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Dutch medieval folk songs

Songs from the middle ages with music and English translation


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Egidius, where have you gone to?
I long for you, companion mine.
You favoured death, and left life to me.


        Egidius waer bestu bleven
        mi lanct na di gheselle mijn
        du coors die doot du liets mi tleven.


You were such good, fine company
it seems to me one day one has to die.


        Dat was gheselscap goet ende fijn
        het sceen teen moeste ghestorven sijn.


Now you have been ascended to heaven
brighter than the sun can shine
all the joy is given to you.


        Nu bestu in den troon verheven
        claerre dan der zonnen scijn
        alle vruecht es di ghegheven.


Egidius, where have you gone to?
I long for you, companion mine.
You favoured death, and left life to me.


        Egidius waer bestu bleven
        mi lanct na di gheselle mijn
        du coors die doot du liets mi tleven.


Now pray for me, I'll still have to suffer here
and bear the pain this world can cause.
Please save a place for me beside you.


        Nu bidt vor mi ic moet noch sneven
        ende in de weerelt liden pijn
        verware mijn stede di beneven.


I've still a little song to sing.
Nevertheless once everyone must die.


        Ic moet noch zinghen een liedekijn
        nochtan moet emmer ghestorven sijn.


Egidius, where have you gone to?
I long for you, companion mine.
You favoured death, and left life to me.


        Egidius waer bestu bleven
        mi lanct na di gheselle mijn
        du coors die doot du liets mi tleven.


You were such good, fine company
it seems to me one day one has to die.


        Dat was gheselscap goet ende fijn
        het sceen teen moeste ghestorven sijn.


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: This song is an early example of a rondeau (with repetitions of a couplet through the song). The medieval codex contains musical notation: Gruuthuse codex f28r.

The Gruuthuse manuscript was put together in Brugge (Flanders), around 1395-1410. It contains (besides poems and prayers) 147 songs, with musical notation. The first known owner, Lodewijk van Gruuthuse (1422-1492), was a rich diplomat and book collector.

Content: This song is a lamentation. The songwriter mourns over the death of his friend Egidius. You are ascended to heaven and have been given all the bliss. Pray for me and keep a seat free for me next to you. I have to suffer in the world and yet sing a song. But everyone once must die.

Recording: Camerata Trajectina is a music ensemble from Utrecht, specialised in Dutch music from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century.

CD: Burden of love / Pacxken van minnen (1992). This cd is still available in their webshop (camerata-trajectina.nl).

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  Handschrift Gruuthuse (around 1400)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Egidius waer bestu bleven' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes E.
 







sheet music dutch medieval folk song waren twee koningskinderen thumb
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Once there where two young king's children
they both loved each other so dear
but they could not reach each other
the water was much too deep.
What did she do? She burned three candles
at nightfall when it became dusk.
My darling come here, swim across it.
The king's son, so young still, he did.


        Het waren twee conincskinderen
        sy hadden malcander soo lief
        sy conden byeen niet comen
        het water was veel te diep.
        Wat deed sy? Sy stac op drie keersen
        als savonts het dagelicht sonc.
        "Och liefste comt, swemter over!"
        Dat deed sconincs sone was jonc.


This was overheard by an old hag
she was mean from head to toe.
And she did blow out the candles
therefore our young hero did drown.
"Oh, mother, my well-beloved mother
my head suddenly aches so bad!
Can I take a walk for a short while
a stroll here along the seaside."


        Dit sach daer een oude quene
        een al soo vilijnich vel
        sy ghinker dat licht uytblasen
        doen smoorde die jonghe held.
        "Och moeder, mijn liefste moeder
        mijn hoofdjen doet mijnder soo wee!
        Mocht icker een wijle gaen wandelen
        gaen wandelen al langs de see!"


"Oh, daughter, my dearest daughter
I cannot let you go alone
but wake up your youngest sister
and take her with you on the walk."
"Oh, mother, my youngest sister
she is still so little, a child
she picks and she gathers all flowers
that she finds along the way.


