by Emanuel von Geibel (1815 - 1884)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Zwei Reiter reiten vom Königsschloß
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Zwei Reiter reiten vom Königsschloß,
Sie reiten hinab zum Strande;
In hohen Lüften pfeift der Wind,
Die Wellen schäumen zu Lande.

Der König spricht zum Pagen sein,
Er spricht's in finsterem Muthe:
Wer gab das Röslein dir, Gesell;
Das Röslein auf deinem Hute?

Das Röslein gab die Mutter mir,
Da sie mich ließ in Sorgen!
Ich stell's in Wasser jede Nacht,
So blüht es jeden Morgen."

Sie reiten entlang an der blauen Bucht,
Die Woge murrt eintönig,
Die Möven fliegen kreischend auf,
Zum andern fragt der König:

Weß ist die Locke, die ich sah
An deine Brust geschlungen,
Da dir vorhin vom scharfen Ritt
Das Reitwamms aufgesprungen?

"Das ist meiner Schwester lichtbraun Haar,
So fein und weich wie Seiden!
Es duftet süß wie Rosenöl,
Sie weinte drauf beim Scheiden."

Sie reiten hinauf den Felsensteig;
Am Pfad sind eingeschnitten
Blutrunen aus uralter Zeit,
Der König fragt zum dritten:

Sag an und rede die Wahrheit mir,
Gesell, es gilt dein Leben,
Wer hat den Ring am Finger dir,
Den goldnen Ring gegeben?

"Die mir den Ring am Finger gab,
Gab mir ihr Herz desgleichen;
Das ist die allerschönste Maid
In allen deinen Reichen."

Des Königs Stirn wird roth wie Blut,
Die Augen zornig ihm brennen;
"Der Ring ist meines Kindes Ring!
Sein Blinken muß ich kennen.

Und wagtest du in frecher Lust
Um ihren Leib zu werben,
So dauert dein jungfrisch Leben mich nicht,
Des Todes mußt du sterben."

Er zieht hervor sein scharfes Schwert,
Er stößt es durch's Herz dem Gesellen;
Das Blut fließt über den Runenstein
Hinunter in die Wellen.

Er wirft den Leichnam in die Flut:
"Und steht so hoch dein Sinnen,
So magst du um die Königin jetzt
der Wassernixen minnen!"

Den Strand entlang zum Königsschloß
Heimreitet ein düsterer Reiter;
Hinaus in's Meer die Leiche schwimmt,
Die Wellen rauschen weiter.

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship

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) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Harry Joelson

Text added to the website: 2008-10-20 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:58
Line count: 56
Word count: 302

Two riders ride out from the king's...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Two riders ride out from the king's palace,
They ride down to the shore;
The wind whistles up high,
The waves break foamingly on the shoreline.

The king speaks to his page,
He speaks in a dark mood:
Who, my good fellow, gave you the rose;
The rose upon your hat?

"The rose was given to me by my mother,
When anxiously she let me go forth!
I put it in water every night,
Thus it blooms every morning."

They ride along beside the blue bay,
The waves mutter in a monotone,
Screeching, the seagulls fly up before them.
The king has another question:

Whose is the curl that I saw
Wound upon your breast,
When a moment ago the vigorous ride
Caused your riding jerkin to gape open?

That is the light brown hair of my sister,
As fine and soft as silk!
It is sweetly scented with oil of roses,
She wept upon it when we parted."

They ride up upon the rock path,
Along the pathway are carved
Blood runes from ancient times.
The king poses a third question:

Speak, and tell me truly,
My fellow, your life is at stake:
Who gave you the ring upon your finger,
The golden ring?

"She who gave me the ring upon my finger,
Also gave to me her heart;
She is the most beautiful maiden
In all of your kingdoms."

The king's forehead becomes as red as blood,
His eyes burn with rage;
"The ring is the ring of my child!
I know its gleam well.

And if you dared in audacious desire
To court her person,
I take no pity upon your young, fresh life,
You must die."

He unsheathes his sharp sword,
He thrusts it through the young man's heart;
His blood flows over the runic stone
Down into the waves.

He tosses the corpse into the flood:
"And if your aspirations be so lofty,
You may now court
The queen of the water nymphs!"

Along the shore toward the castle
Rides home a gloomy rider;
Out into the sea floats the corpse,
The waves continue to roar.

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2011 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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Text added to the website: 2011-03-03 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:15
Line count: 56
Word count: 351