To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=17407
15 messages

Lyr Add: Eppelein von Gailingen (Colin Wilkie)

25 Jan 00 - 08:56 AM (#168022)
Subject: Lyr Add: EPPELEIN VON GAILINGEN (Colin Wilkie)
From: Wolfgang

The correct thread title would have been 'Lyrics add: Eppelein von Gailingen' but you might have expected a German song following a German title and not an English song with a German title. Therefore I added the songwriter's name to induce you to open the thread. Colin Wilkie is a singer of traditional and contemporary songs, a singer of shanties (with Shirley Hart), a writer of many modern songs in traditional style, but foremost, from a German point of view, he has introduced English language traditional folk songs into the German radio as a long term host for a radio folk show. Eppelein von Gailingen is the hero of a narrow escape from the gallows in an old German saga describing the seemingly impossible saving leap of his horse over the Nuremberg castle moat. Colin Wilkie thought that that was a stuff for a ballad and since he couldn't find a German ballad he wrote one himself, a modern English ballad based on a more than 700 years old German story. This is my transcription from the mulitple singers and bands CD 'I wish I'd written that song. A tribute to Colin Wilkie'.

EPPELEIN VON GAILINGEN
(Colin Wilkie)

It was on the road to Nuremberg
a mighty battle I did see,
it took above 100 men
to bring a fierce knight down.
They fought throughout the afternoon
'til force of arms it did prevail:
Eppelein von Gailingen
in iron chains was bound.

Eppelein,
will not hang in Nuremberg,
will not dance on the gallows tree
nor pay no hangman's fee.


The soldiers brought him to the town
the Nuremberg judge said: 'You must die.'
He laughed at the right scornfully
and this was his reply:
'You may build your gallows high
to the tower above the castle wall,
Eppelein von Gailingen
he will outlive you all.

The judge he said: 'Your death is near,
tomorrow morning you will hang,
a final wish we'll grant to thee,
before you face the tree.'
'Sit me once upon my horse
that faithfully has carried me,
put the reins into my hands
once more before I die.

They sat him on his faithful mare
and put the reins into his hands,
he dug the heels into her side,
she answered his command.
One leap, she's cleared the castle wall,
like the wind raced through the town,
they heard him laugh as he rode away:
'I always shall be free.'

What are the facts? In the fourteenth century in Germany there were many knights making a living out of robbing rich merchants. They had been participants or descendants from participants of the crusades and had learned nothing but warfare. They saw the merchants and trading as a reason for their growing poverty and became Raubritter (robber knights), for slaying and robbing was all they knew. The robbing of the rich has at all times and in all countries been an activity looked at with much less scorn by the poor than by the rich themselves. So some of the robber knights (as highwaymen in other times) became quite popular though the folktales used to make them much nicer fellows than they actually were. The Eppelein von Gailingen of the folk tale was popular both for his daunting robberies (even in the middle of Nuremberg town) and for his above escape from the gallows. The guides in Nuremberg even today will show you the imprints of his horse's hooves on the castle wall (keep a straight face).

Known facts: Eppelein von Gailingen has actually lived, his date of death, as usual in those times, being better certified than his date of birth. He was a robber knight, especially at the expense of Nuremberg merchants, he has escaped some way or the other from a first sentence to death. Well, and he died in 1381 when he fell into the hands of the people of Nuremberg for the second time. He was broken on the wheel and decapitated. There's a saying in German we most probably owe to the Eppelein story: 'Die Nürnberger hängen keinen, sie hätten ihn denn.' The people of Nuremberg don't hang a man, unless they have him.

This is a song that just has to be (re)translated into German. My brother and I have done this.

EPPELEIN VON GAILINGEN
(Reinhard and Wolfgang Hell)

Auf dem Weg nach Nürnberg
sah ich eine große Schlacht,
da kämpfte gegen einen Mann
eine Übermacht.
Um ihn zu überwältigen,
sie kämpften einen Nachmittag,
bis Eppelein von Gailingen
zuletzt in Ketten lag.

Eppelein
wird noch lang nicht aufgeknüpft,
er tanzt nicht auf dem Schafott,
zahlt nicht des Henker's Lohn.


Sie schleppten ihn auf Nürnberg's Burg,
den Todesspruch fällt' das Gericht,
doch Eppelein, der lachte bloß
dem Richter in's Gesicht:
'Ihr könnt ruhig den Galgenbaum,
so hoch Ihr wollt, in Auftrag geben,
Eppelein von Gailingen
wird Euch noch überleben.'

Der Richter sagte: 'Morgen früh
wirst Du Deinen Henker seh'n,
doch einen allerletzten Wunsch
mag ich Dir zugesteh'n.'
'Setzt mich nochmal auf mein Pferd,
das mich getragen hat als Herrn,
gebt mir die Zügel noch einmal,
dann sterb' ich doppelt gern.'

Und als er auf der Stute saß,
die Zügel hielt und Sporen gab,
da macht' sie einen Riesensprung
von Nürnberg's Burg herab.
Wie der Wind ging's durch die Stadt,
an Wache und am Tor vorbei,
sein Lachen hörten sie von fern:
'Ich bleib' für immer frei.'

Wolfgang


09 Dec 04 - 11:22 PM (#1352590)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: GUEST,Robert Eppelein

Thanks for the information and the ballad...