        "Och dochter, mijn liefste dochter
        alleen en moogt ghy daer niet gaen
        maer wect uwe joncste suster
        laet die met u wandelen gaen."
        "Och moeder, mijn joncste suster
        is noch een soo cleinen kint
        sy pluckter wel alle die bloemekens
        die sy onder weghen vint.


She gathers then all the flowers
the green leaves she all leaves behind
the people complain and they will say:
the king's children they have done that."
"Oh, daughter, my dearest daughter
I cannot let you go alone
but wake up your youngest brother
and take him with you on your walk."


        Sy pluckter wel alle die bloemekens
        die bladerkens laet sy staen
        dan claghen die lieden en seggen:
        dat hebben sconincs kindren ghedaen."
        "Och dochter, mijn liefste dochter
        alleen en moogt ghy daer niet gaen
        maer wect uwen joncsten broeder
        laet hem met u wandelen gaen."


"Oh, mother, my youngest brother
he is still so little, a child
he runs after all the little birds
that come along on the way".
The mother then went to the chapel
the daughter did go her own way
until she did find by the water
her father's fisherman.


        "Och moeder, mijn joncste broeder
        is noch een soo cleinen kint
        hy loopter naer alle de voghels
        die hy onder weghen vint."
        De moeder ginc naer de kerke
        de dochter ginc haren ganc
        tot sy er by twater een visscher
        haers vaders visscher, vant.


"Oh, fisherman", she spoke to this man,
"My father's fisherman good
please can you go fishing for me
you will be rewarded for this".
He threw his fish nets in the water
the lead pieces sank to the ground
and after a short time of fishing
he dredged up the king's son, so young.


        "Och visscher," soo sprac sy, "visscher
        mijns vaders visscherkijn
        ghy soudt er voor my eens visschen
        het sal u ghelonet sijn!"
        Hy smeet sijne netten int water
        de loodekens ginghen te gront
        int corte was daer gevisschet
        sconincs sone, van jaren was jonc.


What took she then from her finger?
a golden ring, red gleaming gold.
"Keep this", she said, "my good fisherman,
this red golden ring is for you".
She held then her love in her arms tight
and gave him a kiss on his mouth
"Oh, little mouth, if you could speak still,
oh, little heart, if you had health".


        Wat troc sy van haren hande?
        een vingherlinc roode van goud.
        "Houd daer," seyde sy, "goede visscher,
        dees vingherlinc roode van goud."
        Sy nam doen haer lief in haer armen
        en custe hem aen sijnen mond
        "och mondeken, cost ghy noch spreken
        och herteken, waert ghy gesont."


She carried her love, her beloved,
and jumped with him into the sea.
"Farewell", she said, "beautiful world
you will never see me again,
farewell, oh my father and mother
my loved ones and friends all alike,
farewell, my dear sister and brother
I will ascend to paradise."


        Sy hielter haer lief in haer armen
        en spronc er met hem in de see.
        "Adieu," seyde sy, "schoone wereld
        ghy sieter my nimmermeer
        adieu, o mijn vader en moeder
        mijn vriendekens alle ghelijc
        adieu, mijne suster en broeder
        ic vaere naer themelrijc."


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: Narrative love song.

The Meerman Manuscript (ca. 1525) was made in the county of Holland, probably in the city of Dordrecht. It contains over 100 songs, mostly religious (some with musical notation). It has been, for a period of time, in the possession of a nunnery in Dordrecht.

Content: Two children of kings are in love. They can't be together, the water in between them is too deep. The boy tries to swim over, but drowns in the sea. The girl has him dredged up by a fisherman and then drowns herself.

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  Codex Meerman (around 1525)
•  Haerlems Oudt Liedt-Boeck (1640)
•  H. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Holländische Volkslieder (1833)
•  F. van Duyse, Het oude Nederlandsche lied (1903)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1941, 1956, 1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Het waren twee koningskinderen' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes W.
 







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Lord Halewijn sang a little song
all who did hear this would be with him
all who did hear this would be with him.


        Heer Halewijn zong een liedekijn
        al die dat hoorde wou bi hem zijn
        al die dat hoorde wou bi hem zijn.


