Hans Breitmann
by Charles G. Leland. 1889

Hans Breitmann in Germany
Frankfort on the Main

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"Sankt Martin war ein frommer Mann
Trank gerne Cerevisiam,
Und hatt er kein Pecuniam
So liess er seinen Tunicam."

(Comment by Herr Schwackenhammer.)

VONCE oopon a dimes in Frankfort der Herr Breitemann exsberiencet an interfal pedween de periot ven he hat gespent de last remiddance he hat become from home, und de arrifal of de succedin wechsel, or bill of exghange - und, in blain derms, was hard up. Derefore he vent to dat goot relation who may pe foundt at den or fifdeen per cent all de worlt ofer, - "mine Onkel," - und poot his tress-goat oop de shpout for den florins. No sooner vas dis done, dan dere coomed an infitation from de English laity in whom he vas so moosh mit lofe in betaken, to geh mit her to a ball-barty. Awful bad vas he veel, und sot apout tree hours mitout sayin nodings, und denn wafin his hand, boorst out mit de vollowin version of dat peaudiful lied by Wilhelm Caspary:-

"Mein Frack ist im Pfand-haus."

Mine tress-goat is shpouted, mine tress-goat aint hier,
Vhile you in your ball-ropes go splurgin, mein tear!
To barties mit you I'm infitet you know,
Boot my pest coat ish shpouted - mine poots are no go.
To hell mit mine Onkel - dat rasgally knafe!
Dis pledgin und pawnin has mate me his slafe!
Ven I dink of his sign-bost, den dree dimes I bawl,
Vhile mine plack pants hang lonely und dark on de wall.

Goot night to dee fine lofe - so lofely und rich,
Mein tress-goat ish shpouted - gon-fount efery stitch!
I dinks dat olt Satan troo all mine affairs,
Lofe, business, und fun, has peen sewin his tares.
My tress-goat ish shpouted - mine tress-goat aint here,
While you in your glorie go shinin, mein tear,
Und de luck of der teufel ish loose ofer all,
Vhile my black pants hang lonely und dark on de wall.

Dis four-goin song vas over-set by der Hans Breitmann from de German of Wilhelm Caspary, whose lyric vas a barody on a dranslation made indo Deutsch by Freiligrath from anoder boem py Sir Waldherr Scott, vitch Sir Waldherr vas kit de idée of from an oldt Scottish ballad vitch pegin mit de vorts-

"My hearts in de Hielands, mein hearts ish nae hier,
Mein hearts in de Hielands, in wilden revier;
It hoonts for de shtag, und id hunts for de reh,
Mein hearts ist im Hochland wo immer ich geh."

Dis is de original Scotch, as goot as I can mineself rememper it. Ven I vas dell der Herr Karl Blind pout dis intercommixture of perplexified dransitions from Scotch to English, and dence into German, and dereafter into a barody, vitch vas be done ofer again indo Herr Breitmann's own slanguage, he sait it vas a Rattenkönig - a phrase too familiar to mine readers to require any wider complication.[66]

[66] Rattenkönig, or Rat-king, is a term applied in German to a droll mixture of incidents or details. It is derived from an extraordinary story of twelve rats, with one (their king) in the centre, which were found in a nest with their tails grown together, firmly as the ligament which connects the Siamese Twins.

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