Und menge ich von Nichts, als Lieb'
Und nie von andern Dingen,
Jedennoch stets genug nur blieb'
Mein Leben lang zu singen.
Ich brauche meinem Liebchen fein
Nur tief ins Aug zu sehn
Damit die Lieder gross und klein
Zu ihrem Lob entstehn.
Und bringe ich sie dann ihr dar
So Lohnt mich suess ihr Kuss
Und eine neue Liederschaar
Bringt ihr dann neuen Gruss.
5. Nov. 1876
My effort at comprehending this was poor, but Aidan came to my rescue, though Rochs' apparent archaism stretched even his powers. The second word menge, which normally means 'mix', is the chief sticking-point—here's what Aidan had to say on the matter:
It could be that menge was intended to convey the obsolete form of the verbal counterpart of Mangel 'lack [of something]'. The current verb is mangeln, but the Grimms list mengan as appearing in Hochdeutsch in that meaning long before Mangel itself.Well, I take his ingenious word for it, as it's the only way I have of making sense of the first verse. Perhaps Herr Wokan will have other things to say. Aidan notes further, delightfully apoint, that such an explanation 'would require that your great-great-grandfather had both the desire and the education to be ridiculously archaic, though! All the same, such a combination was relatively fashionable in 1875'. It certainly was. Aidan's help is implicit throughout the first two verses here. There's one more thing to say, which is that I have taken a different stylistic tack for this version. With my last effort I was still writing in a Conradian style, whereas here I have kept to a strict accentual metre, in imitation of the original, which is in ballad metre, and in return allowed myself more freedom in sense. This isn't entirely comfortable to me, but as an experiment I don't think it is a failure. The last line is really mine—for a closer rendering, feel free to substitute 'My darling should readily greet'. The translation is for my wife, to whom kittle and bejaune are known terms of endearment.
And I've wanted for nothing but Love—
No, ne'er for a single damn thing—
But I've had enough push come to shove
That for livelihood lifelong I sing.
And I need only glance at my kittle,
And to look her so deep in the eyes,
For songs in her praise great and little
To swiftly materialise.
So I offer her these as a token
For one of her kisses so sweet,
Till a new flock of sonnets well spoken
Should knock my bejaune off her feet.