Have often wondered what was fiction vs fact. Robert


11 Dec 04 - 07:15 AM (#1353868)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: GUEST

Hello Robert, Thanks for showing so much interest in the song. Hello Wolfgang thanks for giving Robert so much background information and, of course, for doing an excellent, singable translation of it with your brother Reinhard. I was first told the story of Eppelein by Susi Kröher, a really beautiful woman ( both physically and personally ) and one I miss greatly; she was married to Hein - the elder ( by about 20 minutes ) half of the " singing twins " from Pirmasens; Hein and Oss. After Susi had related the facts, I searched several German songbooks for a ballad - imagening there'd be dozens, but finding none, decided I'd have to write my own. The recording on the CD: " I Wish I'd Written That Song " is by my wife: Shirley and our son: Vincent ( all three of us have, of course, visited the scene of the story several times. ) It's quite amazing, Wolfgang, that you - as a non-native speaker - managed to get the words down so well. There are a couple of tiny errors, and I hope you won't think me a churlish nit-picker for pointing them out ( after all, I'm in favour of the " Folk Process ", and singers adapting lyrics and tunes , in order to identify better with a song, so haven't " corrected " them all, just where I thought it made more sense.

       2nd verse: line 3: He laughed at THEM....

       2nd verse: line 6: Till THEY tower above.....

       last verse: line 3: He dug HIS heels.....

Once again, thanks for all the interest you've all shown.
All the best
       Colin


11 Dec 04 - 08:24 AM (#1353891)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: John MacKenzie

Nice to hear these things from the pferde's mouth. Hope you are well Colin, it's been too long.
Giok


11 Dec 04 - 02:09 PM (#1354112)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: Dani

Hello Colin! Welcome to Mudcat! My father's name was Wilkie! You don't see the name every day, though there are some in the mountains of North Carolina. I had heard it to be a Scottish name, though my grandfather married a woman from Germany, thus confusing us descendants a little.

Dani


11 Dec 04 - 02:46 PM (#1354133)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: Abby Sale

Hello Dani - Hi. I expect to be back up your way in a month or so.

Especially, hello, Colin. So you've finally online! Everybody does sooner or later. My best to Shirley. If you're not a "member" here, you can't use the PM thingy - my e-mail is AbbySale@yahoo.com.

(BTW, I've never heard Wolfgang speak but he probably writes better English than what I does.)

Good job, as always, Wolfgang. Any exact dates on this one?


11 Dec 04 - 03:04 PM (#1354145)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: Wolfgang

My spoken English is much worse. I read and write English nearly daily, but I speak it about twice a year.

Colin, I do appreciate the corrections, actually. I always try to get as close as I can to the original version. And at least as long as the songwriter is still alive the folk process should be slowed down a bit.

Wolfgang


12 Dec 04 - 05:49 PM (#1354991)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: GUEST

Hello Giok,
I forgive you the " pferde " remark !! Yeah, thanks we're keeping okay.
Hello Dani,
Yes Wilkie is a Scots name ( as, of course, is Colin ) and we are members of Clan MacDonald. I was born in South London but of a Scots/English mix ( when England plays Scotland I can't lose !!! )
Hello Abby,
Well that was a really big surprise for me and Shirl - bin a helluva long time ( 40 odd years ) since the old " Monaco " in the Rue M'sieur Le Prince, days, ain't it ? It's still there, but totally changed. I'll mail you and we must try to bring each other up to date - I'm still in contact with several of our Paris mates.
Finally hello Wolfgang,
Wish my written German was as good as your written English. Thanks again for the translation of " Eppelein "
All the best to all of youse
       Colin


12 Dec 04 - 06:59 PM (#1355067)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: harvey andrews

Greetings my old mate, I hope you are both well and seasons greetings!


13 Dec 04 - 05:25 AM (#1355426)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: John MacKenzie

Colin I seem to remember your being friendly with Derek Serjeant, anyway I myself have just re-found him after too many years. You may know all this already but if you want any details let me know.
Giok


13 Dec 04 - 06:02 AM (#1355444)
Subject: RE: Colin Wilkie: Eppelein von Gailingen
From: GUEST,Colin Wilkie

Hello Harvey,
Blimey, mate, fancy finding each other like this. In't the Net a beautiful thing ? Hope we get ter see yer some time.
Best from me and Shirl
       Colin

PS:Thanks for the information, Giok.


31 Dec 04 - 07:21 AM (#1367963)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Eppelein von Gailingen (Colin Wilkie)
From: GUEST,colin wilkie

Hello Wolfgang & Reinhard,

My son, Vincent, intends to add the lyrics and chords of some of my songs - as a kind of " songbook " - to my homepage:      
                           
                                 http://www.colinwilkie.de
                                 http://design.lichterkettenraucher.de

and we'd very much like to include your German version of " Eppelein " along with my original English words. Would this be okay with you ? We'd be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks

All the best

       Colin


01 Jan 05 - 12:58 PM (#1368784)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Eppelein von Gailingen (Colin Wilkie)
From: Wolfgang

Yes, of course, Colin. I shall be glad to see our translation on your site and I'm sure I can speak for Reinhard as well. I'm only going to tell him later as a pleasant surprise (he doesn't come here; the one German Reinhard sometimes posting here isn't my brother).

Wolfgang


01 Jan 05 - 01:30 PM (#1368803)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Eppelein von Gailingen (Colin Wilkie)
From: Wolfgang

Yes, of course, Colin. I shall be glad to see our translation on your site and I'm sure I can speak for Reinhard as well. I'm only going to tell him later as a pleasant surprise (he doesn't come here; the one German Reinhard sometimes posting here isn't my brother).

Wolfgang


01 Jan 05 - 04:22 PM (#1368925)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Eppelein von Gailingen (Colin Wilkie)
From: GUEST,colin wilkie

Great, Wolfgang,

Thanks a lot. It's still going to take a wee bit time before it's ready to go up - but we're working on it !

All the best for 2005.

       Colin