7 Songs from Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children

 

                                     Mother Courage's Travelling Song

(First 4 stanzas Scene One; fifth stanza Scene 8; last two stanzas conclude play end of Scene 12)  

 

hawd yer wheesht there stoap yer drum

                                   it’s mother courage this way come

                                   oh have yer squaddies halt and buy

                                   new boots and claes an aw forbye!

                                   flearidden sojers who love their loot

                                   still want the guns they need tae shoot

                                   but how does yer squaddie march tae fight

                                   in scabby boots that’s faur too tight?                                  

                                                It’s springtime noo! move on your way

                                                the snaw’s aw gone. the deid lie deid

                                                but you that huvny died as yet

                                                the powers that be, they still do need. 

                                  

                                   wi no one sausage for to eat

                                   yer squaddie’ll fight till he faws deid

                                   gie him some forage on his feet noo

                                   a drap a beer, wi a hunk a breid!

                                   despite clapped oot guns despite empty stomachs

                                   yer top brass still say that aw is well

                                   oh get your squaddies fit and well here!

                                   march them fit tae the jaws o hell! 

                                                It’s springtime noo! move on your way

                                                the snaw’s aw gone. the deid lie deid

                                                but you that huvny died as yet

                                                the powers that be, they still do need.  

                                          

                                   -----

 

                                   From here to there, from there tae aw place

                                   Courage’s cart will aye be seen

                                   The war needs guns tae fill its bawface

                                   For guns an bullets always keen!

                                   But guns an bullets willny fill it

                                   Its regiments they still need you

                                   so join the ranks, get to your billet

                                   sign up yir name tae fight the noo!

 

                                   ------

 

Wi aw its dangers an stray bullets

this war drags on from day to day

the war could last a hundred years yet

yer common squaddie willny win.

pure crap his food, his gear his rucksack

the regiment docks hauf his pay

an though it might strike you a wonder

this war will never go away! 

It’s springtime noo! move on your way

the snaw’s aw gone. the deid lie deid

but you that huvny died as yet

the powers that be, they still do need.

 

 


                                      The Song of Fraternisation

                                                  (Sung by Yvette, Scene 3)

 

                                  When I was a lass aged seventeen

                                   an enemy soldier seemed quite keen

                                   he down to the ground let his sabre land

                                   and with such loving looks did take my hand

                                                and after the mayday bright

                                                when there came the mayday night

                                                the regiment presented arms

                                                the drums banged out the old alarms

                                                that soldier took me behind a bush

                                                and we fraternised.

 

                                   an affair like this might make you puke

                                   that soldier mine, he was a cook

                                   I shunned the sight of him by day

                                   but then at night as one we had our way. 

                                                For after the mayday bright

                                                there comes the mayday night

                                                the regiment presents its arms

                                                the drums bang out the old alarms

                                                that soldier he takes me behind a bush

                                                and we come to fraternise. 

 

                                   Such love it comes from heaven above

                                   this forceful ardour, this power of love

                                   my friends they cannot believe their eyes

                                   how much I love him, him do not despise

                                                but then came an awful morn

                                                bereft it left me, forlorn

                                                the regiment presented arms

                                                the drums banged out the old alarms

                                                that soldier who’d been my lover sweet

                                                he marched away to the drummers beat.

 

 


 

The Song of the Hours

                                   (Sung by the Chaplain, Scene Three)

 

                                   It was in the first hour of the day

                                   that Jesus Christ was led away

                                   like common murderer, they say

                                   to Pilate, the heathen judge.    

 

                                   Though he in Christ could find no fault

                                   no sign of treason nor assault

                                   proceedings yet he would not halt

                                   and sent Jesus to Herod.       

                                  

                                   At three they took Our Lord, God’s son

                                   scourged him with whips bare flesh upon

                                   crowned him with painful benison

                                   —a crown of thorns.

 

                                   Clad in mock regal robes of state

                                   smitten with clubs and words of hate

                                   given the cross of mankind’s weight

                                   to carry to his death.

