by Richard Pohl (1826 - 1896)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch)  after the German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
 In der hohen Hall' saß König Sifrid:
 "Ihr Harfner, wer weiß mir das schönste Lied?"
 Und ein Jüngling trat aus der Schar behende,
 Die Harf' in der Hand, das Schwert an der Lende:

 "Drei Lieder weiß ich; den ersten Sang,
 Den hast du ja wohl vergessen schon lang:
 Meinen Bruder hast du meuchlings erstochen,
 Und aber, hast ihn meuchlings erstochen!

 Das andre Lied, das hab' ich erdacht
 In einer finstern und stürmischen Nacht:
 Mußt mit mir fechten auf Leben und Sterben,
 Und aber, mußt fechten auf Leben und Sterben!"

 Da lehnt er die Harfe an den Tisch,
 Und sie zogen beide die Schwerter frisch
 Und sie fochten lange mit wildem Schalle,
 Bis der König sank in der hohen Halle.

 "Nun sing' ich das dritte und schönste Lied,
 Das werd' ich nimmer zu singen müd':
 König Sifrid liegt in seinem rotem Blut,
 Und aber, liegt in seim roten Blut!"

König (für sich)
 Wer ist der Harfner? 
[ Die heimliche That hat Keiner geseh'n,
[ das Lied ist Verrath, das Lied ist Verrath!
[ Das schallt wie Rache, das klingt wie Blut!
[ Der König erblasste, das endet nicht gut!


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)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Ballad", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Ballade", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-07-19
Line count: 28
Word count: 190

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 King Sifrid sat in the high hall:
 "You harpers, which of you knows the most beautiful song?"
 And a youth stepped nimbly forth from the throng,
 His harp in his hand, his sword at his side:

 "I know three songs; the first song
 You have likely already forgotten long:
 You stabbed and killed my brother in a dastardly fashion,
 And again [I say]: you stabbed and killed him in a dastardly fashion!

 The second song, that one I made up
 In a dark and stormy night:
 You must fight me in mortal combat,
 And again [I say]: fight me in mortal combat!"

 Then he leaned the harp up against the table,
 And they both drew their swords briskly
 And fought long with wild clangs,
 Till the king sank down in the high hall.

 "Now I shall sing the third and most beautiful song,
 One that I shall never grow tired of singing:
 King Sifrid lies in his red blood,
 And again [I say]: lies in his red blood!"

King (to himself)
 Who is the harper?
 [ No one saw that secret deed,
 [ The song is betrayal, the song is treason!
 [ That rings out like revenge, that sounds like bloodlust!
 [ The king grew pale, that shall not end well!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 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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This text was added to the website: 2014-05-23
Line count: 28
Word count: 213