DER KÖNIG IN THULE THE KING IN THULE
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe trans. D.M.Black


Es war ein König in Thule
Gar treu bis an das 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 alles seinen Erben,
Den Becher nicht zugleich.
 
Er sass beim Königsmahle,
Die Ritter um ihn her,
Auf hohem Vätersaale,
Dort auf dem Schloss am Meer.
 
Dort stand der alte Zecher,
Trank letzte Lebensglut
Und warf den heiligen Becher
Hinunter in die Flut.
 
Er sah ihn stürzen, trinken
Und sinken tief ins Meer.
Die Augen täten ihm sinken;
Trank nie einen Tropfen mehr.


There was once a King in Thule
Who was faithful to the grave.
To him as she died his mistress
A golden goblet gave.

Above all he owned he prized it,
He drained it at every feast,
And whenever he drank from the goblet
His springing tears were released.

When his time to die was approaching,
He sat on his golden throne;
Kall his gold he gave his successor,
Except for the goblet alone.

He sat at the royal banquet -
His knights looked sorrowfully -
In the lofty hall of his fathers
In his castle above the sea.

There stood the aged tippler,
He drained life's final glow
- Then flung the sacred goblet
Far down to the waves below.

He watched it falling, and drinking,
And sinking deep in the main;
Then his eyelids sank and he never
Drank any drop again.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. copyright © D.M.Black 2006

...buy this book
VC52 next
VC52 index
German index