Translation by Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898)

The Jew's Daughter
Language: English 
The rain rins doun through Mirry-land toune,
Sae dois it doune the Pa:
Sae dois the lads of Mirry-land toune,
Quhan they play at the ba'.

Than out and cam the Jewis dochtèr,
Said, "Will ye cum in and dine?"
"I winnae cum in, I cannae cum in,
Without my play-feres nine."

Scho powd an apple reid and white
To intice the zong thing in:
Scho powd an apple white and reid,
And that the sweit bairne did win.

And scho has taine out a little pen-knife,
And low down by her gair,
Scho has twin'd the zong thing and his life;
A word he nevir spak mair.

And out and cam the thick thick bluid,
And out and cam the thin;
And out and cam the bonny herts bluid:
Thair was nae life left in.

Scho laid him on a dressing borde,
And drest him like a swine,
And laughing said, "Gae nou and pley
With zour sweit play-feres nine."

Scho rowd him in a cake of lead,
Bade him lie stil and sleip.
Scho cast him in a deip draw-well,
Was fifty fadom deip.

Quhan bells wer rung, and mass was sung,
And every lady went hame:
Than ilka lady had her zong sonne,
Bot Lady Helen had nane.

Scho rowd hir mantil hir about,
And sair sair gan she weip:
And she ran into the Jewis castèl,
Quhan they wer all asleip.

My bonny Sir Hew, my pretty Sir Hew,
I pray thee to me speik.
"O lady, rinn to the deip draw-well,
Gin ze zour sonne wad seik."

Lady Helen ran to the deip draw-well,
And knelt upon her knee:
My bonny Sir Hew, an ze be here,
I pray thee speik to me.

"The lead is wondrous heavy, mither,
The well is wondrous deip,
A keen pen-knife sticks in my hert,
A word I dounae speik.

Gae hame, gae hame, my mither deir,
Fetch me my windling sheet,
And at the back o' Mirry-land toun
Its thair we twa sall meet."

Notes from the published version:

This fragment is founded upon the supposed practice of the Jews in crucifying or otherwise murdering Christian children, out of hatred to the religion of their parents: a practice which hath been always alleged in excuse for the cruelties exercised upon that wretched people, but which probably never happened in a single instance. For, if we consider, on the one hand, the ignorance and superstition of the times when such stories took their rise, the virulent prejudices of the monks who record them, and the eagerness with which they would be catched up by the barbarous populace as a pretence for plunder; on the other hand, the great danger incurred by the perpetrators, and the inadequate motives they could have to excite them to a crime of so much horror; we may reasonably conclude the whole charge to be groundless and malicious.

The following ballad is probably built upon some Italian legend, and bears a great resemblance to the Prioresse's Tale in Chaucer. The poet seems also to have had an eye to the known story of Hugh of Lincoln, a child said to have been murdered by the Jews in the reign of Henry III. The conclusion of this ballad appears to be wanting: what it probably contained may be seen in Chaucer. As for Mirryland Toun, it is probably a corruption of Milan (called by the Dutch Meylandt) Town. [1] The Pa is evidently the river Po, although the Adige, not the Po, runs through Milan.

Printed from a MS. copy sent from Scotland.


1. It is important to note that Mirry-land Toune is a corruption of Merry Lincoln and not, as Percy conjectured, of Mailand (Milan) town. --Editor


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Line count: 52
Word count: 336

Durch Mirryland rinnt der Regen
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Durch Mirryland rinnt der Regen,
Und durch Mirryland rinnt der Po,
Und die Mirryland-Knaben beim Ballspiel
Durchrennen es ebenso.

Ausschaute die Judentochter:
"Komm Knab' und speise mit mir!"
""Nicht ohne meine Gespielen
Tret ich ein bei Dir.""

Sie nahm einen rothen Apfel
In ihre weiße Hand; --
Da brach der rothe Apfel
Des Knaben Widerstand.

Sie hatte ein silbernes Messer,
Das trennte gut und schnitt;
Des Knaben Blut und Leben
Trennte sie heut damit.

Erst floß es roth und dunkel.
Dann floß es dünn und hell,
Zuletzt, da floß sein Herzblut, --
Hin sank er auf die Schwell.

Sie hüllte in Blei den Knaben,
"Schlaf fest!" sie leise rief,
Sie trug ihn an den Ziehbrunn,
War fünfzig Faden tief. --

Nun klingen die Abendglocken,
Und die heilige Mess ist aus.
Die Mütter, raschen Sanges,
Tragen den Segen nach Haus.

Sie denken ihrer Kinder,
Und es lächelt ihr Gesicht;
Sie finden ihre Kinder,
Nur Lady Anna nicht.

Sie leget nicht ab de n Mantel,
Ihr Herz ist bang und schwer,
Sie läuft in die Judenvorstadt, --
Wachte da Keiner mehr.

"O sprich, lieb Wilm, mein Süßer,
Wo Deine Mutter Dich find't?"
""Am Ziehbrunn, Lady Anna!""
Klang eine Stimme im Wind.

Lady Anna lief zum Ziehbrunn,
Sie warf zur Erde sich:
"O Du mein Wilm, mein Süßer,
Nur ein einzig Wörtlein sprich."

""Der Brunn ist tief, lieb Mutter,
Und das Blei ist gar so schwer,
Und ein silbern Messer im Herzen, --
Ich kann nicht sprechen mehr.

""Geh heim, geh heim, lieb Mutter,
Kann länger nicht bei Dir stehn,
Über Mirryland weit über
Will ich Dich wiedersehn.""

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-09-21
Line count: 52
Word count: 260