C. Heklossohn: “The Three Tailors”

Excerpt, “The Book of German Songs from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century.” Translated and Edited by H. W. Dulcken. London: Ward and Lock. 1856.




Three tailors came o’er the Rhine once on a time,

And put up with mine host at Ingelheim,

On the Rhine, on the Rhine.

They had in their pouches no penny to pay.

And yet most tremendously thirsty were they,

All for wine, all for wine.


” Mine host, not a penny of money have we.

Yet far through the world have we travell’d all three,

By the Rhine, by the Rhine ;

And each one among us has learnt a thing

That we’ll teach to you, and good luck ’twill bring.

All for wine, all for wine.”


” My lads, I will not be be-fool’d this time,

For I am the host of Ingelheim,

On the Rhine, on the Rhine ;

And so you can’t carry your masterpiece through,

I’ll break ev’ry one of your sconces for you,

‘Stead of wine, ‘stead of wine.”


The first lad caught up a ray of light.

And threaded it through his needle bright,

By the Rhine, by the Rhine ;

And he mended a broken glass so well,

That, which way the seam ran, none could tell.

Through the wine, through the wine.


The second tailor a gnat espied,

That over his nose so merrily hied,

To the Rhine, to the Rhine.

This gnat a hole in its stocking had worn,

Which, small as it was, the tailor did darn.

All for wine, all for wine.


The third in his hand took a needle tall.

And fixed it firmly and deep in the wall.

By the Rhine, by the Rhine;

Then the lad through the eye of the needle did spring.

Excepting that once, I ne’er saw such a thing.

All for wine, all for wine.


Quoth the innkeeper, “

Surely such feats ne’er were played

So to you, my young masters, my thanks must be paid,

On the Rhine, on the Rhine.”

He took up a thimble and filled to the brim,

” Now, lads, ye may drink, till your heads all swim,

Of my wine, of my wine.”