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Tit for tat

Language: English

Have you been catching [of]1 fish, Tom Noddy? 
  Have you snared a weeping hare? 
Have you whistled "No Nunny" and gunned a poor bunny,
  Or blinded a bird of the air? 

Have you trod like a murderer through the green woods,
  Through the dewy deep dingles and glooms,
While every small creature screamed shrill to Dame Nature
  "He comes - and he comes!"? 

Wonder I very much do, Tom Noddy,
  If ever, when [you are a-roam]2,
An Ogre from space will stoop a lean face,
  And lug you home: 

Lug you home over his fence, Tom Noddy,
  Of thorn-sticks nine yards high,
With your bent knees strung round his old iron gun
  And your head a dan-dangling by: 

And hang you up stiff on a hook, Tom Noddy,
  From a stone-cold pantry shelf,
Whence your eyes will glare in an empty stare,
  Till [you're]3 cooked yourself!

Translation(s): FRE GER

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Britten.
2 Britten: "off you roam"
3 Britten: "you are"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Fran├žais) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Un prêté pour un rendu", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Wie du mir, so ich dir", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:40
Line count: 20
Word count: 146

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Wie du mir, so ich dir

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Hast du Fische gefangen, Tomm Noddy1?
Ist in der Falle ein Hase verendet?
Hast gepfiffen "Kein Späßchen" und erschossen ein Häschen,
oder hast du 'nen Vogel geblendet?
Bist wie ein Mörder durch Wälder gestreift,
durch klamme Klammen, klaftertief, düster,
als zu Mutter Natur jedes Tierlein schrie schrill
"Hier kommt er - da ist er!" ?
Ich frag mich, frage mich sehr, Tom Noddy,
ob je, wenn durch Wiese und Wald du streifst,
ein Monster vom All dich bringt grinsend zu Fall,
dich greift und nach Hause schleift:
dich zerrt über seine Umzäunung, Tom Noddy,
eine neun Meter hohe Stachelwehr,
deine Knie geschnürt an den eisernen Lauf
und dein Kopf baumelt hin und her:
dich starr an den Haken hängt, Tom Noddy,
in einer Kammer, steinern und kalt,
wo ins Leere du starrst und auf nichts mehr harrst,
bis man dich selbst brät alsbald.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 "noddy" steht im Englischen für "Dummkopf"


  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2013 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2013-11-09.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:23
Line count: 20
Word count: 143