The Sorting Song of 1982 (By Severus Snape.)

A sinister little number to the tune of 'Mac the Knife' that had half the firsties sneaking back to the boats ; and the other half – mainly Ravenclaws and Slytherins (with whom it was a cult
hit) tormentlng them with Louis Armstrong impressions. (The Hat did a Lotte Lenya.)

Disclaimer : JKR invented Sorting Songs. Brecht and Weil should have written them.

I'm the hat that
Reads your mind, dears,
And there's nothing
You can hide.
I will put you
In your place, which
Seven years you
Must abide.

I am skilled in
The detection
Of the crucial
Inner trait
That determines
My selection,
Making Charac-
ter your Fate.

See the Gryffindor
Whose roaring
Opens wide that
Fearsome face.
But the Slyther-
in keeps venom
In a much less
Obvious place.

And the Huffle-
puff so gentle,
Never preda-
tor but prey;
Whilst the Raven-
claw soars highest,
Asking 'Why?' far
From the fray.

Now that Peacetime
Follows Wartime,
All the conflicts
Are dismissed.
But in learning,
And in yearning,
House distinctions
Still persist.

So the Lions
Work for glory,
But the Eagles
Learn for joy.
With the Badgers
Cramming's duty,
For the Serpents
It's a ploy.

Know that Gryffin-
dors in love are
Not a force to
Be ignored.
Whereas Raven-
claws are guarded –
They're adored.

And the Huffle-
puff's affections,
Are most steady
And serene.
For the Slytherin
And Obsession
Know no mean.

If Determin-
ism galls you,
Understand this
Is your choice.
I'm compelled and
Spelled to suit you,
So you might as
Well rejoice.

(Yes whichever
House you go to,
You were meant to,
So rejoice.)


If you don't know the original tune, the
meter will seem very odd. Go and find the
tune. It's wonderful : infinitely laid-back
menace. Mr Sphinx says I've resorted to
far more enjambent – letting words and
phrase spill over the line divisions – than
the original German does. Well, no-body's
perfect ; and canon Snape, judging by the
bottle-choice verse-riddle in Philosppher's
Stone, was born under a Rhyming planet,
but definitely not a Scanning one.
Verses 3 and 4 (House identities in
war) are very close to the original, judging
by the English translation I know :

See the shark with
Teeth like razors
Wreathed across his
Open face,
And MacHeath has
Got a knife, but
Not in such an
Obvious place.

See the shark how
Red his fins are
As he slashes
At his prey.
But Mac Heath wears
White kid gloves which
Give the mini-
mum away.

Severus, as a new teacher, is on relatively
good behaviour here lyrics-wise.

The date for the song assumes that Snape
had to do verse duty in the first or second
year of his teaching career – ie, not long
after Voldemort's defeat. Muggle Britain,
ironically enough, was still fighting then –
or had only just stopped. Thatcher
managed to get a populist war going in the
Falklands and snitched the next election on it. She declaimed 'Rejoice! Rejoice!'
when Britain was 'won' that war.