romaneskro," a gipsy ballad, was written both in the
original and translation - that is to say, in the German gipsy
and German English dialects - to cast a new light on the
Bohemianism of Herr Breitmann.

The readers of more than one English newspaper will recall
the idea of representing Breitmann as an Uhlan, scouting over
and frequently laying houses and even cities under heavy
has occurred to very many of "Our Own." A spirited correspondent
the Telegraph, and others of literary fame, have
referred to the Uhlan as Breitmann, indicating that the
German-American free-lance has grown into a type; and more than
newspaper, anticipating this volume, has published Anglo-German
referring to Hans Breitmann and the Prussian-French war. In
pamphlets written in Anglo-German rhymes, which appeared in
London in
1871, Breitmann was made the representative type of the war by
the friends and opponents of Prussia, while during February of
same year Hans figured at the same time, and on the same evenings
several weeks, on the stages of three London theatres. So many
imitations of these poems were published, and so extensively and
familiarly was Mr. Leland's hero spoken of as the exponent of the
German cause, that it seemed to a writer at the time as if he had
become "as regards Germany what John Bull and Brother Jonathan
long been to England and America." In connection with this
remark, the
following extract from a letter of the Special Correspondent of
London Daily Telegraph of August 29, 1870, may not be
interest: -

"The Prussian Uhlan of 1870 seems destined to fill in French
legendary chronicle the place which, during the invasions of 1814
- 15, was occupied by the Cossack. He is a great traveller.
Nancy, Bar-le-Duc, Commercy, Rheims, Chalons, St. Dizier,
Chaumont, have all heard of him. The Uhlan makes himself quite
at home, and drops in, entirely in a friendly way, on mayors and
corporations, asking not only himself to dinner, but an
indefinite number of additional Uhlans, who, he says, may be
expected hourly. The Uhlan wears a blue uniform turned up with
yellow, and to the end of his lance is affixed a streamer
intimately resembling a very dirty white pocket-handkerchief.
Sometimes he hunts in couples, sometimes he goes in threes, and
sometimes in fives. When he lights upon a village, he holds it
to ransom; when he comes upon a city, he captures it, making it
literally the prisoner of his bow and his spear. A writer in
Blackwood's Magazine once drove the people of Lancashire
madness by declaring that, in the Rebellion of 1745, Manchester
'was taken by a Scots sergeant and a wench;' but it is a
notorious fact that Nancy submitted without a murmur to five
Uhlans, and that Bar-le-Duc was occupied by two. When the Uhlan
arrives in a conquered city, he visits the mayor, and makes his
usual inordinate demands for meat, drink, and cigars. If his
demands are acceded to, he accepts everything with a grin. If he
is refused, he remarks, likewise with a grin, that he will come
again to-morrow with three thousand light horsemen, and he
gallops away; but in many cases he does not return. The secret
of the fellow's success lies mainly in his unblushing impudence,
his easy mendacity, and that intimate knowledge of every highway
and byway of the country which, thanks to the military
organisation of the Prussian army, he has acquired in the
regimental school. He gives himself out to be the precursor of
an imminently advancing army, when, after all, he is only a
boldly adventurous free-lance, who has ridden thirty miles across
country on the chance of picking up something in the way of
information or victuals. Only one more touch is needed to
complete the portrait of the Uhlan. His veritable name would
seem to be Hans Breitmann, and his vocation that of a 'bummer;'
and Breitmann, we learn from the preface to Mr. Leland's
wonderful ballad, had a prototype in a regiment of Pennsylvanian
cavalry by the name of Jost, whose proficiency in 'bumming,'
otherwise 'looting,' in swearing, fighting, and drinking lager
beer, raised him to a pitch of glory on the Federal side which
excited at once the envy and the admiration of the boldest
bush-whackers and the gauntest guerillas in the Confederate

The present edition embraces all the Breitmann poems which
have as yet appeared; and the publisher trusts that in their
collected form they will be found much more attractive than in
scattered volumes. Many new lyrics, illustrating the hero's
travels in Europe, have been added, and these, it is believed,
are not inferior to their predecessors.


The Breitmann Ballads.