 

                                   At six they stripped our saviour bare

                                   nailed to a cross they hung him there

                                   bleeding from wounds in want of care

                                   he prayed, and gave lamentation. 

 

                                   On his either side two felons hung

                                   who joined in the sneers with mocking tongue

                                   Our Lord hung lone midst jeers among

                                   and the sun left the sky. 

 

                                   At nine in anguish Christ gave cry

                                   my God thou hast forsaken me. Why?

                                   But mocking that now his mouth was dry

                                   they gave him a cup of vinegar.

                                  

                                   When Jesus died, all spirit spent

                                   great tremors shook earth’s fundament

                                   the sacred temple curtain rent

                                   and many a boulder shattered.           

                                  

                                   Those thieves at dusk who hung beside

                                    they broke their legs that soon they died

                                   then took a spear to Jesus’ side

                                   and plunged it in. 

 

                                   Both blood and water poured from thence

                                   scorned him they yet without penitence

                                   this son of man, whose recompense

                                   was to save humanity.      

 

 


  

   The Song of the Great Capitulation                                         

                (Sung by Mother Courage, Scene Four)

 

                                   once in years gone by, in my springtime bloom

                                   I fancied that I’d have it all my own sweet way in time

                                   (I wasny jist yer average woman frae a single end, I had ma

                                   looks I was sharp as a tack and I’d ma sights aimed high)

                                   and I’d not take shit, if my soup contained a hair

                                   right away they had to change the plate or else

                                   (—it’s absolutely all or nothin, secondbest is not an option,

                                   yi get what you fight for, yi huvty make your own rules)   

 

                                   but a burdie tweet my ear

                                   psst! in a year

                                   you’ll keep in step like aw the rest

                                   parade in time no be a pest

                                   you’ll tootle away yir own wee tune

                                   march up and doon

                                   right turn! yir mates and aw

                                   they’ll say it’s God’s law

                                   an you’ll no say a thing.

                                     

                                   an afore a  year I had failed the test

                                   I’d swallowed doon ma medicine like aw the rest.                   

                                   two weans roon ma ankles

the price o a loaf skyhigh and aw the rest o it

                                   I was so done in, jist feelin knackered all the time

                                   them in charge, they had me by the short and curlies

                                   (—you have to get by wi other folk, one haun washes the

                                   other yin, it’s nay use bangin yir heid against a brick wall)

                                  

                                   an a burdie tweet my ear

                                   psst! in a year

                                   she’ll keep in step like aw the rest

                                   parade in time not be a pest

                                   she’ll tootle away her own wee tune

                                   march up and doon

                                   right turn! her mates and aw

                                   they’ll say it’s God’s law

                                   an she’ll no say a thing.   

 

                                   I have seen some folk, the heavens above they’d storm

                                   there’s no a star they think too big or jist too faur away

                                   (if you’ve talent you’ll rise, where there’s a will there’s a way,

 anybody can make it to the top)

                                   but I’ll tell you this, if you set off up icy mountain peaks

                                   then you’ll find a wee straw hat is no inuff    

                                   (You have to make out in life wi what you’ve got) 

 

                                   an a burdie tweet my ear

                                   psst! in a year

                                   we’ll keep in step like aw the rest

                                   parade in time no be a pest

                                   we’ll tootle away wir own wee tune

                                   march up and doon

                                   right turn! wir mates and aw

                                   they’ll say it’s God’s law

                         an we’ll no say a thing. 

 

 


                                                                                                                    

Song

(Sung by Mother Courage, Scene Seven)  

 

   For all the talk of war and glory

                                    great vict’ries won, don’t kid yoursel

                                    war’s nothin but a bit of business 

                                    that deals in cheese and boots as well                                 

                                   

                                    Some folk’ll look for quiet quarters

                                    a place tae settle doon they crave

                                    they want tae dig their hoose foundations

                                    instead they dig an early grave 

 

                                    Some rush aboot like bees oot jamjars

                                    a peaceful spot they’re searchin oot

                                    but wance they’re deid I aye jist wunnir

                                    what aw their rush was aw aboot.   

