Tim Koch writes:
I recently came across a German rowing song from the late nineteenth/early twentieth century and asked an old crewmate, Jochen Kauschmann, to translate. This he did and also provided some history and context.
The German is obviously a bit antiquated, but also in some parts the main focus was to emphasise the alternated end rhyme. I guess, when singing along to it in a pub with a beer in your hand, it suddenly all makes sense…. The melody is an old patriotic drinking song prevalent in many student fraternities (‘corps’), even today (see here
under ‘Anthem’). Listen to ‘Lasst, ihr buntbemützen Scharen’ and ‘Strömt herbei ihr Völkerscharen’ to get the picture. I tried my best to translate it to the true meaning, without having to replicate the rhyme in English.
Danke schön, Jochen. You are right – it is much better with a beer in your hand (but aren’t most things)?
Below is an adaptation of Jochen’s original translation, my rather poor attempt to make it more acceptable to a native English speaker. HTBS readers are welcome to try and improve it.
Friends, let us gather
In the spirit of oarsmanship.
Let us travel far and spread the word:
That rowing elevates us,
It swells our chests
And makes us delirious with joy !
Those who experience a day of rowing
Will soon learn of its delight!
Early in the morning,
Boats glide swiftly through the water,
Oarsmen sparing no effort and pain.
Soon, shining in glistening light,
With strong strokes
We are taken into another world.
And then we rest happy
In a favourite place.
When we return home in evening,
Though tired and weary,
Our mouths do not rest.
Everyone gets a further lesson
In how to row faster,
And are told of hard fought races and
How no other boat was able to pass,
As a little boasting is part of the sport !