- - - -


HANS BREITMANN gife a barty;
Dey had biano-blayin',
I felled in lofe mit a Merican frau,
Her name vas Madilda Yane.
She hat haar as prown ash a pretzel,
Her eyes vas himmel-plue,
Und vhen dey looket indo mine,
Dey shplit mine heart in dwo.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty,
I vent dere you'll pe pound;
I valtzet mit Matilda Yane,
Und vent shpinnen' round und round.
De pootiest Fraulein in de house,
She vayed 'pout dwo hoondred pound,
Und efery dime she gife a shoomp
She make de vindows sound.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty,
I dells you it cost him dear;
Dey rolled in more ash sefen kecks
Of foost-rate lager beer.
Und vhenefer dey knocks de shpicket in
De deutschers gifes a cheer;
I dinks dot so vine a barty
Nefer coom to a het dis year.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty;
Dere all vas Souse and Brouse,
Vhen de sooper comed in, de gompany
Did make demselfs to house;
Dey ate das Brot and Gensy broost,
De Bratwurst and Braten vine,
Und vash der Abendessen down
Mit four parrels of Neckarwein.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty;
Ve all cot troonk ash bigs.
I poot mine mout' to a parrel of beer,
Und emptied it oop mit a schwigs;
Und den I gissed Madilda Yane,
Und she shlog me on de kop,
Und de gompany vighted mit daple-lecks
Dill de coonshtable made oos shtop.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty -
Vhere ish dot barty now?
Vhere ish de lofely golden cloud
Dot float on de moundain's prow?
Vhere ish de himmelstrahlende stern -
De shtar of de shpirit's light?
All goned afay mit de lager beer -
Afay in de ewigkeit!


HANS BREITMANN shoined de Turners,
Novemper in de fall,
Und dey gifed a boostin' bender
All in de Turner Hall.
Dere coomed de whole Gesangverein
Mit der Liederlich Aepfel Chor,[1]
Und dey blowed on de drooms and stroomed on de fifes
Till dey couldn't refife no more.

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners,
Dey all set oop some shouts,
Dey took'd him into deir Turner Hall,
Und poots him a course of shprouts.
Dey poots him on de barell-hell pars
Und shtands him oop on his head,
Und dey poomps de beer mit an enchine hose
In his mout' dill he's 'pout half tead!

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners;
Dey make shimnastig dricks;
He stoot on de middle of de floor,
Und put oop a fifdy-six.
Und den he drows it to de roof,
Und schwig off a treadful trink:
De veight coom toomple back on his headt,
Und py shinks! he didn't vink!

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners: -
Mein Gott! how dey drinked und shwore;
Dere vas Schwabians und Tyrolers,
Und Bavarians by de score.
Some vellers coomed from de Rheinland,
Und Frankfort-on-de-Main,
Boot dere vas only von Sharman dere,
Und he vas a Holstein Dane.

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners,
Mit a Limpurg' cheese he coom;
Vhen he open de box it schmell so loudt
It knock de musik doomb.
Vhen de Deutschers kit de flavour,
It coorl de haar on deir head;
Boot dere vas dwo Amerigans dere;
Und, py tam! it kilt dem dead!

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners;
De ladies coomed in to see;
Dey poot dem in de blace for de gals,
All in der gal-lerie.
Dey ashk: "Vhere ish der Breitmann?"
Und dey dremple mit awe and fear
Vhen dey see him schwingen' py de toes,
A trinken' lager beer.

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners:
I dells you vot py tam!
Dey sings de great Urbummellied:[2]
De holy Sharman psalm.
Und vhen de kits to de gorus
You ought to hear dem dramp!
It scared der Teufel down below
To hear de Dootchmen stamp.

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners: -
By Donner! it vas grand,
Vhen de whole of dem goes valkin
Und dancin' on deir hand,
Mit deir veet all vavin' in de air,
Gottstausend! vot a dricks!
Dill der Breitmann fall und dey all go down
Shoost like a row of bricks.

Hans Breitmann shoined de Turners,
Dey lay dere in a heap,
And slept dill de early sonnen shine
Come in at de vindow creep;
And de preeze it vake dem from deir dream,
And dey go to kit deir feed:
Here hat dis song an ende -



Der noble Ritter Hugo
Von Schwillensaufenstein,
Rode out mit shper and helmet,
Und he coom to de panks of de Rhine.

Und oop dere rose a meermaid,
Vot hadn't got nodings on,
Und she say, "Oh, Ritter Hugo,
Vhere you goes mit yourself alone?"

And he says, "I rides in de creenwood,
Mit helmet und mit shpeer,
Til I coomes into em Gasthaus,
Und dere I trinks some beer."

Und den outshpoke de maiden
Vot hadn't got nodings on:
"I don't dink mooch of beoplesh
Dat goes mit demselfs alone.