And the king's daughter heard of this
she was so pretty and beloved
she was so pretty and beloved.


        En dat vernam een koningskind
        die was zoo schoon en zoo bemind
        die was zoo schoon en zoo bemind.


Standing before her father, asked:
oh father, can I look for Halewijn
oh father, can I look for Halewijn?


        Zi ging voor haren vader staen:
        och vader, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen
        och vader, mag ik naar Halewijn gaen?


Oh no, my daughter, no, not you!
who go that way do not return
who go that way do not return.


        Och neen, gi dochter, neen gi niet!
        die derwaert gaen en keeren niet
        die derwaert gaen en keeren niet.


Standing before her mother, asked:
oh mother, can I look for Halewijn
oh mother, can I look for Halewijn?


        Zi ging voor hare moeder staen:
        och moeder, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen
        och moeder, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen?


Oh no, my daughter, no, not you!
who go that way do not return
who go that way do not return.


        Och neen, gi dochter, neen gi niet!
        die derwaert gaen en keeren niet
        die derwaert gaen en keeren niet.


Standing before her brother, asked:
oh brother, can I look for Halewijn
oh brother, can I look for Halewijn?


        Zi ging voor haren broeder staen:
        och broeder, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen
        och broeder, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen?


It's me the same where you will go
if you will keep your purity
and wear your crown with dignity.


        't Is mi aleens waer dat gi gaet,
        als gi uw eer maer wel bewaert
        en gi uw kroon naer rechten draagt.


So she went to her dressing room
and she put on her finest clothes
and she put on her finest clothes.


        Toen is zi op haer kamer gegaen
        en deed haer beste kleeren aen
        en deed haer beste kleeren aen.


What did she put on her body?
a little shirt softer than silk it was
a little shirt softer than silk it was.


        Wat deed zi aen haren lijve?
        een hemdeken fijnder als zijde
        een hemdeken fijnder als zijde.


What did she put on her red skirt
on every stitch a pure golden knot
on every stitch a pure golden knot.


        Wat deed zi aen haren rooden rok?
        van steke tot steke een gouden knop
        van steke tot steke een gouden knop.


What did she put on her tunic blouse
on every stitch a fine gleaming pearl
on every stitch a fine gleaming pearl.


        Wat deed zi aen haren keirle?
        van steke tot steke een peirle
        van steke tot steke een peirle.


What did she put on her fair hair
a golden crown of heavy weight
a golden crown of heavy weight.


        Wat deed zi aen haer schoon blond hair?
        een kroone van goud en die woog zwaer
        een kroone van goud en die woog zwaer.


And in her father's stable there
she chose the best horse of them all
she chose the best horse of them all.


        Zi ging al in haers vaders stal
        en koos daer 't beste ros van al
        en koos daer 't beste ros van al.


She straddle-legged sat on the horse
and singing and tinkling she rode through the wood
and singing and tinkling she rode through the wood.


        Zi zette haer schrijlings op het ros
        al zingend en klingend reed zi door 't bosch
        al zingend en klingend reed zi door 't bosch.


Right in the middle of that wood
she came across lord Halewijn
she came across lord Halewijn.


        Als zi te midden 't bosch mogt zijn
        daer vond zi mijn heer Halewijn
        daer vond zi mijn heer Halewijn.


Greetings! he said and came to her
greetings fair maiden, bright brown eyes
come sit with me, untie your hair.


        Gegroet! zei hi, en kwam tot haer
        gegroet, schoon maegd, bruin oogen klaer
        komt, zit hier neer, ombind uw haer.


The more of her hair she made loose
the more tears she did wipe away
the more tears she did wipe away.


        Zo menig haer dat zij ombond
        zo menig traantjen haar ontron
        zo menig traantjen haar ontron.


They rode their horses side by side
and on the road fell many words
and on the road fell many words.


        Zi reden met malkander voort
        en op den weg viel menig woort
        en op den weg viel menig woort.


Then they arrived at the gallows field
with many women's corpses hanging there
with many women's corpses hanging there.


