Weird German Poem

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Tue Feb 29 05:57:57 EST 2000

Jacob wrote:

> I prefer Alexandra's too, but both miss the connotation of youth (or
> familiarity as in a lover).  Maedel is a diminutive/familiar word.
> Something you'd say to a cherished little girl or girlfriend.  I like the
> absurdity of the connection.  Makes me wish English did diminutives.

Well, English _does_ actually do diminutives.  Unfortunately I don't think
"Sophie, my executioner girlie" has quite the right ring to it.

(To bring this briefly back on topic, many of the slang words used at the law
school in restoration Dalemark exhibit a feature observed in upper-class English
casual speech - the use of two diminutive endings on a word.  At the law school,
these are typically -er and -s, as in "trethers")

Alexandra wrote:

> Philip wrote:
> "I am trying to set some of Morgenstern's work to music.  My title, "Wie
> schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern" is the first line of a well-known German
> hymn - I like to think Morgenstern would have approved..."
> This sounds like such a marvellous project--just think what splendid fun
> it would be, running around singing "Sophie mein Henkersmaedel" to
> oneself.  (I've been trying it with a kind of Mireille Mathieu ripoff
> tune :)

Been there!  That happened to me last week.  The tune will prbably have changed
by the time I'm finished, though.  But who on Earth is Mireille Mathieu?

> Henker, too, is such a good word--you can really hear the "thunk" of the
> axe in it.

Like it!  Alas, my dictionary says Henken = To Hang, Henker = Hangman.  I was
assuming it was cognate with haengen, which also means to hang (but


PS for those who are wondering, the third (and last) verse is:

Sophie, mein Henkersmaedel
komm, schau mir in den Schaedel!
Die Augen zwar,
sie frass der Aar -
doch Du bist gut und edel.

PPS Alexandra - "Morgenstern: Saemtliche Galgenlieder" is ISBN 3-423-24007-5, if
it's still in print.  List price was DM14.00 when I got my copy (1995).

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