Morgets und Owets, by Emanuel Rondthaler (1849)

The following elegiac idyl, in Pennsylvania German, is the creation of the late Rev. Emanuel Rondthaler, tutor in the Hall between 1832 and 1839; and we believe one of the first attempts to render that mongrel dialect the vehicle of poetic thought and diction. It is admitted into this repository for a consideration else than its literary merit; the language in which its sentiments are conveyed being that of the neighborhood of Nazareth in part, with whose population students at the Hall in all times were brought into frequent contact. Mr. Rondthaler’s lyric is worded in the vernacular of these once so called “Bushwhackers,” between whom and the “Hallers” petty warfare has been waged from time immemorial. Of the origin of the long-cherished difference, history and tradition are silent. Perhaps it was a war of races, accountable only on the assumption of an instinctive antagonism. Perhaps the contest was provoked, for although the “Bushwhackers” were stigmatized as a semi-ferine race, they were a harmless, hard-working people, who gave generously of their orchards and rural stores until the “Hallers” aggravated them beyond endurance by persistent depredations on their choice apples and reserved chestnuts.
The touching appeal which the little poem makes to the finer feelings of our nature, through the medium of external objects most familiar and suggestive to the rustic, loses none of its power, although conveyed in the rude language of his every-day life; while the spirit of Christian faith and hope with which it is imbued reminds us forcibly of what we are apt to forget—that the diviner impulses of our spiritual being are shared alike by all classes of the human family.

MORGETS UND OWETS

MORGETS scheint die Sunn so schö,
Owets geht der gehl Mond uf,
Morgetsleit der Dau im Glä,
Owets drett mer drucke druf.

Morgets singe all die Feggle,
Owets greyscht der Lawb-krott arg,
Morgets gloppt mer mit der Fleggle,
Owets leit mer sho im Sarg.

Alles dut sich ennere do,
Ņix bleibt immer so wie nau;
Wos’ em Fräd macht, bleibt nett so,
Werd gar arg bald harrt un rau—

Drowe werd es anners sein,
Dart wo nau so blo aussickt;
Dart is Morgets alles fein,
Dart is Owets alles Lickt.

Morgets is dart Fräd die Fill,
Owets is eso noch so;
Morgets is ems Herz so still;
Owets is mer o noch fro.

Ach! wie dut mer doch gelischte,
Nach der blo’e Woning dart ;
Dart mit alle gute Ghrishte
Fräd zu have—Roo als fort.

Wann sie mich ins Grab nei drage,
Greint nett—denn ich habs so schö,
Wann sie—“Ess is Owet!”-sage
Denkt—bei ihm is sell, “all one.”

TRANSLATION.

In the morning the sun shines cheerful and bright,
In the evening the yellow moon’s splendor is shed ;
In the morning the clover’s with dew all bedight,
In the evening its blossoms are dry to the tread.

In the morning the birds sing in unison sweet,
In the evening the frog cries prophetic and loud;
In the morning we toil to the flail’s dull beat,
In the evening we lie in our coffin and shroud.

Here on earth there is nothing exempt from rude change—
Nought abiding, continuing always the same;
What pleases is passing.—is past! oh how strange!
And the joy that so mocked us is followed by pain.

But above ’twill be different, I very well know—
Up yonder, where all is so calm and so blue!
In the morning there objects will be all a glow—
In the evening aglow, too, with heaven’s own hue.

In the morning up yonder our cup will be filled,
In the evening its draught will not yet have been drain’d;
In the morning our hearts will divinely be stilled,
In the evening, ecstatic with bliss here unnamed.

And oh how I long, how I yearn to be there,
Up yonder, where all is so calm and so blue!
With the spirits of perfected just ones to share
Through eternity’s ages joy and peace ever new .

And when to my grave I shall slowly be borne,
Oh weep and lament not, for I am so blest!
And when “it is evening” you’ll say—or, “’tis morn”—
Remember, for me there is nothing but rest

—William Cornelius Reichel, Historical Sketch of Nazareth Hall from 1755 to 1869: With an Account of the Reunions of Former Pupils and of the Inauguration of a Monument at Nazareth on the 11th of June, 1868, Erected in Memory of Alumni Who Fell in the Late Rebellion (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1869)

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Filed under Bibliography, Pennsylvania German

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