        Zi kwamen bi een galgenveld
        daer aen hing menig vrouwenbeeld
        daer aen hing menig vrouwenbeeld.


At that time he said to the girl:
because you are so beautiful
you choose your death. The time is there.


        Alsdan heeft hi tot haer gezeid:
        mits gi de schoonste maget zijt
        zoo kiest uw dood! het is nog tijd.


Well, if I am allowed to choose
I choose the sword above all else
I choose the sword above all else.


        Wel als ik dan hier kiezen zal
        zoo kieze ik dan het zweerd voor al
        zoo kieze ik dan het zweerd voor al.


But first take off your overrobe
'cause maiden's blood spreads out so wide
'cause maiden's blood spreads out so wide.


        Maer trekt eerst uit uw opperst kleed
        want maegdenbloed dat spreit zoo breed
        zoo 't u bespreide het ware mi leed.


Before he'd taken off his robe
his head fell right before his feet!
His tongue still spoke a few last words:


        Eer dat zijn kleed getogen was
        zijn hoofd lag voor zijn voeten ras
        zijn tong nog deze woorden sprak:


Go in the wheat field over there
and blow my horn as hard you can
so all my friends can hear the sound.


        Gaet ginder in het koren
        en blaest daer op min horen
        dat al mijn vrienden 't hooren.


No, in the wheat field I won't go
and on your horn I will not blow
and on your horn I will not blow.


        Al in het koren en gaen ik niet
        op uwen horen en blaes ik niet
        op uwen horen en blaes ik niet.


Go to the gallow over there
and bring the pot with salve to me
and spread it along my blood-red neck!


        Gaet ginder onder de galge
        en haelt daer een pot met zalve
        en strijkt dat aen mijn rooden hals!


No, to the gallow I won't go
I will not strike along your neck
nor follow muderer's advice.


        Al onder de galge en gaen ik niet
        uw rooden hals en strijk ik niet
        moordenaers raed en doe ik niet.


She grabbed the head firm by the hair
and washed it in a water well
and washed it in a water well.


        Zi nam het hoofd al bi het haer
        en waschte 't in een bronne klaer
        en waschte 't in een bronne klaer.


She straddle-legged sat on the horse
and singing and tinkling she rode through the wood
and singing and tinkling she rode through the wood.


        Zi zette haer schrijlings op het ros
        al zingend en klingend reed zi door 't bosch
        al zingend en klingend reed zi door 't bosch.


When she was half way through the wood
then Halewijn's mother came along:
young lady, did you see my son?


        En als zi was ter halver baen
        kwam Halewijns moeder daer gegaen:
        schoon maegt, zaegt gi mijn zoon niet gaen?


Your son, lord Halewijn, has gone hunting
you won't see him again your life
you won't see him again your life.


        Uw zoon heer Halewijn is gaen jagen
        g' en ziet hem weer uw levens dagen
        g' en ziet hem weer uw levens dagen.


Your son, lord Halewijn, is dead
his head is lying in my lap
my apron is red of the blood.


        Uw zoon heer Halewijn is dood
        ik heb zijn hoofd in mijnen schoot
        van bloed is mijnen voorschoot rood!


When she arrived at her father's gate
she blew the horn alike a man
she blew the horn alike a man.


        Toen ze aen haers vaders poorte kwam
        zi blaesde den horen als een man
        zi blaesde den horen als een man.


And when her father learned of it
he was glad that she had returned
he was glad that she had returned.


        En als de vader dit vernam
        't verheugde hem dat zi weder kwam
        't verheugde hem dat zi weder kwam.


They had a festive meal and on
the table they put down the head
the table they put down the head.


        Daer werd gehouden een banket
        het hoofd werd op de tafel gezet
        het hoofd werd op de tafel gezet.


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: Dating uncertain. It was only noted for the first time in the 19th century (J.F. Willems collected it around 1830 from a single song sheet). German versions date back to the 16th century, but the song probably dates back to the 13th or 14th century.

This song has a distinct characteristic of a historic folk song from the oral tradition: repeating sentences, which indicates the practise of community singing (one singer sings the first two lines, the others join in and sing along the repeating sentence - for example during the long hours of weaving or embroidering, or sitting round the fireplace at night).

