Breitmann As A Bummer

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DER SHENERAL SHERMAN holts oop on his coorse,
He shtops at de gross-road und reins in his horse.
"Dere's a ford on de rifer dis day we moost dake,
Or elshe de grand army in bieces shall preak!"
Vhen shoost ash dis vord from his lips had gone bast,
There coomed a young orterly gallopin' fast,
Who gry mit amazement: "Herr Shen'ral! Goot Lord!
Dat Bummer der Breitmann ish holdin' der ford!"

Der Shen'ral he ootered no hymn und no psalm,
But opened his lips und he priefly say "D--n!
Dere moost hafe been viskey on dat side der rifer;
To get it dose shaps vould set hell in a shiver;
But now dat dey hold it, ride quick to deir aid:
Ho, Sickles! move promp'ly, send down a prigade!
Dat Dootchman moost vork mighty hard mit his sword
If againsd a whole army he holds to de ford."

Dey spoored on, dey hoory'd on, gallopin' shtraight,
But for Breitmann help coomed shoost a liddle too late,
For as de Lauwine goes smash mit her pound,
So on to de Bummers de repels coom down:
Heinrich von Schinkenstein's tead in de road,
Dieterich Hinkelbein's flat as a toad;
Und Sepperl - Tyroler - shpoke nefer a vord,
But shoost "Mutter Gottes!" und died in de ford.

Itsch'l of Innspruck ish drilled droo de hair,
Einer aus Boblingen - he too vash dere-
Karli of Karlisruh's shot near de fence
(His horse vash o'erloadet mit toorkies und hens),
Und dough he like a ravin' mad cannibal fought
Yet der Breitmann - der capt'n - der hero vash caught;
Und de last dings ve saw, he vas tied mit a cord,
For de repels had goppled him oop at de ford.

Dey shtripped off his goat und skyugled his poots
Dey dressed him mit rags of a repel recruits;
But von gray-haared oldt veller shmiled crimly und bet
Dat Breitmann vouldt be a pad egg for dem yet.
"He has more on his pipe as dem vellers allows,
He has cardts yet in hand und das Spiel ist nicht aus,
Dey'll find dat dey took in der Teufel to board,
De day dey pooled Breitmann vell ofer de ford."

In de Bowery each beer-haus mit crape vas oopdone,
Vhen dey read in de papers dat Breitmann vas gone;
Und de Dootch all cot troonk oopon lager und wein,
At the great Trauer-fest of de Turner Verein.
Dere vas wein - en mit weinen ven beoplesh did dink
Dat Sherman's great Sharman cood nefer more trink.
Und in Villiam Shtreet veepin' und vailen' vas hoor'd,
Pecause der Hans Breitmann vas lost at de ford.


In dulce jubilo now ve all sings,
A-vaifin' de panners like efery dings.
De preeze droo de bine-trees ish cooler und salt,
Und der Shen'ral is merry venefer ve halt;
Loosty und merry he schmells at de preeze,
Lustig und heiter he looks droo de drees,
Lustig und heiter ash vell he may pe,
For Sherman, at last has marched down to the sea.

Dere's a gry from de guart - dere's a clotter und dramp,
Vhen dat fery same orterly rides droo de camp
Who report on de ford. Dere ish droples and awe
In de face of de youf' apout somedings he saw;
Und he shpeak me in Fraentsch, like he always do: "Look!
Sagre pleu! Fentre Tieu! - dere ish Breitmann - his spook!
He ish goming dis vay! Nom de Garce! can it pe
Dat de spooks of de tead men coom down to de sea!"

Und he looks, und ve sees, und ve tremples mit tread,
For risin' all swart on de efenin' red
Vas Johannes - der Breitmann - der war es, bei Gott!
Coom riding' to oos-vard, right shtraight to de shpot!
All mouse-still ve shtood, yet mit oop-shoompin' hearts,
For he look shoost so pig as de shiant of de Hartz;
Und I heard de Sout Deutschers say "Ave Morie!
Braise Gott all goot shpirids py land und by sea!"

Boot Itzig of Frankfort he lift oop his nose,
Und be-mark dat de shpook hat peen changin' his clothes,
For he seemed like an Generalissimus drest
In a vlamin' new coat und magnificent vest.
Six bistols beschlagen mit silber he vore,
Und a cold mounded swordt like a Kaisar he bore,
Und ve dinks dat de ghosdt - or votever he pe-
Moost hafe proken some panks on his vay to de sea.

"Id is he!""Und er lebt noch!" he lifes ve all say:
"Der Breitmann - Oldt Breitmann! - Hans Breitmann! Herr Je!"
Und ve roosh to emprace him, und shtill more ve find
Dat vherefer he'd peen, he'd left noding pehine.
In bofe of his poots dere vas porte-moneys crammed,
Mit creen-packs stoof full all his haversack jammed,
In his bockets cold dollars vere shinglin' deir doons
Mit dwo doozen votches und four dozen shpoons,
Und dwo silber tea-pods for makin' his dea,
Der ghosdt hafe pring mit him, en route to de sea.

Mit goot sweed-botatoes, und doorkies, und rice,
Ve makes him a sooper of efery dings nice.
Und de bummers hoont roundt apout, alle wie ein,
Dill dey findt a plantaschion mit parrels of wein.
Den t'vas "Here's to you, Breitmann! Alt Schwed" - bist zuruck?
Vot teufels you makes since dis fourteen nights veek?"
Und ve holds von shtupendous and derriple shpree
For shoy dat der Breitmann has got to de sea.

But in fain tid we ashk vhere der Breitmann hat peen,
Vot he tid; vot he pass droo - or vot he might seen?
Vhere he kits his vine horse, or who gafe him dem woons,
Und how Brovidence plessed him mit tea-pods und shpoons?
For to all of dem queeries he only reblies,
"If you dells me no quesdions, I ashks you no lies!"
So 'twas glear dat some derriple mysh'dry moost pe
Vhere he kits all dat ploonder he prings to de sea.

Dere ish bapers in Richmond dells derriple lies
How Sherman's grand armee hafe raise deir sooplies:
For ve readt in brindt dat der Sheneral Grant
Say de bummers hafe only shoost take vat dey vant.
But 'tis vhispered dat vhile a refolfer'll go round
Der BREITMANN vill nefer a peggin' be found;
Or shtarvin' ash brisner - by doonder! - not he,
Vhile der Teufel could help him to ged to de sea.

© Charles Godfrey Leland