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The LiederNet Archive

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Archibald Douglas

Language: German (Deutsch)

"Ich hab' es getragen sieben Jahr,
Und ich kann es nicht tragen mehr,
Wo immer die Welt am schönsten war,
Da war sie öd' und leer.

Ich will hintreten vor sein Gesicht
In dieser Knechtsgestalt,
Er kann meine Bitte versagen nicht,
Ich bin ja [worden]1 alt.

Und trüg' er noch den alten Groll
Frisch wie am ersten Tag,
So komme was da kommen soll,
Und komme was da mag!"

Graf Douglas spricht's; am Weg ein Stein
Lud ihn zu harter Ruh'.
Er sah in Wald und Feld hinein,
Die Augen fielen ihm zu.

Er trug einen Harnisch rostig und schwer,
Darüber ein Pilgerkleid.
Da horch vom Waldrand scholl es her,
Wie von Hörnern und Jagdgeleit,

Und Kies und Staub aufwirbelte dicht,
Her jagte [Meut']2 und Mann,
Und ehe der Graf sich aufgericht't,
Waren Roß und Reiter heran.

König Jakob saß auf hohem Roß,
Graf Douglas grüßte tief,
Dem König das Blut in die Wangen schoß,
Der Douglas aber rief:

"König Jakob, schaue mich gnädig an
Und höre mich in Geduld,
Was meine Brüder dir angetan,
Es war nicht meine Schuld.

Denk' nicht an den alten Douglasneid,
Der trotzig dich bekriegt,
Denk' lieber an deine Kinderzeit,
Wo ich dich auf Knieen gewiegt,

Denk' lieber zurück an Stirlings Schloß,
Wo ich Spielzeug dir geschnitzt,
Dich gehoben auf deines Vaters Roß
Und Pfeile dir zugespitzt.

Denk' lieber zurück an Linlithgow,
An den See und den Vogelherd,
Wo ich dich fischen und jagen froh
Und schwimmen und springen gelehrt.

Und denk' an alles, was einstens war,
Und sänftige deinen Sinn,
Ich hab' es [gebüßet]3 sieben Jahr,
Daß ich ein Douglas bin!"

"Ich seh' dich nicht, Graf Archibald,
Ich hör' deine Stimme nicht,
Mir ist, als ob ein Rauschen im Wald
Von alten Zeiten spricht.

Mir klingt das Rauschen süß und traut,
Ich lausch' ihm immer noch,
Dazwischen aber klingt es laut:
Er ist ein Douglas doch!

Ich seh' dich nicht, ich [höre]4 dich nicht,
Das ist alles was ich kann,
Ein Douglas vor meinem Angesicht
Wär' ein verlorner Mann!"

König Jakob gab seinem Roß den Sporn,
Bergan [ging jetzt]5 sein Ritt.
Graf Douglas faßte den Zügel vorn
Und hielt mit dem Könige Schritt.

Der Weg war steil, und die Sonne stach,
Sein Panzerhemd war schwer,
Doch ob er schier zusammenbrach,
Er lief doch nebenher.

"König Jakob, ich war dein Seneschall,
Ich will es nicht fürder sein,
Ich will nur tränken dein Roß im Stall,
Und ihm schütten die Körner ein,

Und will ihm selber machen die Streu
Und es tränken mit eigner Hand,
Nur laß mich atmen wieder aufs neu'
Die Luft im Vaterland.

Und willst du nicht, so hab' einen Mut,
Und ich will es danken dir,
Und zieh' dein Schwert, und triff mich gut,
Und laß mich sterben hier!"

König Jakob sprang herab vom Pferd,
Hell leuchtete sein Gesicht,
Aus der Scheide zog er sein bretes Schwert,
Aber fallen ließ er nicht:

"Nimm's hin, nimm's hin und trag' es aufs neu'
Und bewache mir meine Ruh';
Der ist in tiefster Seele treu,
Wer die Heimat so liebt wie du!

Zu Roß, wir reiten nach Linlithgow,
Und du reitest an meiner Seit';
Da wollen wir fischen und jagen froh,
Als wie in alter Zeit."

Translation(s): ENG FRE ITA

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Loewe: "worden so"
2 Loewe: "Meute"
3 Loewe: "getragen"
4 Loewe: "hör'"
5 Loewe: "jetzt ging"

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):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , title 1: "Archibald Douglas", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Harald Krebs) , title 1: "Archibald Douglas", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title 1: "Archibald Douglas", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:28

Line count: 92
Word count: 531

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Archibald Douglas

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

"I have borne it for seven years,
And I cannot bear it anymore.
Wherever the world was most beautiful,
There it was bleak and empty.
I shall come before him
In a servant's guise.
He cannot refuse my request;
I have grown1 old.
And if he should still nurture the old grudge,
Fresh as on the first day,
Then come what must come,
And come what may!"
Count Douglas says it.  By the wayside a rock
Invited him to hard rest.
He looked into the forest and the fields,
His eyes closed [in slumber].
He wore a rusty and heavy suit of armour,
And over it a pilgrim's garb.
There, listen -- from the edge of the woods rang out
Sounds of horns and a hunting procession.
And gravel and dust thickly swirl about,
Pack and [hunts] men swiftly approach,
And before the Count can sit up,
Horses and riders are upon him.
King James sat on his high horse.
Count Douglas bowed low.
The blood shot into the King's cheeks,
But the Douglas called out:
"King James, look upon me with mercy,
Look upon me with patience.
What my brothers did to you
Was not my fault.
Think not of the old Douglas jealousy
That stubbornly fought against you;
Think rather of your childhood days,
When I dandled you on my knees.
Think rather of Stirling Castle,
Where I carved you toys,
Where I lifted you onto your father's horse,
And sharpened arrows for you.
Think rather of Linlithgow,
Of the lake and the bird breeding grounds
Where I taught you to fish and hunt happily,
And to swim and dive.
And think of everything that once was,
And calm your spirit.
[For seven years I have atoned
For being a Douglas!"2
"I see you not, Count Archibald,
I do not hear your voice.
It is as if a rustling in the woods
Tells of old times.
The rustling sounds sweet and familiar to me,
I still listen to it.
But amidst it there rings out loudly:
He is nevertheless a Douglas!
I see you not, I hear you not,
That is all I can do.
A Douglas before my face
Would be a doomed man!"
King James spurred his horse,
His ride continued uphill.
Count Douglas grasped his reins
And kept pace with the King.
The road was steep and the sun stabbed down,
His coat of armour was heavy.
But although he was close to collapsing,
He kept running beside him.
"King James, I was your seneschal.
I shall no longer be it.
I shall just give your horse water in the stable
And shake out some feed for him,
And prepare the straw for him
And give him to drink with my own hand --
Only let me once more breathe
The air of my fatherland.
And if you will not permit it, then take courage,
And I shall thank you for it:
Draw your sword and strike me accurately,
And let me die here!"
King James sprang from his horse,
His face shone brightly.
From the scabbard he drew his broad sword,
But he did not strike with it.
"Take it, take it and bear it once more
And guard my rest;
He is loyal deep in his heart
Who loves his home as dearly as you!
Mount!  We ride to Linlithgow,
And you shall ride by my side;
There we shall fish and hunt with joy,
As we did long ago!"

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Loewe adds "so"
2 Loewe: "I have borne it for seven years / That I am a Douglas!"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2009 by Harald 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
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898), "Archibald Douglas" FRE ITA
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Johann Karl Gottfried Loewe. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2009-11-23 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:28

Line count: 92
Word count: 575