Content: Narrative song. Lord Halewijn sings a song that is irresistible. No one returns from him. A king's daughter rides towards him. He takes her to a gallows field. She chooses to be killed by sword (the noble way, instead of the gallow). But she has a ruse, a plan, and she succeeds in cutting off his head. Then the heroine returns home.

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  J.F. Willems, Oude Vlaemsche liederen (1848)
•  F. van Duyse, Het oude Nederlandsche lied (1903)
•  M. Coune, De Vlaamsche Zanger (1927)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1956, 1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Heer Halewijn zong een liedekijn' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes H.
 







sheet music dutch medieval folk song adieu scheiden thumb
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A snow white bird sat on a branch,
a snow white bird sat on a branch
it was a spiky, prickly thorn
din don deine,
it was a spiky, prickly thorn
din don don.


        Daar was een sneeuwwit vogeltje,
        daar was een sneeuwwit vogeltje
        al op een stekendorentje
        din don deine,
        al op een stekendorentje
        din don don.


Oh nightingale, my little bird,
oh nightingale, my little bird
I beg you be my messenger
din don deine,
I beg you be my messenger
din don don.


        Och nachtegaal, klein vogelkijn,
        och nachtegaal, klein vogelkijn
        woudi daar mijnen bode zijn?
        din don deine,
        woudi daar mijnen bode zijn?
        din don don.


How can I be your messenger?
How can I be your messenger?
I'm just a tiny little bird
din don deine,
I'm just a tiny little bird
din don don.


        Hoe zoud' ik uwen bode zijn?
        Hoe zoud' ik uwen bode zijn?
        Ik ben zo kleinen vogelkijn
        din don deine,
        ik ben zo kleinen vogelkijn
        din don don.


Although you're small, you fly so fast,
although you're small, you fly so fast
so you can pass my message well
din don deine,
so you can pass my message well
din don don.


        Al zijdi klein, gij vlieget zo snel,
        al zijdi klein, gij vlieget zo snel
        gij voert daar mijne boodschap wel
        din don deine,
        gij voert daar mijne boodschap wel
        din don don.


He took the letter in his beak,
he took the letter in his beak
and flew all over the green woods
din don deine,
and flew all over the green woods
din don don.


        Hij nam dat briefken in zijnen mond,
        hij nam dat briefken in zijnen mond
        hij voeret al over dat groene woud
        din don deine,
        hij voeret al over dat groene woud
        din don don.


He pushed against the window glass,
he pushed against the window glass.
Are you asleep, my love, or dead
din don deine,
are you asleep, my love, or dead
din don don.


        Hij gaf dat vensterken enen stoot,
        hij gaf dat vensterken enen stoot.
        Slaapt gij, mijn lief, of zijt gij dood?
        din don deine,
        Slaapt gij, mijn lief, of zijt gij dood?
        din don don.


I'm not so very fast asleep,
I'm not so very fast asleep
I hear the message of my love
din don deine,
I hear the message of my love
din don don.


        Ik slape alzo vaste niet,
        ik slape alzo vaste niet
        ik hoor al wat mijn lief ontbiedt
        din don deine,
        ik hoor al wat min lief ontbiedt
        din don don.


Your lover sends you well-meant praise,
your lover sends you well-meant praise
another girl will be his wife
din don deine,
another girl will be his wife
din don don.


        Uw lief ontbiedt u goeden prijs,
        uw lief ontbiedt u goeden prijs
        hij wil gaan trouwen een ander wijf
        din don deine,
        hij wil gaan trouwen een ander wijf
        din don don.


Well, will her marry another girl?
Well, will her marry another girl?
I'll marry just another man
din don deine,
and we will see who gets regrets
din don don.


        Wil hij gaan trouwen een ander wijf?
        Wil hij gaan trouwen een ander wijf?
        Zo wil ik gaan trouwen een ander man
        din don deine,
        bezien wie 't eerst berouwen zal
        din don don.


I pray to God and Mary, too,
I pray to God and Mary, too
my lover will be sorry first
din don deine,
my lover will be sorry first
din don don.