"You'd petter coom down in de wasser,
Vhere dere's heaps of dings to see,
Und hafe a shplendid tinner
Und drafel along mit me.

"Dere you sees de fisch a schwimmin',
Und you catches dem efery von:" -
So sang dis wasser maiden
Vot hadn't got nodings on.

"Dere ish drunks all full mit money
In ships dat vent down of old;
Und you helpsh yourself, by dunder!
To shimmerin' crowns of gold.

"Shoost look at dese shpoons und vatches!
Shoost see dese diamant rings!
Coom down and fill your bockets,
Und I'll giss you like efery dings.

"Vot you vantsh mit your schnapps und lager?
Coom down into der Rhine!
Der ish pottles der Kaiser Charlemagne
Vonce filled mit gold-red wine!"

Dat fetched him - he shtood all shpell pound;
She pooled his coat-tails down,
She drawed him oonder der wasser,
De maiden mit nodings on.


De moon shines ofer de cloudlens,
Und de cloudts plow ofer de sea,
Und I vent to Coney Island,
Und I took mein Schatz mit me.
Mein Schatz, Katrina Bauer,
I gife her mein heart und vortdt;
Boot ve tidn't know vot beoples
De Dampfsschiff hafe cot on poard.

De preeze plowed cool und bleasant,
We looket at de town
Mit sonn-light on de shdeebles,
Und wetter fanes doornin' round.
Ve sat on de deck in a gorner
Und dropled nopody dere,
Vhen all aroundt oos de rowdies
Peginned to plackguard und schvear.

A voman mit a papy
Vos sittin' in de blace;
Von tooket a chew tobacco
Und trowed it indo her vace.
De voman got coonvulshons,
De papy pegin to gry;
Und de rowdies shkreemed out a laffin,
Und saidt dat de fun was "high."

Pimepy ve become some hoonger,
Katrina Bauer und I,
I openet de lit of mine pasket,
Und pringed out a cherry bie.
A cherry kooken mit pretzels,
"How goot!" Katrina said,
Vhen a rowdy snatched it from her,
Und preaked it ofer mine het.

I dells him he pe a plackguart,
I gifed him a biece my mind,
I vouldt saidt it pefore a tousand,
Mit der teufel himself pehind.
Den he knocks me down mit a sloong-shot,
Und peats me plack and plue;
Und de plackguards kick me,
Dill I vainted, und dat ish drue.

De rich American beoples
Don't know how de rowdies shtrike
Der poor hardtworkin' Sharman,
He knows it more ash he like.
If de Deutsche speakers und bapers
Are somedimes too hard on dis land,
Shoost dink how de Deutsch kit driven
Along by de rowdy's hand!


DE picknock oud at Spraker's Wood:-
It melt de soul und fire de plood.
Id sofly slid from cakes und cream;
Boot busted oop on brandy shdeam.

Mit stims of tender graceful ring,
De gals begoon a song to sing;
A bland mildt lied of olden dime-
Deutsch vas die doon, und Deutsch de rhyme.

Wi's uff der Stross' wenn's finschter ischt,
Und niemond in der Goss' mehr ischt,
Nur Schöne Mädel wolle mer fonga,
Wie es gebil'te Leut' verlonga.

At de picknock oud in Spraker's Wood,
De Bier was soft-de gals were good:
Oondil von feller, vild and rasch,
Called out for a Yankee brandy-smash!

A crow vot vas valkin on de vall,
Fell dead ven he hear dis Dootchmann call;
For he knew dat droples coom, py shinks!
Ven de Dootch go in for Yankee drinks.

De Dootch got ravin droonk ash sin,
Dey smash de windows out und in;
Dey bust und bang de bar-room ein,
Und call for a bucket of branntewein.

Avay, avay, demselfs dey floong,
Und a wild infernal lied dey sung:
'Tvas, "Tam de wein, and cuss de bier!
Ve tont care nix for de demprance here!

"O keep a pringin juleps in,
Und baldface corn dat burn like sin;
Mit apple tods und oldt shtone fence,
Ve'll all get corned ere ve go hence!"

Dey dash deir glasses on de cround,
Und tanz dill'tvas all to brick-duss ground,
Ven dey hear von man had a ten-dollar note,
De crowd go dead for dat rich man's troat.

A demperance chap vot coomed dere in,
Vent squanderin out mit his shell burst in;
"It's walk your chalks, you loost your chance,
Dis vot de call der Dootchmans' dance."

