by Eduard Mörike (1804 - 1875)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Wenn meine Mutter hexen könnt
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE FRE ITA
Wenn meine Mutter hexen könnt,
Da müßt sie mit dem Regiment,
Nach Frankreich, überall mit hin,
Und wär die Marketenderin.
Im Lager, wohl um Mitternacht,
Wenn Niemand auf ist als die Wacht,
Und Alles schnarchet, Roß und Mann,
Vor meiner Trommel [säß']1 ich dann:
Die Trommel müßt' eine Schüssel sein,
Ein warmes Sauerkraut darein,
Die Schlegel Messer und Gabel,
Eine lange Wurst mein [Sabel]2,
Mein Tschako wär' ein Humpen gut,
Den [füll']3 ich mit Burgunderblut.
Und weil es mir an Lichte fehlt,
Da scheint der Mond in mein Gezelt;
Scheint er auch auf [Franzö'sch]4 herein,
Mir fällt doch meine Liebste ein:
Ach weh! Jetzt hat der Spaß ein End!
- Wenn [nur]5 meine Mutter hexen könnt!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Riesenfeld: "sass"
2 Riesenfeld: "Säbel"
3 Riesenfeld: "füllt"
4 Riesenfeld: "Französisch"
5 omitted by Riesenfeld


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "The drummer boy", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Mabel Dunning)
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le tambour", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Stéphane Goldet) (Pierre de Rosamel) , "Le tambour", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "Il Tamburino", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 116

The drummer boy
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
If my mother could work magic
she would go off with the regiment
to France. She would go everywhere with them
and be a camp follower selling supplies.
In camp at midnight
when there is noone up except the watch
and everybody is snoring, horses and men,
that's when I would sit in front of my drum.
The drum would turn into a bowl
with warm sauerkraut in it
The drumsticks, knife and fork,
a long sausage - that was my sabre.
My shako would be a good mug
that I would fill with burgundy's blood.
And because I would not have a light
the moon would shine into my tent.
Even if it was shining in French
I would still be reminded of my love.
Oh dear! That's brought the fun to an end.
If only my mother could work magic.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Malcolm Wren, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2006-04-07
Line count: 20
Word count: 142