Hans Breitmann
by Charles G. Leland. 1889

The First Edition of Breitmann
Showing How and Why it was that it never appeared

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"Uns ist in alten Maeren
wunders viel geseit
Von Helden lobebaeren,
von grosser Arebeit.
Von Festen und Hochzeiten,
von Weinen und Klagen,
Von kuehnen Recken Streiten,
möht Ihr nun Wunder hören sagen."
- Der Nibelungen Lied.

DO oos, in anciend shdory,
Crate voonders ish peen told
Of lapors fool of glory,
Of heroes bluff und bold;
Of high oldt times a-kitin,
Of howlin und of tears,
Of kissin and of vightin,
All dis we likes to hears.

Dere growed once dimes in Schwaben,
Since fifty years pegan,
An shild of decend elders,
His name Hans Breitemann.
De gross adfentures dat he had,
If you will only look,
Ish all bescribed so truly
In dis fore-lyin book.

Und allaweil dese lieder
Vere goin troo his het,
De writer lay von Sonntay
a-shleepin in his bett;
Vhen, lo! a yellow bigeon
Coom to him in a dream,
De same dat Mr. Barnum
Vonce had in his Muséum.

Und dus out-shprach de bigeon:
"If you should brint de songs
Or oder dings of Breitmann
Vhich to dem on-belongs,
Dey will tread de road of Sturm and Drang,
Die wile es möhte leben,[75]
Und be mis-geborn in pattle-
To dis fate ish it ergeben."

Und dus rebly de dreamer:
"If on de ice it shlip,
Denn led id dake ids shanses,
Rip Sam, und let 'er rip!
Dou say'st id vill pe sturmy:
Vot sturmy ish, ish crand,
Crates heroes ish de beoples
In Uncle Samuel's land.

"Du bist ein rechter Gelbschnabel,[76]
O golden bigeon mine,
Und I'll fighdt id on dis summer,
If id dakes me all dis line.
Full liddle ish de discount,
Oopon de Yankee peeps."
"Go to hell!" exglaim de bigeon;
Foreby vas all mine shleeps.

Dere vent to Sout Carolina
A shentleman who dinked,[77]
Dat te pallads of der Breitmann
Should papered pe und inked.
Und dat he vouldt fixed de brintin
Before de writer know:
Dis make to many a brinter,
Fool many a bitter woe.

All in de down of Charleston,
A druckerei he found,
Where dey cut de copy into takes
Und sorted it around.
Und all vas goot peginnen,
For no man heeded mooch.
Dat half de jours vas Mericans
Und half of dem vas Dutch.

Und vorser shtill, anoder half
Had vorn de Federal plue,
Vhile de anti-half in Davis grey
Had peen Confeterates true.
Great Himmel! vot a shindy
Vas shdarted in de crowd,
Vhen some von read Hans Breitmann,
His Barty all aloud!

Und von goot-nadured Yankee,
He schwear id vos a shame,
To dell soosh lies on Dutchmen,
Und make of dem a game.
Boot dis make mad Fritz Luder,
Und he schwear dis treat of Hans,
Vos shoost so goot a barty
Ash any oder man's.

Und dat nodings vas so looscious
In all dis eartly shpeer,
Ash a quart mug fool of sauer-kraut,
Mit a plate of lager-bier.
Dat de Yankee might pe tam mit himself,
For he, der Fritz, hafe peen,
In many soosh a barty
Und all dose dings hafe seen.

All mad oopsproong de Yankee,
Mit all his passion ripe;
Und vired at Fritz mit de shootin-shtick,
Vheremit he vas fixin type.
It hit him on de occupit,
Und laid him on de floor;
For many a long day afder
I ween his het was sore.

Dis roused Piet Weiser der Pfaelzer,
Who vas quick to act und dink;
He helt in hand a roller
Vheremit he vas rollin ink.
Und he dake his broof py shtrikin
Der Merican top of his het,
Und make soosh a vine impression,
Dat he left de veller for deat.

Allaweil dese dings oonfolded,
Dere vas rows of anoder kind,
Und drople in de wigwam
Enough to trife dem plind.
Und a crate six-vooted Soudern man
Vot hafe vorked on a Refiew,
Shvear he hope to Gott he mighd pie de forms
If de Breitmann's book warn't true.

For de Sout' vas ploundered derriple,
Und in dat darksome hour
He hafe lossed a yallow-pine maiden,
Of all de land de vlower.
Bright gold doublones a hoondered
For her he'd gladly bay
Ash soon ash a thrip for a ginger-cake,
Und deem it cheap dat day.

