Charles Godfrey Leland

(15 August 1824 - 20 March 1903 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Breitmann In Forty-Eight - Poem by Charles Godfrey Leland

DERE woned once a studente,
All in der Stadt Paris,
Whom jeder der ihn kennte,
Der rowdy Breitmann hiess.
He roosted in de rue La Harpe,
Im Luxembourg Hotel,
'Twas shoost in anno '48,
Dat all dese dings pefel.

Boot he who vouldt go hoontin now
To find dat rue La Harpe,
Moost hafe oongommon shpecdagles,
Und look darnation sharp.
For der Kaisar und his Hausmann
Mit hauses made so vree,
Dere roon shoost now a Bouleverse
Vhere dis shdreet used to pe.

In dis Hotel de Luxembourg,
A vild oldt shdory say,
A shtudent vonce pring home a dame,
Und on de nexter day,
He pooled a ribbon from her neck-
Off fell de lady's het;
She'd trafelled from de guillotine,
Und valked de city - deadt.

Boot Breitmann nefer cared himself
If dis vas falsch or drue,
I kess he hat mit lifin gals
Pout quite enough to do.
Und Februar vas gomin,
Ganz revolutionnaire,
Und vhere der Teufel had vork on hand,
Der Hans vas alvays dere.

Und darker grew de beople's brows,
No Banquet could dey raise,
So dey shtood und shvore at gorners,
Or dey singed de Marseillaise.
Und here und dere a crashin sound
Like forcin shutters ran,
Und boorstin gun-schmidts' vindows in
Hard vorked der Breitemann.

He helped to howl Les Girondins,
To cheer de beople's hearts;
He maket dem bild parricades
Mit garriages und garts.
Vhen a bretty maiden sendinel
Vonce ask de countersign,
He gafe das kind a rousin giss,
Gott hute dir und dein!

Und wilder vent de pattle,
France spread her oriflamme,
Und deeper roared de sturm bell,
De bell of Notre Dame;
Und he who nefer heard it,
O'er shots und cries of fear,
Loud booming like a dragon's roar,
Has someding yet to hear.

Und in de Fauborg Sainte Antoine
Dere comed a fusillade,
Und dyin groans und fallin dead
Vere roundt dat parricade,
But der song of Revolution
From a tousand voices round,
Made a fearful opera gorus
To de deat' gries on de ground.

Und all around dose parricades
Dey raise der teufel dere;
Somedimes dey vork mit pig-axes,
Und somedimes mit gewehr.
Dey maket prifate houses
Gife all deir arms afay,
Und denn oopon de panels
Dey writet Armes donnees.

Und ve saw mid roarin vollies,
Shtreaked like banded settin suns,
Two regiments coome ofer,
Und telifer oop deir guns.
Hei! - how de deers vere roonin:
Hei! - how dey gryed hurrahs!
For dey saw de vight vas ofer,
Und dey know dey gained deir cause.

Dus spoke deir hearts outboorstin,
In battle by de blade,
From sun to sun mit roarin gun
Und donnerin parricade.
In vain pefore de depudies
De princes tremblin stood,
Vot comes in France too late a day
Cooms shoost in dime for blood.

Vhen de Tuileries vas daken,
Amid de scotterin shot,
Und vlyin stones, und howlin,
Und curses vild und hot,
'Tvas dere Hans clobbed his musket,
Und dere de man vas first
To roosh into de palace,
Ven de toors vere in-geburst.

Some vellers burn de guart-haus,
Some trink des Konigs wein;
Some fill deir hats mit rasbry sham,
Und prandy beeches fein.
Hans Breitmann in de gitchen
Vas shdare like avery ding,
To see vot lots of victual-de-dees
Id dakes to feed a king.

Und oder volk, like plackguarts,
Vent dook de goaches out;
Und burnin dem, dey rolled dem
Afay mit yell und shout.
Der Breitmann in der barlor,
Help writen rapidly,
La liberte pour la Pologne!
Likevise - pour l'Italie!

Den in der Tuileries courtyard
Ten tousand volk come on;
Dey vas gissin und hurrahin
For to dink der king vas gone.
Some vas hollerin und tantzin
Round de blazin oldt caboose;
Vhen Frantschmen kits a goin,
Den dey lets der teufel loose.

Boot von veller set me laughin,
Who roosh madly roun de field;
He hat rop de Cluny Museum,
Und gestohlen speer und schild.
Mit a sblendit royal charger,
Vitch he hat somevhere found,
Like a trunken Don Quixote,
He vent tearin oop und round.

Doun vent de line of Bourbons,
Doun vent de vork of years,
Ash de pillars of deir temple
Ge-crashed like splintered speers;
Und o'er dem rosed a phantom,
Wild, beautiful, und weak,
Vhile millions gry arount her-
Vive! vive la Republique;

Tree days mid shdiflin powder shmoke,
Tree days mid cheers und groans,
Ve fought to guard de parricades,
Or pile dem oop mit shtones.
De hand vitch held de bistol denn,
Or made de crowbar bite,
Das war de same Hans Breitmann's hand
Vitch now dese verses write.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 14, 2010



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