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ADD: Low German songs sung in the Worldwide sing


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GUEST,Susanne (skw) 15 Jun 20 - 08:29 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jun 20 - 08:48 PM
Snuffy 16 Jun 20 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Susanne (skw) 22 Jun 20 - 03:54 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Low German songs sung during the Worldwi
From: GUEST,Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 Jun 20 - 08:29 PM

... Worldwide Mudcat Singaround - forgot there is a limit to thread titles.

The song I sang this week was

(by Klaus Groth)

Lütt Matten de Has’
De mak sik en Spaß,
He weer bi’t Studeern
Dat Danzen to lehrn,
Un danz ganz alleen
Op de achtersten Been.

Keem Reinke de Voß
Un dach: dat's en Kost!
Un seggt: Lüttje Matten,
So flink op de Padden?
Un danzst hier alleen
Op de achtersten Been?

Kumm, lat uns tosam!
Ik kann as de Dam!
De Krei de speelt Fidel,
Denn geit dat candidel,
Denn geit dat mal schön
Op de achtersten Been!

Lütt Matten gev Pot.
De Voß beet em dot
Un sett sik in Schatten,
Verspies’ den lütt Matten:
Un de Krei, de kreeg een
Vun de achtersten Been.

Rough translation:

Little Matty the hare
Amused himself there
Went in for a chance
To study the dance
And he danced all alone
On his hind legs alone

Bold Reynard came by
And thought, What a bite!
And said, Little Matty
Your legs they move deftly
And you dance all alone
On your hind legs alone

Why not dance with me?
I can be your lady
The crow plays the fiddle
You'll find it a diddle
And you'll not dance alone
On your hind legs alone

Matty readily agreed
Reynard killed him deid
He retired to the bushes
To devour Matty's carcass
And the crow got the right
Of the hind legs for a bite

This 19th-century song is obviously a fable and should be applicable to human life. The application intended by the poet is not obvious, though: He once explained that Matty stood for his home state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany (before the 1871 unification), which had at that time been (sort of) defended against Denmark by Prussia (Reynard) and Austria (the crow), then incorporated into Prussia against its will, and Austria was fobbed off with some morsels of territory.

If that seems far-fetched, think of the British Foreign Secretary (Lord Palmerston?) who is supposed to have said "There are only three people who understand the Schleswig-Holstein question - one is dead, the other has gone mad, and I've forgotten what it is about!"

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low German songs sung during the Worldwi
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jun 20 - 08:48 PM

Oh, this is so much fun!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low German songs sung during the Worldwi
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Jun 20 - 04:50 AM

A nice little fable - the same idea as The Spider and The Fly?

It was good to discover that, 50 years after I was at Uni in Kiel, I could still understand almost all of it (before looking at the translation!).

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Low German songs sung during the Worldwi
From: GUEST,Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Jun 20 - 03:54 PM

The one I did two weeks ago:


Ik hebb se nich up de Scholen gebrocht,
ik hebb nich eenmaal over se gelacht,
se gahnt nich spelen up de Straten.
Ik hebb se up de wilde See gesandt,      
ehren levesten Vader to söken.

Dat eene, dat starv den bitteren Dood,      
dat anner, dat starv van Hunger so groot,      
dat drüdde, dat worde gehangen.      
Dat veerde bleev up de wilde See dood,      
dat fievde flot achter dem Lande.

Wann se woll up den Karkhoff kwamm,      
se reep Gott, ehren himmlischen Vader, an      
un bedet all mit Fliete,      
dat ehr Gott wolde de Sünde vergeven      
un halen ehr in sien Rieke.

Rough translation:

I didn't send them to school
I never even laughed about them
They couldn't play in the streets
I sent them upon the raging main
to go looking for their dearest father

One of them died a bitter death
Another died of hunger so great
The third died on the gallows high
The fourth died on the raging main
The fifth had to flee the country

And when she came to the churchyard
she cried to the Father up in Heaven
and prayed with all her might
that he would forgive her sins
and take her into His realm

It's probably 15th century, from the Westphalian area (roughly!). More background info for those who have a bit of German can be found here:

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