by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation Singable translation by Arthur Westbrook

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

The King of Thule
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
There was a King in Thule,
Aye, faithful to the grave,
To whom his dying lady
Then a golden beaker gave.

Naught else he prized so dearly,
And drain'd its glowing draught,
His eyes with tears were o'erflowing,
Whene'er the cup he quaff'd.

When he at last lay dying,
All his riches o'er he told,
All on his heirs bestowing
Except the cup of gold.

He sat at royal banquet
Amid the knightly train,
In his ancestral castle
High tow'ring o'er the main.

Up rose the aged monarch,
Life's final glow drank he,
Then hurl'd the hallow'd beaker
Far downward in the sea.

He saw it falling, filling,
And sinking in the sea,
Then closed his eyes, ne'er to open,
And never again drank he.

From Franz Liszt. Thirty Songs. edited by Charles Armbruster. Dover Publications, Inc., New York.

Authorship

Based on

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

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Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2011-04-07 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:19
Line count: 24
Word count: 125