Translation by Alma Strettell (1856 - 1939) and by Elisabeth of Wied, Queen Consort of King Carol I of Romania (1843 - 1916)

The dagger at my belt it dances
Language: English  after the Romanian (Română) 
The dagger at my belt it dances
  Whene'er I dance;
But when I drink the foaming wine-cup,
  Then it grows sad;
For it is thirsty too, the dagger,
  It thirsts for blood! 

"Give, give me drink," it saith, "O Master,
For if I wear no stain of crimson,
The sunshine is ashamed to glitter
  Upon my blade. 
Then give, that I too may be drunken
With the warm blood that flows from wounds. 
The maids will find thy kisses sweeter
When thou hast quenched my thirst,
And I shall dance, when thou art dancing,
  More gaily at thy belt." 

Did I but heed my dagger, now at night-time,
  I should go find thee, love. 
Beneath thy shift I should seek out so deftly
  The spot where beats thy heart,
And pour the blood's red warmth out for my dagger,
Because thy kiss, O love, thou has denied me,
And because I for that thy kiss have thirsted,
Even as the dagger thirsteth for thy blood. 

Then will the sunshine sparkle and be merry,
  Seeing thy red young blood,
Yea, and the merry sunbeams, they shall dry it,
  Together with my tears. 
My tears and thy blood shall flow together,
  Mingling like rivers twain;
And though thy blood by hot, yet can it never
  Be burning as my tears. 
Nay, but thy blood will wonder when it feeleth
  How burning are my tears.

The dagger at my belt it dances
  Whene'er I dance;
But when I drink the foaming wine-cup,
  Then it grows sad;
For it is thirsty too, the dagger,
  It thirsts for blood! 

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


Researcher for this text: Thomas Dawkins

This text was added to the website: 2004-01-20
Line count: 40
Word count: 264