        Nu bid ik God end' Onze Lieve Vrouw,
        nu bid ik God end' Onze Lieve Vrouw
        dat het mijn liefken eerst berouw
        din don deine,
        dat het mijn liefken eerst berouw
        din don don.


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: This song is a love song.

The Weimar Manuscript or Zutphen Songbook was made in the years 1537-1543 in the city of Zutphen. Around that time it was the capital of the County Zutphen, and then part of the Duchy Gelre (at the east of the nowadays Netherlands). Besides aphorisms the codex contains 48 songstexts (without musical notation).

This song has a distinct characteristic of historic folk songs from the oral tradition: repeating sentences, which indicates the practise of community singing (one singer sings the new lines, the others join in and sing along the repeating sentences).

Content: A man sends a nightingale with a letter to his beloved. He lets her know he will marry another woman. She also will marry someone else and wonders who will be the first to feel regret.

Melody: The medieval melody wasn't preserved, the midi gives the tune as the song was sung during the 19th century (first noted by Willems from the oral tradition).

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  Handschrift Weimar (1537)
•  J.F. Willems, Oude Vlaemsche liederen (1848)
•  J. Bols, Honderd oude Vlaamsche liederen (1897)
•  F. van Duyse, Het oude Nederlandsche lied (1903-08)
•  M. Coune, De Vlaamsche Zanger (1928)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1941, 1956, 1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Daar was een sneeuwwit vogeltje, stekendorentje' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes D.
 







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A poor, shabby vendor tried to be
a good traveling merchant.
His name: Annin Tutebier
he could provide his living.
He carried his merchandise
a lady then called him and thereby laughed:
"Come to me, my vendor good!"


        Het soude een scamel mersenier
        Coopmansceipe leren.
        Hi hiet Annin Tutebier,
        Hi conste hem wel gheneren,
        Daer hi sinen canis drouch,
        Een joncfrauwe riepen ende soe louch:
        "Comt hier na, goet meerseman!"


"Needles, pins and bells and trumpets
I will display all the things I'm selling
maybe you'll want some of my goods."


        "Naelden! spellen! trompen! bellen!
        Ic wil mijn merse hier neder stellen,
        Laet zien of ic vercopen can."


And he said to the woman, fine and fair
"I'll unpack all of my merchandise
I've sung and praised the whole day long
but have not earned one penny in the end."
He opened his basket then:
"My lady, just pick out all you like
I will grant you the gain in part.


        Als hi de scone vrauwe anesach,
        Hi sprac: "ic wil mijn merse ontslaen,
        Ic hebbe ghetsantert al den dach,
        In hebbe ene mite niet ontfaen."
        Sinen canis hi ontslouch:
        "Joncfrauwe, nu souct al u ghevouch,
        Want ic u wel der baten jan."


"Needles, pins and bells and trumpets
I will display all the things I'm selling
maybe you'll want some of my goods."


        "Naelden! spellen! trompen! bellen!
        Ic wil mijn merse hier neder stellen,
        Laet zien of ic vercopen can."


"Peddler", she answered, "my dear companion
I have a small case, it is not big
and I can't find any pin, any needle
that will fit just right in this case.
You sell big ones and I see small ones
but my seize I just can't find between them."
"Lady, what kind of pin do you want?"


        "Merseman" seidse, "lieve gheselle,
        Ic hebbe een cleine cokerkijn.
        In vinde hier in no naelde no spelle
        Die wel voughen soude daer in.
        Hier sijn grote ende daer toe cleine,
        Maer ic ne vinde niet dat ic meine."
        "Joncfrauwe, wat spellen wildi dan?"


"Needles, pins and bells and trumpets
I will display all the things I'm selling
maybe you'll want some of my goods."


        "Naelden! spellen! trompen! bellen!
        Ic wil mijn merse hier neder stellen,
        Laet zien of ic vercopen can."


"Lady, I have here a pin for you
that sure is not too tiny."
"Young man, you have to come with me
you understand my meaning.
If you just can't sell the pin to me
then give a loan, lend it to me
I will reward you, swear to saint John!"