To him antworded a Yorker
Who shoomp den dimes de boun-ti-ee:
(De only dings he lossed in de war
Was a sense of broperty.)
Says he, "Votefer you hafe dropped
Some oder shap hafe get,
Und de yallow-pine liked him petter ash you,
On dat it is safe to bet!"

Dead pale pecame dat Soudern brave,
He tidn't so moosh as yell,
Boot he drop right on to de Yorker,
Und mit von lick bust his shell.
Denn out he flashed his pig-sticker,
Und mit looks of drementous gloom,
Rooshed vildly in de pattle
Dat vas ragin round de room.

Boot in angulo, in de corner-
Anoder quarrel vas grow
'Twix a Boston shap mit a Londoner;
Und de row ish gekommen so:
De Yankee say dat de H-u-mor
Of soosh writin vas less dan small,
Dough it maket de beoples laughen,
Boot dat vas only all.

Denn a Deutscher say, by Donner!
Dat soosh a baradox
Vould leafe no hope for writers
In all Pandora's bänder box.
'Twas like de sayin dat Heine
Hafe no witz in him goot or bad,
Boot he only kept sayin witty dings
To make beoples pelieve he had.

Denn de oder veller be-headed
Dat dere vas not a shbark of foon
In de pad spelt lieds when you lead dem
Into Englisch correctly done:-
Den a Proof Sheet veller respondered,
For he dink de dings vas hard,
"Dat ish shoost like de goot oldt lady
Ash vent to hear Artemus Ward.

"Und say it vas shames de beoples
Vas laugh demselfs most tead
At de boor young veller lecturin,
Vhen he tidn't know vot he said."
Hereauf de Yankee answered,
"Gaul dern it:- Shtop your fuss!"
And all de crowd togeder
Go slap in a grand plug-muss.

De Yankee shlog de Proof Sheet
Soosh an awfool smock on de face,
Dat he shvell right oop like a poonkin
Mit a sense of his tisgrace;
Boot der Deutscher boosted an ink-keg
On dop of de oder's hair:
It vly troo de air like a boomshell - denn-
Mine Gotts! - Vot a sighdt vas dere!

Denn ofer all de shapel
Vierce war vas ragin loose;
Fool many a vighten brinter
Got well ge-gooked his goose.
Fool many a nose mit fisten,
I ween was padly scrouged;
Fool many an eye pright gleamin
Vas ploody out-gegouged.

Dô wart ûfgehouwen,[78]
Dere vas hewin off of pones;
Dô hôrte man darinne
Man heardt soosh treadful croans.
Jach waren dâ die Geste,
De row vas rough and tough,
Genuoge sluogen wunden-
Dere vas plooty wounds enough.

De souls of anciend brinters
From Himmel look down oopon,
Und allowed dat in a chapel
Dere was nefer soosh carryins on.
Dere was Lorenz Coster mit Gutemberg,
Und Scheffer mit der Fust,
Und Sweynheim mit Pannartz trop deers,
Oopon dis teufel's dust.

Dere vas Yankee jours extincted
Who lay upon de vloor,
Dere vas Soudern rebs destructed,
Who vouldt nefer Jeff no more.
Ash deir souls rise oop to Heafen,
Dey heardt de oldt brinters' calls,
Und Gutemberg gifed dem all a kick
Ash he histed dem ofer de walls.

Dat ish de vay dese Ballads
Foorst vere crooshed in ploot and shdorm,
Fool many a day moost bass afay
Pefore dey dook dis form.
De copy flootered o'er de preasts
Of heroes lyin todt,
Dis vas de dire peginnin-
Das war des Breitmann's Noth.

Dis song in Philadelphia
Long dimes ago pegun,
In Paris vas gondinued, und
In Dresden ist full-done.
If any toubt apout de facts,
In nople minds ish grew,
Let dem ashk Carl Benson Bristed,
He knows id all ish drue.

Und now, dese Breitmann shdories
In gebrindt in many a lant,
Sogar in far Australia
Dey're gestohlen und bekannt:-
"Geh hin mein Puch in alle Welt
Steh auss was dir kompt zu!
Man beysse Dich, man reysse Dich
Nur dass man mir nichts thu!

[75] "During its life."

[76] "Thou art a very puppy."

[77] This was the late Charles Astor Bristed of New York, to whom many of these ballads were addressed in letters.

[78] Lines from Gudrun, each of which is freely translated by the lines following it.

[79] "Go forth, my book, through all the world,
Bear what thy fate may be!
They may bite thee, they may tear thee,
So they do no harm to me!"

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