In article <3d92a8e5.260101190@news.tiscali.nl>,
 info@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl (Richard Bos) wrote:
[...]
> I find myself wondering whether anyone's translated "Mijnheer de
> President" into English yet, and if not, whether it wouldn't be a good
> idea to do so.

For the curious to one of the best dutch pop songs ever, here goes a 
poor attempt (no attempt at rhyming but it should scan. I tried this 
at home):


Mister President, have good night [1]
I hope you'll sleep well in your beautiful white house
Please don't think too much about the distant coasts
Where your lads are, alone and far from home
And please forget those fourtysix killed people
The mistake they made with the bombing last week
And forget about the fourth of the ten commandments
Which you, a good christian, surely know

Stop thinking about the soldiers at the front
Dying lonely in the distant tropical night
The weak pacifist clique can stay talking
Mister President, sleep well.

Keep on dreaming about triumph and victory 
Keep on dreaming 'bout your ideal of peace
Which has never been accomplished by bloodshed and killing
Keep on dreaming that you will do it this time
But don't think about the people who are starving [2]
How many women, and children have been killed?
Keep on dreaming that you'll draw the longest straw [3]
And don't believe a contradicting word


The bajonets with their bloody handles 
Guarding far away, obeying all your words
For the honour and glory of the free west
Mister President, sleep well

But don't get scared too much, when in your dreams
innocent victims are all there before your eyes
Who, far away, have been killed in the fights
And are asking you how long this will go on
And I'm sure, by now, that you must be knowing
That there's people who are sick of the violence
Who cannot forget the blood and horror
And for who a human life still counts

Please don't dream too much about those dead people
Keep on dreaming about power and triumph
Please don't think about all those peace wishes
Mister President, sleep well!

(orig. lyrics by Lennart Nygh)

End. Just a quick translation, really, but you'll get the idea.

The songs starts quietly, but goes more and more angry by the end, 
with the music getting more powerfull. You have to spit out the last 
"sleep well". It is a beautiful song, and can still be used (the 
original is from somewhere in the 70s iirc).

The difficult spots:

[1] The most important word (as it's from the title), "welterusten"
     means good night and this doesn't scan with the tune. 

[2] "verrekken". Not really sure about how to translate that. It's 
    sort of "bugger them", like "let them eat cake", who cares about 
    them.

[3] "aan het langste eind trekken". I guessed this was pretty accurate.

Michel, shivering because of the pure beauty of the original song
     reply-to sanity at affordable-hedgehogs dot co dot uk valid

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