Marx Engels Correspondence 1860

Engels to Marx


Source: Marx Engels On Literature and Art, Moscow 1976;
Written in German and Danish;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

June 20, 1860

By pure chance, the old Danish Kjämpe-Viser fell into my hands. Some very nice things here and there among a lot of rubbish. Here is one, translated by Uhland.

Her Oluf hand rider saa vide,
Alt til sit brøllup at byde,
Men dandsen den gaar saa let gennem lunden.

Der dandse fire, og der dandse fem:
Elle kongens daater rekker haanden frem.

“Velkommen, Her Oluf, lad fare din fig:
Bi lidet, og træd her i dandsen med mig.”

“leg ikke tør, jeg ikke maa: I morgen skal mit brøllup staa.”

“Hør du, Her Oluf, træd dandsen med mig:
To bukkeskinds støvle saa giver jeg dig.

To bukkeskinds støvle, sider vel om been:
ForgyIdene spore derom spend.

Hør du, Her Ole, træd dandsen med mig:
En silke-skiorte giver jeg dig.

En silke-skiorte saa hivid og fiin:
Den blegte min moder veg maane skin.”

“Jeg ikke tør, jeg ikke maa etc.”

“Hør du, Her Oluf, træd dandsen med mig:
Et hoved af guld saa giver jeg dig.”

“Et hoved af guld kand jeg vel faa:
Men dandse med dig tør jeg ej saa.”

“Og vil du ikke dandse med mig,
Sot og sygdom skal følge dig.”

Hun slog hannem mellem sine hærde:
Aldrig var hand slagen verre.

Hun løfte, Her Oluf paa ganger rød:
“Og rid nu hiem til din festemø.”

Der hand kom til borgeled:
Der staar hands moder og hviler ved.

“Hør du, Her Oluf, kier sønnen min:
Hvi baer du nu saa bleg en kind?”

Og jeg maa vel bære kinden bleg,
For jeg bar været i Ellekonens leg.”

“Hør du, Her Ole, min søn saa prud:
Hvad skal jeg svare din unge brud?”

‘I skal sige, jeg er udi lunde,
At prøve min hest og saa mine hunde.”

Aarle om morgen, dag det var:
Da kom den brud med brudeskar.

De skenkte miød, de skenkte viin:
“Hvor er, Her Ole, brudgom min?”

“Her Oluf hand reed sig hen i lunde:
Hand prøved sin hest og saa sine hunde.”

Hun tog op det skarlagen rød:
Der laa Her Oluf og var død.

I like this much better than the very smooth Uhland version. Another, “Her Jon,” is even nicer.

Herr Oluf fares both far and wide,
To fetch the wedding-guests he doth ride.

The elves dance on the green land,
The Elf King’s daughter gives him her hand.

“Welcome, Herr Oluf, why wouldst thou flee?
Step into the ring and dance with me.”

But dance I neither will nor may,
Tomorrow dawns my wedding day.’

“oh list, Herr Oluf, come dance with me,
Two golden spurs I'll give to thee.

“A shirt all shining white so fine:
My mother shall bleach it with pale moonshine.”

“But dance I neither will nor may,
Tomorrow dawns my wedding day.”

“Oh list, Herr Oluf, come dance with me,
A pile of gold I'll give to thee.”

“Gladly I'd take your gold away,
But dance I neither dare nor may.”

“An thou, Herr Oluf, dance not with me,
Sickness and plague shall follow thee.”

And then she touched him on the chest.
Never such pain had clutched his breast.

She helps him, half-swooning, his mount to bestride:
“Now get thee hence to thy fair bride.”

As to his own door he drew near,
His mother was trembling there with fear.

“Tell me quickly, oh quickly, my son,
Why are thy looks so pale and wan?”

“How should they not be pale and wan?
’tis from the Elf King’s realm I come!’

“Oh list, dear son I love so well,
What to your bride am I to tell?”

“Say to the forest I am bound,
To exercise my horse and hound!’

Next morning, when it was scarcely day,
There came the bride with her company.

They poured the mead, they poured the wine.
“Where is Herr Oluf, bridegroom of mine?”

“He’s ridden hence, for the forest bound,
To exercise his horse and hound!’

The bride uplifted the scarlet red.
There lay Herr Oluf, and he was dead.

(Translated by Alex Miller)