        "Joncfrauwe, ic hebbe een spellekijn,
        Dan es niet aldus cleine."
        "Cnape, wel moeti comen sijn,
        Ghi weit wel wat ic meine.
        Wildi de spelle vercopen niet,
        So leensce mi, of ghijt ghebiet!
        Ic salt u lonen, bi sinte Jan!"


"Needles, pins and bells and trumpets
I will display all the things I'm selling
maybe you'll want some of my goods."


        "Naelden! spellen! trompen! bellen!
        Ic wil mijn merse hier neder stellen,
        Laet zien of ic vercopen can."


The vendor then took the lady's hand
and they left there together.
The pin had exactely the right size
she didn't want to let it go.
"Young man, please let me keep this pin!
I'll compensate you sure for it
I never did gain a better pin!"


        Hi nam de joncfrauwe bi der hant,
        Si gingen onder hem beiden.
        De spelle dat zoe te pointe vant,
        Soene wilder niet of sceiden.
        "Cnape, hout mi dit spellelijn!
        Het sal u wel vergouden zijn,
        Want beter spelle ic nie ghewan!"


"Needles, pins and bells and trumpets
I will display all the things I'm selling
maybe you'll want some of my goods."


        "Naelden! spellen! trompen! bellen!
        Ic wil mijn merse hier neder stellen,
        Laet zien of ic vercopen can."


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: Narrative song, dialogue song.

The Gruuthuse manuscript was put together in Brugge (Flanders), around 1395-1410. It contains (besides poems and prayers) 147 songs, with musical notation. The first known owner, Lodewijk van Gruuthuse (1422-1492), was a rich diplomat and book collector.

Text: The name (H)Anin: short voor Johannes (John). Bells: probably rattle toys are intended.

Content: A travelling merchant, named Anin Tutebier, recommends his articles singing. A lady goes through his basket. She asks questions about needles and pins and after that erotic insinuations follow. A scabrous song that the audience of that time could laugh about with a mirth.

Recording: Camerata Trajectina is a music ensemble from Utrecht, specialised in Dutch music from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century.

CD: Burden of love / Pacxken van minnen (1992). This cd is still available in their webshop (camerata-trajectina.nl).

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  Handschrift Gruuthuse (ca. 1400)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Het zoud' een schamel mersenier koopmanschepe leren' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes Z.
 







sheet music dutch medieval folk song daghet oosten thumb
    - this is a thumb: click below on 'sheet music' or 'enlargement' -
          ©  copyright translations, sheet music and music

icon sheet music dutch folk songs    sheet music  /  enlargement

icon speaker listen to dutch medieval folk songs with music mp3    play music  /  or click here

icon speaker listen to dutch folk songs with music mp3    play recording by Camerata Trajectina


We'll sing a song about the farmers
who're evil and vicious.
They're growing long beards so shaggy
they're trying to resist the knights.
Their clothes are all repaired
they're always wearing little hats
their hoods are twisted 'round
their socks and shoes are worn out, fixed.


        Wi willen van den kerels zinghen!
        Si sijn van quader aert,
        Si willen de ruters dwinghen,
        Si draghen enen langhen baert.
        Haer cleedren die zijn al ontnait.
        Een hoedekijn up haer hooft ghecapt,
        Tcaproen staet al verdrayt.
        Haer cousen ende haer scoen ghelapt.


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


A big chunk of vulgar black rye bread
is good enough to please him.
He carries it in his hand
on his way to the plough.
And later comes his wife, the filthy
spinning with a simple spindle
a cloth for her ugly muzzle
she crumbles bread in his bowl.


        Henen groten rucghinen cant
        Es arde wel sijn ghevouch.
        Dien neimt hi in sijn hant,
        Als hi wil gaen ter plouch.
        Dan comt tot hem sijn wijf, de vule,
        Spinnende met enen rocke,
        Een sleter omtrent haer mule,
        Ende gaet sijn scuetle brocken.


