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Des letzten Kaisers Rheinfahrt

Language: German (Deutsch)

Der Sänger ruht auf schroffem Stein,
Umstralt [sic] vom Morgenlicht,
Er schaut hinunter, wo der Rhein
Die stolzen Wellen bricht:
Horch! durch die Lüfte braust ein Sturm
Von Jubel und Gesang,
Und weit hinab von Thurm zu Thurm
Tönt Feierglocken-Klang. --
Nun rauscht die Flut am Felsenriff
Empor in weißem Schaum,
Da fleucht heran ein gold'nes Schiff,
Schön wie ein Märchentraum;
Drauf steht manch' herrliche Gestalt
Um einen hohen Gast,
Und eine Adlerflagge wallt
Herab vom schlanken Mast.
Vorbei -- vorbei – "was weinest du
O Sänger ernst und bleich --?"
""Ich dacht' indeß in stiller Ruh
An's alte deutsche Reich,
Da sank mir eine Thräne nur
In's tiefe Wellengrab;
Denn ach! sein letzter Kaiser fuhr
Dort auf dem Rhein hinab!""

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Confirmed with Rheinische Lieder und Sagen von Adelheid von Stolterfoth, Frankfurt am Main: Druck und Verlag von Johann David Sauerländer, 1839, pages 154-155

Submitted by Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "The Rhine-Journey of the last emperor", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2016-01-04.
Last modified: 2016-01-04 12:57:22
Line count: 24
Word count: 119

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The Rhine‑Journey of the last emperor

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

The minstrel rests upon the rugged rocks,
The morning light sending its beams all around him;
He gazes down to where the Rhine’s
Proud waves break:
Hark! through the air roars a storm
Of rejoicing and singing,
And far below from tower to tower
Festive bells ring out. --
Now the waters surge at the rocky cliff,
[Surge] upward in white foam;
A golden ship approaches rapidly,
As beautiful as a fairy-tale dream;
Upon it stands many a glorious figure
Surrounding a noble guest,
And a flag with an eagle hangs
Down from the slender mast.
Past – past -- "why do you weep,
Oh minstrel solemn and pale --?"
""In silent repose I was thinking the while
Of the old German realm;
Thereupon only a single one of my tears fell
Down into the deep grave of the waves;
For ah! [the realm’s] last emperor passed by
Down there upon the Rhine!""

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on


Text added to the website: 2016-01-04.
Last modified: 2016-01-04 12:57:53
Line count: 24
Word count: 151