 

 


 

The Song of the Great Souls of the Earth

(sung by the Cook Scene Nine)

 

 Gentlemen, servants, anybody inside! We’re going to sing the song of Solomon, Julius Caesar and other famous folk who ended up in hard times! Understand we are just decent people who have   come on hard times ourselves especially with this winter!                                  

                                                You’ve heard of sage old Solomon

                                                and what of him befell

                                                that man knew all there was to know

                                                yet he hated the day and hour of his birth

                                                and said all things were just a show. 

                                                So great and wise was Solomon

                                                but it’s for sure as night turns day  

                                                folk could see clearly what the trouble was

                                                twas all his wisdom had him end that way

                                                it seems you’re better off with none!                                  

                                   So the song demonstrates, to show you have good qualities can be dangerous in this world. Better a comfy life with a hot                                    breakfast like a plate of soup to which I would not say no. But I’m just a soldier, what use was all that bravery fighting for my                                    country, I’ve nothing to show for it but an empty stomach. Might as well just crapped it and stayed at home! What’s the point?

                                                 You’ve heard of Julius Caesar brave

                                                And what of him befell

                                                they made that man into a god

                                                but then they murdered him as well

                                                for none this so brave man would save

                                                him Brutus stabbed —“You too my son?”

                                                but it’s for sure as night turns day  

                                                folk could see clearly what the trouble was

                                                twas all his bravery’d had him end that way

                                                it seems you’re better off with none!

                                   under his breath  They’re not even looking out. Aloud  Gentlemen,   anybody inside! Alright bravery might not put grub in a man’s                                    belly, but what about honesty then? Surely you deserve your food with that ! Well, what happens?

                                                You’ll know of honest Socrates

                                                he always spoke the truth

                                                you’d think that he’d be thanked for that

                                                but no, they found him evil, handed him 

                                                a glass of hemlock as his drink.

                                                How honest was this people’s son!

                                                but it’s for sure as night turns day  

                                                folk could see clearly what the trouble was

                                                twas all his honesty’d had him end that way

                                                it seems you’re better off with none!                                   

                                   Share and share alike folk say, but what if you’ve nothing left to      share? And folk that do share, if they give away all they’ve got                                    they suffer as well. Charity’s hard to come by, there’s no profit in it!       

                                                 The holy Martin was so kind

                                                he could not need ignore

                                                he saw a poor man in the snow

                                                and he gave his coat to him, what’s more

                                                they simply froze to death, the two of them.

                                                Not here on earth did he get thanks.

                                                but it’s for sure as night turns day  

                                                folk could see clearly what the trouble was

                                                twas all his kindness had him end that way

                                                it seems you’re better off with none!

                                    Welll that’s it. We’re law-abiding citizens here, we keep to ourselves, we don’t loot, murder or burn places to the

                                   ground! We’re just going to sink lower and lower like the song says. No soup for us! Maybe we could fill our stomachs

                                   by robbing and looting! Crime seems to pay these days, virtue certainly doesn’t! That’s the way it is, but it shouldn’t be!

                                                 We stand before you decent folk

                                                who god’s commandments keep

                                                it’s brought us not much help so far

                                                you in there, who warm yourselves by a fire

                                                help us in this our hour of need

                                                we’ve been godfearing folk till now

                                                but it’s for sure as night turns day  

                                                folk can see clearly what the trouble is

                                                twas fear of god that’s had us end this way

                                                it seems you’re better off with none!

 

Voice                        (from above) Come on up, there’s some soup here for you!


 

                                          Lullaby  

           (Sung by Mother Courage, Scene Eleven.  

Daughter Kattrin dead in Mother Courage’s arms) 

 

hushaby ma dearie

nestlin’ in the hay

neighbours’ weans are girnin

oors jist run an play

neighbours weans are clatty

oors are clean an neat

lookin like an angel

sae sweet.

 

neighbours weans go starvin

oors have cake aw day

an if their cake’s too crumbly

aw they need is say

hushaby ma dearie

nestlin in the hay

I’ve wan lay doon in Poland

the other’s faur away. 

 

 

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