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Barber, Edwin Atlee, 1851-1916 / Tulip ware of the Pennsylvania-German potters : an historical sketch of the art of slip-decoration in the United States
(1903)

Chapter II: The Pennsylvania-German dialect and literature,   pp. [17]-28


Page 27

OF THE PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS
"Die lange Desks rings an der Wand-
Die grose Schieler drum;
Uf cener Seit die grose Iad,
Un dort die Bluwe net so bleed-
Guk, wie sie piepe rum!"
"'Twas here I first attended school,
When I was very small;
There was the Master on his stool,
There was his whip and there his rule,-
I seem to see it all.
"The long desks ranged along the walls-
With books and inkstands crowned;
Here on this side the large girls sat,
And there the tricky boys on that-
See, how they peep around!"
Another method of transmitting ideas, however, was
resorted to for the amusement of the common people, in the
absence of a popular literature during the eighteenth century,
which seems to have been entirely overlooked by historians.
This may be termed their ceramic literature. By the union
of expressive pictographs and inscribed words, the workers
in clay recorded the customs of the people, much of their
folk-lore and their artistic progress. By means of these ce-
ramic inscriptions they preserved many of the old German
sayings or sprichwiirtcr, which otherwise would have been
lorgotten.
They adhered closely to the traditions of an art which
had flourished in the fatherland for centuries, using the same
time-honored methods and decorative motives in this, their
adopted land, as had been employed by their forefathers for
generations. As they were practically isolated from other
peoples in the community which they established, no extra-
neous influences penetrated to modify their homely but virile
art. And on their earthen wares they inscribed, in the dialect
of the people, the homely proverbs and mottoes and rude
27


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