Boot ven de law, mit his myrmidon,
Vas hear of dese Dootchmen's carryins-on,
Dey sent bolicemen shtern und good,
To pull dose Dootch in Spraker's Wood.

De Dootch vas all gone roarin mad,
Und trinked mit Spraker all dey had;
Dey shpend 'nuf money to last deir life,
And each vas tantzin mit anoder man's wife.

Dey all cot poonish difers vays,
Some vent to jug for dirty tays;
Und de von dat kilt de demperance man
Vas kit from de Alderman repriman.

Und dus it ran:-"A warnin dake,
For you mighdt hafe mate soom pig mishdake;
Now how vouldt you hafe feeled, py shing!
If dat man hat peen in de whiskey ring?

"Since you votes mine dicket, of course you know,
I'm pound to led you shlide und go.
Boot nefer on whiskey trink your fill,
For you Dootchmen don't know who to kill."

Now Deutschers all-on dis warning dink,
Und don't get troonk on Yankee trink,
For neider you, or anoder man,
Can pe hocks like de New York rowdies can.

So trink goot bier, mit musik plest,
For if you tried your level best,
You can't be plackguarts-taint in de plood:
Dus endet de shdory of Spraker's Wood.



Vhen der Herr Breitmann vas a yungling, he vas go bummin
goot deal in de worldt, vestigatin human natur, roulant de
en vergne, ash de Fraentsch boet says: "goin from town to
seein beobles in gemixed sociedy, und learnin dose languages
ornamendt a drue moskopolite, or von whose kopf ish bemosst mit
experience. Mong oder tongues, ash it would appeared, he shpoke
fluendly, Red Welsh, Black Dootch, Kauder-Waelsch, Gaunersprache,
und Shipsy; und dis latter languashe he pring so wide dat he
a pook of pallads in it,-von of vitch pallads I hafe intuce him
moosh droples to telifer ofer to de worldt. De inclined reader
vill, mit crate heavy-hood blace pefore himself de fexation und
lapor I hafe hat in der Breitmann his absents, to ged dese Shipsy
verses broperly gorrected; as de only shentleman in town who vas
culpable of so doin, ish peen gonfined in de town-brison, pout
droples he hat for shdealin some hens; und pefore I couldt
mit him, he vas rooned afay. Denn I fond an oldt vomans Shipsy,
who vas do nodings boot peg, und so wider mit pout five or four
oders more. Derfore, de errordoms moost pe excused py de
pooplic, who are fomiliar mit dis peautiful languashe, vitch is
now so
shenerally fashionábel in laterary und shpordin circles.


- - - - -


Schunava, ke baschno del a godla,
Schunava Paschomàskro.
Te del miro Dewel tumen
Dschavena Bachtallo.[3]

Schunava opré to ruka
Chirikló ke gillela:
Kamovéla but dives,
Eh'me pale kamaveva.

Apo je wa'wer divesseste
Schunava pro gilaviben,
M'akana me avava,
Pro marzos, pro kuriben.

So korava kuribente,
So korava apre dróm;
Me kanáv miri romni,
So kamela la lákero rom.


I hear de gock a growin!
I hear de musikant!
Gott gife dee a happy shourney
Vhen you go to a distand landt.

I hears oopon de pranches
A pird mit merry shdrain,
Goot many tays moost fanish
Ere I coom to dis blace again.

Oopon some oder tay-times
I'll hear dat song from dee;
Boot now I goes ash soldier
To war, o'er de rollin sea.

Und vot I shdeals in pattle,
Und vot on de road I shdeal,
I'll pring all to my true lofe
Who lofes her lofer so well.



DER watchman look out from his tower
Ash de Abendgold glimmer grew dim,
Und saw on de road troo de Gauer
Ten shpearmen coom ridin to him:
Und he schvear: "May I lose my next bitter,
Und denn mit der Teufel go hang!
If id isn't dat pully young Ritter,
De hell-drivin Steinli von Slang.

"De vorldt nefer had any such man,
He vights like a sturm in its wrath:
You may call me a recular Dutchman,
If he arn't like Goliath of Gath.
He ish big ash de shiant O'Brady,
More ash sefen feet high on a string,
Boot he can't vin de hearts of my lady,
De lofely Plectruda von Sling."

De lady make welcome her gast in,
Ash he shtep to de dop of de shtair,
She look like an angel got lost in
A forest of audumn-prown hair.
Und a bower-maiden said ash she tarried:
"I wish I may bust mit a bang!
If id isn't a shame she ain't married
To der her-re-liche Steinli von Slang!"

