by Wilhelm Häring (1798 - 1871), as Willibald Alexis
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Fridericus Rex
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Fridericus Rex, unser König und Herr,
Der rief seine Soldaten allesammt ins Gewehr,
Zweihundert Bataillons und an die tausend Schwadronen,
Und jeder Grenadier kriegt sechzig Patronen.

"Ihr verfluchten Kerls, sprach seine Majestät,
"Daß jeder in der Bataille seinen Mann mir steht! 
Sie gönnen mir nicht Schlesien und die Grafschaft Glatz
Und die hundert Millionen in meinem Schatz.

"Die Kaiß'rin hat sich mit dem Franzoßen alliirt,
Und das römische Reich gegen mich revoltirt,
Die Russen seind gefallen in Preußen ein.
Auf, laßt uns sie zeigen, daß wir brave Landskinder sein.

"Meine Generale Schwerin und Feldmarschall von Keith,
Und der Generalmajor von Ziethen seind allemal bereit.
Kotz Mohren, Blitz und Kreuz-Element,
Wer den Fritz und seine Soldaten noch nicht kennt."

"Nun adjö Lowise, wisch ab das Gesicht, 
Eine jede Kugel die trifft ja nicht.
Denn träfe jede Kugel apart ihren Mann,
Wo kriegten die Könige ihre Soldaten dann!

"Die Musketenkugel macht ein kleines Loch,
Die Kanonenkugel ein weit größeres noch; 
Die Kugeln sind Alle von Eisen und Blei,
Und manche Kugel geht manchem vorbei.

"Unsre Artillerie hat ein vortrefflich Kaliber, 
Und von den Preußen geht keiner nicht zum Feinde nicht über,
Die Schweden, die haben verflucht schlechtes Geld,
Wer weiß, ob der Oestreicher besseres hält.

"Mit Pomade bezahlt den Franzosen sein König,
Wir kriegen's alle Woche bei Heller und Pfennig.
Kotz Mohren, Blitz und [Kreuz-Sackerment]1,
Wer kriegt so prompt wie der Preuße sein Traktament.

"Fridericus mein König, den der Lorbeerkranz ziert,
Ach hättst du nur öfters zu plündern permittirt,
Fridericus Rex, mein König und Held,
Wir schlügen den Teufel für dich aus der Welt!"

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Wilhelm Haering/Willibald Alexis, Balladen von Willibald Alexis, Berlin: Ferdinand Dümmler, 1836, pages 101-103. Note: we have corrected a typo in stanza 2, line 3 ("Glaz").

1 Loewe: "Kreuz-Sapperment"

Authorship

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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "King Frederick [II]", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Bertram Kottmann , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 262

King Frederick [II]
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Frederick the Second, our King and Overlord,
He called his soldiers all to arms,
Two hundred battalions and close to a thousand squadrons,
And every grenadier gets sixty cartridges.

"You cursed lads," his Majesty said,
"See to it that everyone stands his ground in the battle!
They begrudge me Silesia and the Dukedom of Kladsko,
And the hundred million in my treasury.

"The Empress has allied herself with the French,
And the Roman Empire has risen up against me,
The Russians have invaded Prussia.
Arise, let us show them that we are valiant citizens.

"My generals Schwerin and the field marshal von Keith,
And the major general von Ziethen are all ready.
Assorted curses upon those
Who do not know yet know Fritz and his soliders.”

"Now adieu, Louise, dry your face,
Not every bullet hits its mark.
For if every bullet would hit its man,
Where would the kings then get their soldiers!

"The musket ball makes a little hole,
The cannonball a much greater one yet;
The bullets are all of iron and lead,
And many a bullet goes past many a man.

"Our artillery has a splendid calibre of guns,
And among the Prussians, not one would defect to the enemy.
The Swedes have dashed bad money,
Who knows if the Austrians have better.

"The French are paid with pomade by their king,
We get our pay every week down to the last penny.
Assorted curses,
Who gets his rations as promptly as a Prussian!

"Frederick the Second, my king, who wears the laurels so well,
Ah, if you had only more often permitted us to plunder,
Frederick the Second, my king and hero,
We would beat the devil out of the world for you!"

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 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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This text was added to the website: 2020-06-13
Line count: 36
Word count: 288