Ich hatt' einen Kameraden

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Melodie - Satz: Friedrich Silcher 1825
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Ludwig Uhland, 1809

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
Einen bessern findst du nit.
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
Er ging an meiner Seite
|: Im gleichen Schritt und Tritt. :|

2. Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt's mir oder gilt es dir?
Ihn hat es weggerissen,
Er liegt mir vor den Füßen
|: Als wär's ein Stück von mir :|

3. Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad'.
Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
|: Mein guter Kamerad! :|

I had one faithful comrade
'Ere we heard the trumpet's call,
And we pledged our hearts forever
In battle joined together
|: To beat the foe or fall. :|

2. A musket shot came screaming
To seal his fate or mine
Right at my feet he stumbled,
And friendship's shrine it crumbled
|: Around that friend of mine. :|

3. His hand is blindly seeking
The clasp I cannot give
For duty calls me onward
Farewell my dying comrade,
|: Our love shall ever live. :|


From German Folksongs, Oak Publications, edited by Arthur Kevess. - One of the most popular German folksongs, written during the Napoleonic wars. Words by Ludwig Uhland, poet, historian, and professor of German literature at the University of Tübingen in his home town. Sixteen years later, the university's music director, Friedrich Silcher, dusted off a 3/4 time folk melody, "Ein schwarzbraunes Mädchen hat ein'n Feldjäger lieb" (which he considered to be of Swiss origin), changed it to a 4/4 marching tempo, and fitted Uhland's words to it. The song, included in his Folksongs, 1827, has been a favorite ever since.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), "Ich hatt einen Kameraden" was widely sung by the anti-fascist volunteers of the Thälmann Battalion. Marching to or from the front, and especially when mourning their losses, they sang this song of the "good comrade."

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