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The LiederNet Archive

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Es war mal ein Ritter trübselig und...

Language: German (Deutsch)

Es war mal ein Ritter trübselig und stumm,
Mit hohlen, schneeweißen Wangen;
Er schwankte und schlenderte schlotternd herum,
In dumpfen Träumen befangen.
Er war so hölzern, so täppisch, so links,
Die Blümlein und Mägdlein, die kicherten rings,
Wenn er stolpernd vorbeigegangen.

Oft saß er im finstersten Winkel zu Haus;
Er hatt sich vor Menschen verkrochen.
Da streckte er sehnend die Arme aus,
Doch hat er kein Wörtlein gesprochen.
Kam aber die Mitternachtstunde heran,
Ein seltsames Singen und Klingen begann -
An die Türe da hört er es pochen.

Da kommt seine Liebste geschlichen herein
Im rauschenden Wellenschaumkleide,
Sie blüht und glüht wie ein Röselein,
Ihr Schleier ist eitel Geschmeide.
Goldlocken umspielen die schlanke Gestalt,
Die Äuglein grüßen mit süßer Gewalt -
In die Arme sinken sich beide.

Der Ritter umschlingt sie mit Liebesmacht,
Der Hölzerne steht jetzt in Feuer,
Der Blasse errötet, der Träumer erwacht,
Der Blöde wird freier und freier.
Sie aber, sie hat ihn gar schalkhaft geneckt,
Sie hat ihm ganz leise den Kopf bedeckt
Mit dem weißen, demantenen Schleier.

In einen kristallenen Wasserpalast
Ist plötzlich gezaubert der Ritter.
Er staunt, und die Augen erblinden ihm fast
Vor alle dem Glanz und Geflitter.
Doch hält ihn die Nixe umarmet gar traut,
Der Ritter ist Bräut'gam, die Nixe ist Braut,
Ihre Jungfraun spielen die Zither.

Sie spielen und singen, und singen so schön,
Und heben zum Tanze die Füße;
Dem Ritter, dem wollen die Sinne vergehn,
Und fester umschließt er die Süße -
Da löschen auf einmal die Lichter aus,
Der Ritter sitzt wieder ganz einsam zu Haus,
In dem düstern Poetenstübchen.

Translation(s): ENG FRE FRE FRE

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Heinrich Heine, Buch der Lieder, Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg, 1827, page 109.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Pierre Mathé [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)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ENG ; composed by Harold E. Samuel.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2008-04-01 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2016-12-02 15:56:44

Line count: 42
Word count: 263

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There once was a knight

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

There once was a knight full of sorrow and doubt,
With cheeks white as snow; indecision
Would cause him to totter and stagger about
As though he were trailing a vision.
And he was so wooden, so awkward and dumb
That flowers and maidens, whene'er he would come,
Would watch him and laugh in derision.

And often he'd sit in his gloom-shrouded place
(From men and their joys he had broken)
And hold out his arms in a yearning embrace,
Though never a word would be spoken ...
But just as the hours to midnight now ran
A marvelous singing and ringing began,
With a knock at his door for a token.

And lo, his love enters--a zephyr that blows;
Of shimmering sea-foam her dress is;
She glows and she grows like the bud of a rose,
Her veil gleams with gems, and her tresses
Fall to her feet in golden array;
Her eyes are impassioned. The lovers give way
And yield to each other's caresses.

He holds her so close that his heart almost breaks.
The wooden one now is afire;
The pallid one reddens, the dreamer awakes,
The bashful is bold with desire.
But she, she coquettes and she teases, and then
With her magical veil she must blind him again.
Who blindly does nought but admire.

In a watery palace of crystalline light
She has witched him, and all that was bitter
Grows golden and fair, all is magic and bright;
His eyes are bemused with the glitter.
The nixie still presses him close to her side;
The knight is the bridegroom, the nixie the bride--
Her maidens keep playing the zither.

Oh sweetly they sing and sweetly they play;
Fair feet in the dances are shown there;
The knight in his ardor is swooning away
And tighter he clasps her, his own there ...
Then all in an instant is plunged into gloom,
And our hero is sitting once more in his room,
In his poet's dim garret--alone there!

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Based on

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

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2009-03-13 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:58

Line count: 42
Word count: 333