by Emanuel von Geibel (1815 - 1884)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Zwei Könige sassen auf Orkadal
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE
Zwei Könige sassen auf Orkadal,
Hell flammten die Kerzen im Pfeilersaal.
Die Harfner sangen, es perlte der Wein,
Die Könige schauten finster drein.
Da sprach der eine: "Gib mir die Dirn'!
Ihr Aug' ist blau, schneeweiss ihre Stirn."
Der Andre versetzte in grimmem Zorn:
"Mein ist sie und bleibt sie, ich hab's geschwor'n!"
Kein Wort mehr sprachen die Könige drauf,
Sie nahmen die Schwerter und stunden auf,
Sie schritten hervor aus der leuchtenden Hall';
Tief lag der Schnee an des Schlosses Wall.
Es sprühten die Fackeln, es blitzte der Stahl --
Zwei Könige sanken auf Orkadal.

About the headline (FAQ)


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "Two kings sat together in Orkadal", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Linda Godry) , "Two kings sat at Orkadal", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2005-10-12
Line count: 14
Word count: 95

Two kings sat together in Orkadal
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Two kings sat together in Orkadal;
brightly the candles flared in the pillared hall.
The harpers sang, the wine sparkled,
the kings gave black looks.
Then the one spoke: "Give me the maid!
Her eyes are blue, her brow as white as snow."
The other wrathfully retorted:
"She is mine forever, I have sworn it!"
Thereupon the kings spoke no more word.
They took their swords and stood up.
They strode out of the lighted hall.
Deep lay the snow by the castle wall.
The torches sparkled as well as the steel:
Two kings sank to the ground in Orkadal.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2006-11-01
Line count: 14
Word count: 100