Marx Augustine

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Adam Brenner : Dear Augustine wakes up in the plague pit. Painting from 1841

Marx Augustin or Der liebe Augustin (actually Markus Augustin * 1643 in Vienna , † 11. March 1685 ) was a ballad singer , piper , bagpiper , extempore poet and city original . The ballad “ O du dear Augustin ” made it proverbial and a so-called winged word . To this day, the character of dear Augustine is the epitome of the fact that you can get through anything with humor .


Little is certain about Augustine's life. Augustin is said to have been very popular because he cheered up the population of the city with his shoddy songs, especially during the plague in Vienna in 1679, which is why he was popularly known only as "Dear Augustin".

Augustin is said to have grown up as the son of a run-down landlord and was therefore dependent on moving with his bagpipes from one dive bar to the next at an early age , although only a little of the money earned should have left the respective pub - according to tradition, he should also be a " a good drinker ”.

Legend has it that 36-year-old Augustin was once again drunk during the plague epidemic in 1679 and slept off his intoxication somewhere in the gutter. Shech servants , who had to collect the victims of the epidemic at the time, found him, thought him dead and brought the schnapps corpse along with the plague corpses on their collection cart in front of the city wall. There they threw their entire load into an open mass grave. This plague pit is said to have been located near the church of St. Ulrich am Neubau (today's seventh district of Vienna ), right next to the place where the Augustin Fountain stands today. As was customary in the situation at the time, the grave was not closed immediately, but temporarily covered with lime in order to receive further plague victims later. The next day, Augustine crawled among the corpses and played on his bagpipes until rescuers pulled him out of the pit.

After that, Augustin is said to have recited his experience as a bailiff and lived quite well from it. The legend of dear Augustine is perhaps due to his own account. Contemporary sources report that Augustine emerged from the funeral pit. Abraham a Sancta Clara mentions the event in his "Well-Filled Wine Cellar" to warn against alcoholism. Documentary support for the legend is only an entry in the city death inspection protocol, which records an "Augustin N.".

Augustin was buried in the Nikolai cemetery in Vienna , after which his remains were probably transferred to the Sankt Marx cemetery .

"O dear Augustine"

Instrumental version
The first stanza in Josef Pommer's songbook for the Germans in Austria (1905)

The folk song O du dear Augustine was first recorded in Vienna around 1800. The very widespread melody is older, however, as documented in a music manuscript in 1720. Augustine himself is sometimes named as the author, but the origin is unclear. The mocking text, however, reproduces the gallows humor that the Viennese remember:

O dear Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
O dear Augustin, everything is gone.

Money is gone, man (girl) is gone,
everything is gone , Augustin.
O dear Augustine,
everything is gone.

Skirt is gone, stick is gone,
Augustin lies in the dirt,
O dear Augustin,
everything is gone.

And even rich Vienna,
it's like Augustine;
Weep with me in the same way,
everything is gone!

Every day was a celebration,
now what? Plague, the plague!
Just a big funeral party, that's
the rest.

Augustin, Augustin,
just lie down in the grave!
O dear Augustine,
everything is gone!

Predecessor and later artistic fabric processing

Song and text variations, musical theater


  • In 1940, the film Der liebe Augustin showed the character, regardless of the legend, as a bailey singer, located in the Metternich era (director: E. W. Emo , title role: Paul Hörbiger ).
  • The feature film Der liebe Augustin by Rolf Thiele was made in 1960 and featured some young actors who later became the first of the German-speaking actors.


  • Daniel Defoe describes - decades before the first evidence of the famous song O du dear Augustin  - a very similar person in his book Die Pest zu London , published in 1722 : A flute player named John Hayward at the time of the plague in London in 1665 , who the people during the time the plague entertained with happy songs and jokes and was taken asleep for a plague-dead man when he was intoxicated with alcohol or as a result of excessive eating and was transported on a cart with the other corpses, but woke up shortly before he was thrown into the mass grave. A man of that name, sexton of St. Stephen's Church in Cole Street, died nineteen years after the plague in London, on October 5, 1684. According to another legend, since nobody wanted to help him, he temporarily took over all the burials of the plague in his parish alone.
  • The song is mentioned in the fairy tale The Swineherd by Hans Christian Andersen . It is quoted there in German in his Danish fairy tale "Svinedrengen" from 1839. There it says: "Oh, you dear Augustin, everything is væk, væk, væk!"
  • Another figure with the same name, namely that of a music box maker in the late eighteenth century on Lake Constance, the author Horst Wolfram Geißler has in his 1921 novel Der liebe Augustin. The story of an easy life given space.

