Breitmann In Paris

Charles Godfrey Leland 1824 (Philadelphia) – 1903 (Florence)

DER teufel's los in Bal Mabille,
Dere's hell-fire in de air,
De fiddlers can't blay noding else
Boot Orphee aux Enfers:
Vot makes de beoples howl mit shoy?
Da capo - Bravo! - bis!!
It's a Deutscher aus Amerika:
Hans Breitmann in Paris.

Dere's silber toughts vot might hafe peen,
Dere's golden deeds vot must:
Der Hans ish come to Frankenland
On one eternal bust.
Der same old rowdy Argonaut
Vot hoont de same oldt vleece,
A hafin all de foon dere ish-
Der Breitmann in Paris.

Mit a gal on eider shoulder
A holdin py his beard,
He tantz de Cancan, sacrament!
Dill all das Volk vas skeered.
Like a roarin hippopatamos,
Mit a kangarunic shoomp,
Dey feared he'd smash de Catacombs,
Each dime der Breitmann bump.

De pretty liddle cocodettes
Lofe efery dings ish new,
'D'ou vient il donc ce grand M'sieu?
O sacre nom de Dieu!'
In fain dey kicks deir veet on high,
And sky like vlyin geese,
Dey can not kick de hat afay
From Breitmann in Paris.

O vhere vas id der Breitmann life?
Oopon de Rond Point gay,
Vot shdreet lie shoost pehind his house?
La rue de Rabelais.
Aroundt de corner Harper's shtands
Vhere Yankee drinks dey mill,
Vhile shdraight ahet, agross de shdreet,
Der lies de Bal Mabille.

Id's all along de Elysees,
Id's oop de Boulevarce,
He's sampled all de weinshops,
Und he's vinked at efery garce.
Dou schveet plack-silken Gabrielle,
O let me learn from dee,
If 'tis in lofe - or absinthe drunks,
Dat dis wild ghost may pe?

Und dou may'st kneel in Notre Dame,
Und veep away dy sin,
Vhile I go vight at Barriere balls,
Oontil mine poots cave in;
Boot if ve pray, or if ve sin-
Vhile nodings ish refuse,
Tis all de same in Paris here,
So long ash l'on s'amuse.

O life, mein dear, at pest or vorst,
Ish boot a vancy ball,
Its cratest shoy a vild gallop,
Vhere madness goferns all.
Und should dey toorn ids gas-light off,
Und nefer leafe a shbark,
Sdill I'd find my vay to Heafen - or-
Dy lips, lofe, in de dark.

O crown your het mit roses, lofe!
O keep a liddel sprung!
Oonendless wisdom ish but dis:
To go it vhile you're yung!
Und Age vas nefer coom to him,
To him Spring plooms afresh,
Who finds a livin' spirit in
Der Teufel und der Flesh.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Charles Godfrey Leland

Charles Godfrey Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe. Leland worked in journalism, travelled extensively, and became interested in folklore and folk linguistics. He published books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions. He worked in a wide variety of trades, achieved recognition as the author of the comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads, and fought in two conflicts. He wrote Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, which became a primary source text for Neopaganism half a century later. more…

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