Breitmann in Battle

A poem by Charles G. Leland


“I dinks I’ll go a vightin’”
outshpoke der Breitemann.
“It’s eighdeen hoonderd fordy-eight
since I kits swordt in hand;
Dese fourdeen years mit Hecker
all roostin’ I haf been,
Boot now I kicks der Teufel oop
and goes for sailin’ in.”

“If you go land out-ridin’,”
said Caspar Pickletongue,
“Foost ding you knows you cooms across
some repels prave and young.
Away down Sout’ in Tixey,
dey’ll split you like a clam”
“For dat,” spoke out der Breitmann,
“I doos not gare one tam!

“Who der Teufel pe’s de repels,
und vhere dey kits deir sass?
If dey make a run on Breitmann
he’ll soon let out de gas;
I’ll shplit dem like kartoffels;
I’ll schlog em on de kop;
I’ll set de plackguarts roonin’ so,
dey don’t know vhere to shtop.”

Und de outshpoke der Breitmann,
mit his schlaeger py his side:
“Forvarts, my pully landsmen!
it’s dime to run and ride;
Vill riden, vill vighten
der Copitain I’ll pe,
It’s sporn und horn und saddle now
all in de Cavallrie!”

Und ash dey rode droo Vinchesder,
so herrlich to be seen,
Dere coomed some repel cavallrie
a riden’ on de creen;
Mit a sassy repel Dootchman
an colonel in gommand,
Says he, “Vot Teufel makes you here
in dis mein Faderland?

“You’re dressed oop like a shentleman
mit your plackguart Yankee crew,
You mudsills and meganics!
Der Teufel put you droo!
Old Yank, you ought to shtay at home
und dake your liddle horn,
Mit some oldt voomans for a noorse”
der Breitmann laugh mit shkorn.

“Und should I trink mein lager beer
und roost mine self to home?
I’fe got too many dings like you
to mash beneat’ my thoom:
In many a fray und fierce foray
dis Dootchman will be feared
Pefore he stops dis vightin’ trade
‘twas dere he grayed his peard.”

“I pools dat peard out py de roots
I gifes him such a dwist
Dill all de plood roons out,
you tamned old Apolitionist!
You creenpacks mit your swordt und vatch,
right ofer you moost shell,
Und den you goes to Libby stright
und after dat to h-ll!”

“Mein creenpacks and mein schlaeger,
I kits ’em in New York,
To gife dem up to creenhorns,
young man, is not de talk;”
De heroes shtopped deir sassin’ here
und grossed deir sabres dwice,
Und de vay dese Deutschers vent to vork
vos von pig ding on ice.

Der younger fetch de older
such a gottallmachty shmack
Der Breitmann dinks he really hears
his skool go shplit and crack;
Der repel shoomps dwelfe paces back,
und so he safe his life:
Der Breitmann says: “I guess dem shoomps,
you learns dem of your vife.”

“If I should learn of vomans
I dinks it vere a shame,
Bei Gott I am a shentleman,
aristograt, and game.
My fader vos anoder
I lose him fery young
Der Teufel take your soul! Coom on!
I’ll split your vaggin’ tongue!”

A Yankee drick der Breitmann dried
dat oldt gray-pearded man
For ash the repel raised his swordt,
beneat’ dat sword he ran.
All round der shlim yoong repels vaist
his arms oldt Breitmann pound,
Und shlinged him down oopon his pack
and laidt him on der ground.

“Who rubs against olt kittle-pots
may keep vhite if he can,
Say vot you dinks of vightin’ now
mit dis oldt shentleman?
Your dime is oop; you got to die,
und I your breest vill pe;
Peliev’st dou in Morál Ideas?
If so, I lets you free.”

“I don’t know nix apout ideas
no more dan ’pout Saint Paul,
Since I’fe peen down in Tixey
I kits no books at all;
I’m greener ash de clofer-grass;
I’m shtupid as a shpoon;
I’m ignoranter ash de nigs
for dey takes de Tribune.

“Mein fader’s name vas Breitmann,
I heard mein mutter say,
She read de bapers dat he died
after she rooned afay;
Dey say he leaf some broperty
berhaps ’tvas all a sell
If I could lay mein hands on it
I likes it mighty vell.”

“Und vas dy fader Breitmann?
Bist du his kit and kin?
Denn know dat ich der Breitmann
dein lieber Vater bin?”
Der Breitmann poolled his hand-shoe off
und shooked him py de hand;
“Ve’ll hafe some trinks on strengt’ of dis
or else may I be tam’d!”

“Oh! fader, how I shlog your kop,”
der younger Breitmann said;
“I’d den dimes sooner had it coom
right down on mein own headt!”
“Oh, never mind dat soon dry oop
I shticks him mit a blaster;
If I had shplit you like a fish,
dat vere an vorse tisasder.”

Dis fight did last all afternoon
wohl to de fesper tide,
Und droo de streets of Vinchesder,
der Breitmann he did ride.
Vot vears der Breitmann on his hat?
De ploom of fictory!
Who’s dat a ridin’ py his side?
“Dis here’s mein son,” says he.

How stately rode der Breitmann oop!
how lordly he kit down!
How glorious from de great pokal
he drink de beer so prown!
But der Younger bick der parrel oop
und schwig him all at one.
“Bei Gott! dat settles all his dings
I know dou art mein son!”

Der one has got a fader;
de oder found a child.
Bofe ride oopon one war-path now
in pattle fierce und vild.
It makes so glad our hearts to hear
dat dey did so succeed
Und damit hat sein Ende

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