by Therese Albertine Luise von Jacob (1797 - 1870), as Talvj
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Schlimm für die Männer
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Serbian (Српски) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Sprachen Königin und König einstens:
"Was für Arbeit geb' ich unsern Sklaven?" --
"Feines Stickwerk soll'n die Mädchen sticken,
Dünnes Garn von Flachs die Witwen spinnen,
Ungefurchtes Land die Männer graben." --

Sprachen Königin und König wieder:
"Was zum Abendmahl geb' ich den Sklaven?" --
"[Süßen]1 Honigkuchen gib den Mädchen,
Weiße Weizenbrötlein gib den Witwen,
Ungesiebtes Maismehlbrot den Männern."

Sprachen Königin und König wieder:
"Nachts wo sollen liegen unsre Sklaven?" --
"In dem oberen Gemach die Mädchen,
Auf dem weichen Polsterbett die Witwen,
Unter Nesseln unter'm Zaun die Männer."

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Reger: "Süß"


Based on

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):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "A sorry lot for men", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Triste sort pour les hommes", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
A sorry lot for men
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The King and Queen had a discussion once upon a time:
"What sort of work shall I give our slaves?" --
"Fine embroidery shall be done by the young maidens,
Fine thread of flax shall be spun by the widows,
Unplowed land shall be dug by the men."

The King and Queen again had a discussion:
"What shall I give to the slaves for supper?" --
"Sweet honeycakes to the young maidens,
Little white wheat breads to the widows,
Unsifted cornmeal bread to the men."

The King and Queen again had a discussion:
"Where shall our slaves sleep at night?" --
"In the upper rooms the young maidens,
Upon softly padded beds the widows,
Among the nettles under the fence the men."


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2012 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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