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


He goes to the yearly fun fair
and thinks he's an earl so noble.
He wants to lash out and beats
with his rusty stick or pitchfork.
Then he starts drinking wine and promptly
he's loaded and dead drunk.
He thinks that he owns the whole world
city, country and gate.


        Ter kermesse wille hi gaen,
        Hem dinct datti es een grave.
        Daer wilhijt al omme slaen
        Met sinen verroesten stave.
        Dan gaet hi drincken van den wine
        Stappans es hi versmoort.
        Dan es al de werelt zine,
        Stede, lant ende poort.


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


With his Zealandic knife
he's searching through his bag.
He goes to his wife and brings her
nothing but a dirty bottle.
She curses him, swearing very evil
as soon as the prole comes near.
But when he gives her gingerbread, a small piece,
the peace again is signed.


        Met eenen zeeuschen knive
        So gaet hi duer sijn tassche.
        Hi comt tote zinen wive,
        Al vul brinct hi sine flassche.
        Dan gheift soe hem vele quader vlouke,
        Als haer de kerel ghenaect.
        Dan gheift hi haer een stic van den lijfcouke,
        Dan es de pays ghemaect.


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


The bagpipe plays a piece of music
it's squeaks him turelurereleruut.
Ah, it's abusive to the ears
the noice is terrible.
Then they all jump in a disorder
their long beards swing along
it's all tumult and riot
God see that it won't end well!


        Dan comt de grote cornemuse
        Ende pijpt hem turelurereleruut.
        Ay, hoor van desen abuze!
        Dan maecsi groot gheluut,
        Dan sprincsi alle al over hoop,
        Dan waecht haer langhe baert.
        Si maken groot gheloop,
        God gheve hem quade vaert!


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


We enjoy to frighten the farmers
and chase them through country and field.
All they can think is evil
This's how to handle them:
One has to drag them and to hang them.
Their beards are much too long.
There's no way that they can escape it
they just won't behave without strong force.


        Wi willen de kerels doen greinsen,
        Al dravende over tvelt.
        Hets al quaet dat zi peinsen.
        Ic weetze wel bestelt:
        Me salze slepen ende hanghen,
        Haer baert es alte lanc.
        Sine connens niet ontganghen,
        Sine dochten niet sonder bedwanc.


White cheese, whey, bread and some cheese
they're eating all day long.
The farmers are so drowsy because
they're eating more than they can.


        Wronglen, wey, broot ende caes,
        Dat heit hi al den dach.
        Daer omme es de kerel so daes:
        Hi etes meer dan hijs mach.


  Dutch medieval folk song.

Commentary: Mocking song. It shows the antipathy, hate and fear of the noblemen for the lowest social class, the rough, 'uncivilised', potentially dangerous farmers.

This song is sometimes referred to as the 'Farmer's song' / 'Kerelslied'.

The Gruuthuse manuscript was put together in Brugge (Flanders), around 1395-1410. It contains (besides poems and prayers) 147 songs, with musical notation. The first known owner, Lodewijk van Gruuthuse (1422-1492), was a rich diplomat and book collector.

Content: A song about farmers, sung by (or for) the upper classes, the nobility. The uncivilised farmers, with their long beards and threadbare, ragged clothes, have an evil nature and are dangerous. They might want to overpower the knights, the horsemen.

The refrain is cynical: the farmers were very poor and often had little to eat. The last verse again depicts the fear of the noblemen: the best thing to do, is to hang them. They aren't any good without enforcement.

Recording: Camerata Trajectina is a music ensemble from Utrecht, specialised in Dutch music from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century.

CD: Burden of love / Pacxken van minnen (1992). This cd is still available in their webshop (camerata-trajectina.nl).

Sources (Dutch Song Database):
•  Gruuthuse handschrift (ca. 1400)
•  Cornelia van de Graft, Middelnederlandsche historieliederen (1904)
•  T. de Haan, Huilen op de kermis, 105 Straatmadelieven (1968)
•  Pollmann en Tiggers, Nederlands volkslied (1977)

dutch flag the netherlands holland   Lyrics 'Wij willen van den kerels zingen' on Dutch website: Nederlandse volksliedjes W.
 



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