I had never heard or heard of "Es war einmal ein feiner Knab'" until coming across it in
Lieder, Songs und Gospels 3
. It is an unbelievable (for these days at the end of the 1900's that is) story of a young man who deeply loves his beloved for seven years and even longer. His love for her has no bounds as the song goes. That being the case does not prevent him from leaving for distant lands where he has wealth and property. His eternal beloved becomes ill and is lying at death's door. When he hears of this he hurries to her deathbed into which he climbs in to keep her warm and he implores her not to go so fast as their love and constancy should keep on going. All is to no avail however and she koofers it or zots off, just to use a little outdated naval parlance. Our young lover then has to find six other fine young men to bury her and he goes into eternal mourning.
All jolly stuff is it not dear surfer! A great eight-verse song to sing.