by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Ich weiß eine alte Kunde
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Ich weiß eine alte Kunde,
Die hallet dumpf und trüb:
Ein Ritter liegt liebeswunde,
Doch treulos ist sein Lieb.

Als treulos muß er verachten
Die eigne Herzliebste sein,
Als schimpflich muß er betrachten
Die eigne Liebespein.

Er möcht in die Schranken reiten
Und rufen die Ritter zum Streit:
"Der mag sich zum [Kampfe]1 bereiten,
Wer mein Lieb eines Makels zeiht!"

Da würden wohl alle schweigen,
Nur nicht sein eigener Schmerz;
Da müßt er die Lanze neigen
[Wider 's]2 eigne [klagende]3 Herz.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Backer-Grøndahl: "Kampf"
2 Backer-Grøndahl: "wieder's"
3 Backer-Grøndahl: "klagendes" (likely a typo)


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 Danish (Dansk), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Agathe Ursula Backer-Grøndahl.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Wilhelm Aleksandrovich Sorgenfrei (1882 - 1938) ; composed by Edison Vasilyevich Denisov, G. A. Goldenberg.

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le chevalier blessé", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 81

I know an old story
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I know an old story,
It echoes dully and drearily:
A knight lies wounded by love,
But his beloved is faithless.

As faithless he must scorn
His own heart’s beloved,
As disgraceful he must regard
His own pain of loving.

He wants to ride into the arena
And summon the knights to a duel:
"He who accuses my beloved of a flaw,
Let him prepare himself for battle!"

Thereupon all would fall silent,
Only not his own pain;
Thereupon he must turn his lance
Upon his own lamenting heart.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Eine alte Kunde" = "An old story"
"Der liebeswunde Ritter" = "The knight wounded by love"
"Der wunde Ritter" = "The wounded knight"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2019-10-27
Line count: 16
Word count: 89