by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Lau Kanen

Es war ein König in Thule
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG IRI ITA POR
Es war ein König in Thule
Gar treu bis an [das]1 Grab,
Dem sterbend seine Buhle
Einen goldnen Becher gab.

Es ging ihm nichts darüber,
Er leert' ihn jeden Schmaus;
Die Augen gingen ihm über,
So oft er trank daraus.

Und als er kam zu sterben,
Zählt' er seine Städt' im Reich,
[Gönnt']2 alles [seinem]3 Erben,
Den Becher nicht zugleich.

Er saß beim Königsmahle,
Die Ritter um ihn her,
[Auf hohem]4 Vätersaale,
Dort auf dem Schloß am Meer.

Dort stand der alte Zecher,
Trank letzte Lebensgluth,
Und warf den [heil'gen]5 Becher
Hinunter in die Fluth.

Er sah ihn stürzen, trinken,
Und sinken tief ins Meer.
Die Augen täten ihm sinken;
Trank nie einen Tropfen mehr.

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View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke, Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand, Erster Band, Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cottaschen Buchhandlung, 1827, pages 187-188; and with Faust. Ein Fragment. in Goethe's Schriften. Siebenter Band. Leipzig, bey Georg Joachim Göschen, 1790, pages 94-95.

First published in a different version in Volks- und andere Lieder, mit Begleitung des Forte piano, In Musik gesetzt von Siegmund Freyherrn von Seckendorff. Dritte Sammlung. Dessau, 1782, pages 6-9; see below.

1 Liszt: "sein"
2 Zelter: "Lies"
3 Fritze, Liszt, Schubert (Neue Gesamtausgabe): "seinen"
4 Zelter: "In hohen"
5 Goethe (Faust): "heiligen"

Authorship

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


This text (or a part of it) is used in a work

Set in a modified version by Karl Sigmund Freiherr von Seckendorff.

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in English, a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Maude Valérie White.
  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by Gérard Labrunie (1808 - 1855) , "Le roi de Thulé", appears in Le Faust de Goethe ; composed by Hector Berlioz.
  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Emmanuel Bondeville.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jan Evangelista Nečas) , "Král v Thule"
  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Otokar Fischer) , "Král v Thule"
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De koning van Thule", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "There was a King of Thule", copyright ©
  • ENG English [singable] (Arthur Westbrook) , "The King of Thule"
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , "Bhí rí ann fadó in Thule", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "Il re in Tule", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Margarida Moreno) , "O rei em Thule", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-04-30 11:25:29
Line count: 24
Word count: 115

De koning van Thule
Language: Dutch (Nederlands)  after the German (Deutsch) 
Er was in Thule een koning,
Getrouw tot aan het graf.
Zijn lief stond, vóór zij doodging,
Hem een gouden beker af.

Voor hem ging niets daarboven,
Hij leegd' hem elke fuif;
Zijn ogen stroomden over,
Zo vaak hij dronk daaruit.

En toen hij kwam te sterven,
Mat hij gans zijn rijksgebied,
Schonk alles aan zijn erven,
Alleen de beker niet.

Hij at de koningsmaaltijd,
Zijn ridders om hem heen;
Zij zagen uit de zaal wijd
Daar in 't kasteel aan zee.

Toen rees de oude drinker,
Hij dronk nog eenmaal goed,
En wierp de heil'ge beker
Beneden in de vloed.

Hij zag hem vallen, buiten
In 't diepe water, neer.
Moest toen zijn ogen sluiten,
dronk nooit een druppel meer.

Authorship

  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to Dutch (Nederlands) copyright © 2005 by Lau Kanen, (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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Text added to the website: 2005-09-01 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:14
Line count: 24
Word count: 121