Breitmann’s Last Ballads - Cobus Hagelstein

A poem by Charles G. Leland

Ich bin ein Deutscher,
und mein name is Cobus Hagelstein,
I coom from Cincinnàti,
and I life peyond der Rhein;
Und I dells you all a shdory
dot makes me mad ash blitz,
Pout how a Yankee gompany
vas shvindle me to fits.

I heardt apout dis gompany,
und vished to see dot same,
Das Lebensfeuerversicherunggesellschaft
vos ids name;
Dot is de name in Sherman
in English it will say
Dot it insures your life mit fire,
ven you de money pay.

Now, I hod a liddle house-line
vhere I life so shtill ash mice,
Und yoost drei tausand dollar
vos dot little pilding’s brice;
I vos always yoost so happy
ash ein Kaisar in de land
Dill at last I kit in drople,
for mein haus vas abgebrannt.

Den I goes undo dot gompany
und dells em right afay
(Das Lebensfeuerversicherunggesellschaft),
und I say,
“At last de youngest day ist coom
for you to plank de cash,
And you moost bay me monies,
for mine haus is purned to ash.”

Den de segredary answered,
“All dis is fery drue,
Boot you know ve have de option
to pild your house anew;
Dere ist a lot of beoples
vot burns deir hauser doun,
Den coom to kit de money pack
all over in de toun.”

I look indo de bapers
und I find it ash he say,
Das Lebensfeuerversicherunggesellschaft
need not bay;
So I dells em all to go ahet
und pild anoder shdore,
Und dey make me von in Yankee shdyle
more petter ash pefore.

Den I met der segredary
dereafter on a day,
Of Das Lebensfeuerversicherunggesellschaft,
und he say,
“You’ve found oos vellers honoraple
und honest in our line,
Vy tont you go insure
de life of Madame Hagelstein?”

I poots mine dum oopon mine nose,
and vinks him mit mine eye,
Und says I cooms to do it
ven de océan runs dry,
Ven gooses turn to ganders,
und de bigs kits shanged to shvine;
Oh, den I makes insure de life
of Madame Hagelstein.

“I haf dried you on insurance,
ash you know, yust vonce pefore,
Und ven mein haus vas abgebrannt
you pild anoder shdore;
Id’s drue you pild it goot enough,
boot I dell you allaweil,
I vas liket id moosh petter
if it vas in Sharman shdyle.

“Now, if I goes insure my wife
anoder dime mit you
Das Lebensfeuerversicherunggesellschaft,
I knows vot it would do,
If from dis vorldt Frau Hagelstein
should rise to Himmel life,
Inshtead of paying gelt you’d kit
for me a Yankee vife!”

I poots mine dum pelow mine eye,
und vinks him merrily,
Und say, “Go find soom Deutscherman
dot is more creen ash me.
Dere’s blendy of dem creen enough,
I know, peyond der Rhein,
But none among dem wears de name
of Cobus Hagelstein.”

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