He pows to de cround fore de lady,
Vhile his vace ish ash pale ash de tead;
Und she vhispers oonto him a rédè
Ash mit arrow point accents, she said:
"You hafe long dimes peen dryin to win me,
You hafe vight, and mine braises you sing,
Boot I'm 'fraid dat de notion aint in me,
De Lady Plectruda von Sling.

"Boot brafehood teserves a reward, sir;
Dough you've hardly a chost of a shanse.
Sankt Werolf! medinks id ish hard, sir,
I should allaweil lead you dis dance."
Like a bees vhen it it booz troo de clofer,
Dese murmurin accents she flang,
Vhile singin, a stingin her lofer,
Der woe-moody Ritter von Slang.

"Boot if von ding you do, I'll knock under,
Our droples moost endin damit
Und if you pull troo it,- by donder!
I'll own myself euchred, und bit.
I schvear py de holy Sanct Chlody!
Py mine honor-und avery ding!
You may hafe me-soul, puttons und pody,
Mit de whole of Plectruda von Sling."

"Und dish ish de test of your power:-
Vhile ve shtand ourselfs round in a row,
You moost roll from de dop of dis tower,
Down shdairs to de valley pelow.
Id ish rough and shteep ash my virtue:"
(Mit schwanenshweet accents she sang:)
"Tont try if you dinks id vill hurt you,
Mine goot liddle Ritter von Slang."

An Moormoor arosed mong de beoples;
In fain tid she doorn in her shkorn,
Der vatchman on dop of de shdeeples
Plowed a sorryfool doon on his horn.
Ash dey look down de dousand-foot treppé,
Dey schveared dey vouldt pass on de ding,
Und not roll down de firstest tam steppé
For a hoondred like Fräulein von Sling.


'Twas audumn. De dry leafs vere bustlin
Und visperin deir elfin wild talk,
Vhen shlow, mit his veet in dem rustlin,
Herr Steinli coomed out for a walk.
Wild dooks vly afar in de gloamin,
He hear a vaint gry vrom de gang;
Und vished he vere off mit dem roamin:
De heart-wounded Ritter Von Slang.

Und ash he vent musin und shbeakin,
He se, shoost ahead in his vay,
In sinkular manner a streakin,
A strange liddle bein, in cray,
Who toorned on him quick mit a holler,
Und cuttin a dwo bigeon ving,
Cried, "Say, can you change me a thaler,
Oh, guest of de Lady von Sling?"

De knight vas a goot-nadured veller,
(De peggars all knowed him at sight,)
So he forked out each groschen und heller,
Dill he fix de finances aright.
Boot shoost ash de liddle man vent, he,
(Der Ritter,) ashtonished cried "Dang!"
For id vasn't von thaler boot tventy,
He'd passed on der Ritter von Slang.

O reater! Soopose soosh a vlight in
De vingers of me, or of you,
How we'd toorned on our heels, und gon kitin
Dill no von vos left to pursue!
Good Lort! how we'd froze to de ready!
Boot mit him 'dvas a different ding;
For he vent on de high, moral steady,
Dis lofer of Fräulein von Sling.

Und dough no von vill gife any gredit
To dis part of mine dale, shdill id's drue,
He drafelled ash if he vould dead it,
Dis liddle oldt man to pursue.
Und loudly he after him hollers,
Till de vales mit de cliffers loud rang:
"You hafe gifed me nine-ten too moosh dollars,
Hold Hard!" cried der Ritter von Slang.

De oldt man ope his eyes like a casement,
Und laid a cold hand on his prow,
Denn mutter in ootmosdt amazement,
"Vot manner of mordal art dou?
I hafe lifed in dis world a yar tausend,
Und nefer yed met soosh a ding!
Yet you find it hart vork to pe spouse, and
Peloved by de Lady von Sling!

"Und she vant you to roll from de tower
Down shteps to yon rifulet spot."
(Here de knight, whom amazement o'erbower,
Cried, "Himmels potz pumpen Herr Gott!")
Boot de oldt veller saidt: "I'll arrange it,
Let your droples und sorrows co hang!
Und nodings vill coom to derange it-
Pet high on it, Ritter von Slang.

"So get oop dis small oonderstandin,
Dat to-morrow by ten, do you hear?
You'll pe mit your trunk at de landin;
I'll also be dere-nefer fear!
Und I dinks we shall make your young voman

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Online LibraryCharles Godfrey LelandThe Breitmann Ballads → online text (page 2 of 13)