Johann Peter Hebel tr. Brian Cole
Alemannic dialect of Upper Rhine

(...) 'Sisch wohr, Her Jäck, i ha kei eigene Baum,
i ha kei Huus, i ha kei Schof im Stal,
kei Pflueg im Feld, kei Immestand im Hof,
kei Chatz, kei Hüenli, mengmol au kei Geld.
'S macht nüt. ' S isch doch im ganze Dorf kei Buur
so rich as ich. Der wiisset wie me's macht.
Me meint, me heigs. So meini au, i heigs
im süesse Wahn, and wo ne Bäumli blüeiht,
's isch mi, and wo ne Feld voll Ähri schwankt,
's isch au mi; wo ne Säuli Eichle frisst,
es frisst sie us mim Wald.

So bin i rich. Doch richer bin i no
im Heuet, in der Erndt, im frohe Herbst.
I sag: Jez chömmet Lüt, wer will und mag,
und heuet, schnidet, hauet Trübli ab!
I ha mi Freud an allem gha, mi Herz
an alle Düften, aller Schöni g'labt.
Was übrig isch, isch euer. Tragets heim (...)

It's true, Mr. Jake, I have no tree of my own,
I have no house, I have no sheep in the fold,
no plough in the field, no beehive in the yard,
no cat, no hen, and sometimes no cash either.
It doesn't matter. No peasant in all the village
is as rich as I. You know just how it's done.
You pretend you have it. So I pretend I have it
in sweet delusion, and where a little tree blooms
it's mine, and where a field waves full of corn,
that's mine too; wherever a pig eats acorns
it eats them in my woods.

So I am rich. But I am even richer
when the hay is ripe for harvest, in happy autumn.
I say: Come on now, everyone who will,
and mow and reap and pick the ripened grapes!
I have had my pleasure in all of this, refreshed
my heart with all the scents and all the beauty.
What now remains is yours. Just take it home (...)

Trans. Copyright © Brian Cole 2007

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