Places of remembrance

On the square in Wiener Neustiftgasse at the corner of Kellermanngasse , colloquially known as Strohplatzl for centuries , more recently also called Augustinplatzl , a monument was erected in Augustin's honor and unveiled on September 4th, 1908. The Augustin Fountain consists of the base with the eponymous fountain and a sculpture of the figure of Augustine, originally made of bronze, standing on it. During the Second World War , the bronze Augustin - as with many similar fountains in Vienna  - suffered the fate of being melted down for the production of war material. Shortly afterwards, the sarcastic inscription is said to have been placed on the base :

The black plague I have escaped,
the brown has taken me.

In 1952, the statue that had been missing since the war was replaced on the base. The new sandstone sculpture by Josef Humplick was unveiled on October 18, 1952. The figure is leaning against a stone tablet, on the back of which an inscription indicates that it has been missing for years:

I was gone. -
Now it's
me again.
And now
listen to
my songs.

At least since the beginning of the 2000s, there was also official talk of Augustinplatz ; After a complete renovation of the entire traffic area on both sides of Kellermanngasse and the inclusion of a side lane branching diagonally from Neustiftgasse to Kellermanngasse, the redesigned Grätzlplatz was opened on December 1, 2007. In 2008 the official naming of the traffic area in Augustinplatz was decided. The name refers not only to Marx Augustin, dear Augustin, but also (first mentioned on the additional table) to the singer Liane Augustin (1928–1978). On May 26, 2009, the street sign and the additional sign were unveiled in the presence of Liane Augustin's daughter.

A relief with the figure of Augustin and the accompanying lettering "Here sang his song for the first time the love of Augustin" is attached to the outer wall of the house on the Viennese meat market in which the Greek bar is located and in which Augustin allegedly performed regularly.


Web links

Commons : Marx Augustin  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Manuscript labeled Dantz booklet Johann Friedrich Dreyßer 1720 , Bayerische Staatsbibliothek 1578. ( Digitized in: Digital Collections. )
  2. Leo Fall: Dear Augustin. Operetta in 3 acts. Dreiklang-Drei-Masken-Verlag, Munich 1963 (together with Rudolf Bernauer and Ernst Welisch ).
  3. HC Andersens Eventyr og Historier [… fairy tales and stories], ed. by Hans Brix and Anker Jensen, Volume 2, Copenhagen 1931, p. 18. Cf. Otto Holzapfel : Lied index: The older German-language popular song tradition ( online version on the folk music archive of the Upper Bavarian district ; in PDF format; ongoing updates) with further information.
  4. Horst Wolfram Geissler: The dear Augustin. The story of an easy life. Niemeyer, Hameln 1998, ISBN 3-8271-0799-7 .
  5. Note: The street in this area was finally called Strohplatzl after several renaming . When the entire street between the Ring and the Gürtel was renamed Neustiftgasse (upper and lower Neustiftgasse) in 1862 , the name disappeared as an official designation, but remained colloquial.
  6. October 18, 1952: The new love Augustin. In: Historical review of the town hall correspondence , reports from October 1952, accessed on July 31, 2018.
  7. The new love Augustin . In: Arbeiter-Zeitung . Vienna October 19, 1952, p. 4 , in the From day to day section ( - the open online archive - digitized).
  8. District administration for the new building: redesign of Augustinplatz. ( Memento from October 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: Magistrate of the City of Vienna (Ed.), December 1, 2007.
  9. District administration for the new building: Celebration for the naming of Augstinplatz. ( Memento from February 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: Magistrate of the City of Vienna (Ed.), May 26, 2009.