Schnee (schnee) wrote,

Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland

Although Wikipedia claims it's (near) universally taught in schools, I never actually encountered the poem Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland until today. Well, almost — I instantly recognized it as the poem that was parodied in a Disney story where Donald, as a wandering minstrel in the middle, performs a song about Dagobert and Gitta Gans: "Herr Dago auf Dago im Dagoland, eine Dame in seinem Garten stand..."

The original is quite beautiful though, doubly so since it's apparently based on true events. Here's an English version by an unknown (to me) translator:

Squire von Ribbeck at Ribbeck in Havelland,
In his garden there stood a pear tree grand,
And when autumn came round, the golden tide,
And pears were glowing far and wide,
Squire von Ribbeck, when noon rang out, would first
Fill both his pockets full to burst.
And then, when a boy in his clogs came there,
He called: ”My lad, do you want a pear?”
He would hail a girl that chanced to pass:
“Come over, I have a pear, little lass!”

Many years thus went, till the noble and high
Squire von Ribbeck at Ribbeck came to die.
He felt his end. It was autumntide.
Again pears were smiling far and wide.
“I depart now this life” von Ribbeck said.
I wish that a pear in my grave be laid”.
And after three days, from this mansard roofed hall,
Squire von Ribbeck was carried out, `neath a pall.
All farmers and cottagers, solemn-faced,
Sang: ”Jesus, in Thee my trust is placed”,
And the children lamented, with hearts like lead:
“Who`ll give us a pear, now that he is dead?”

So the children lamented. It was unkind,
As they did not know old Ribbeck´s mind.
True, the new one is skimping niggardly,
Keeps park and pears tree `neath lock and key;
But having forebodings, the older one,
And full of distrust for his proper son,
Knew well what he did, when the order he gave,
That a pear should be laid in his grave.

From the silent dwelling, after three years,
The tip of a pear tree seedling appears.
And year after year, the seasons go round,
Long since a pear tree is shading the mound.
And in the golden autumntide
Again it is glowing far and wide.
When a boy is crossing the churchyard there,
The tree is whispering: Want a pear?”
And when a girl chances to pass,
It whispers: “Come here for a pear, little lass.”

Thus blessings still dispenses the hand
Of von Ribbeck at Ribbeck in Havelland.

Isn't that a beautiful sentiment?

Tags: poems

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