Der Erlkönig (Franz Schubert)

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  • (Posted 2008-06-07)  CPDL #17114:  Network.png
Contributor: David Newman (submitted 2008-06-07).  Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 660 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: In g minor (original key). Includes both German and English lyrics underlay. Edition is scanned.
  • (Posted 2008-06-07)  CPDL #17113:  Network.png
Contributor: David Newman (submitted 2008-06-07).  Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 511 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: In e minor (transposed). Includes both German and English lyrics underlay. Edition is scanned.
  • (Posted 2008-05-31)  CPDL #17050:     
Editor: Fred Nachbaur (submitted 2008-05-31).   Score information: A4, 15 pages, 480 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: In e minor. Obtained from the GMD Scores Archives site. English lyrics by Natalia MacFarren

General Information

Title: Der Erlkönig, Op. 1, D328
Composer: Franz Schubert
Lyricist: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from 1782 ballad opera "Die Fischerin"

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Bass, or Baritone
Genre: SecularLied

Languages: German, English
Instruments: Piano

First published: 1815

External websites:

Original text and translations

German.png German text

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

"Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?"
"Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht?
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron und Schweif?"
"Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif."

"Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Gar schöne Spiele spiel' ich mit dir;
Manch' bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,
Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand."

"Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,
Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht?"
"Sei ruhig, bleib ruhig, mein Kind;
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind."

"Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön;
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn,
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein."

"Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort?"
"Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau."

"Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt."
"Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!"

Dem Vater grauset's, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Müh' und Not;
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

English.png English translation

Who rides so late through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the little one well in the arm
He holds him secure, he holds him warm.

"My son, why hide your face in fear?"
"See you not, Father, the Erlking?
The Erlking with crown and flowing cloak?"
"My son, it is a wisp of fog."

"You sweet child, come along with me!
Such wonderful games I'll play with you;
Many lovely flowers are at the shore,
My mother has many golden garments."

"My father, my father, and do you not hear,
What the Erlking quietly promises to me?"
"Be calm, stay calm, my child;
The wind is rustling the dry leaves."

"Won't you come along with me, my fine boy?
My daughters shall attend to you so nicely;
My daughters do their nightly dance,
And they will rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep."

"My father, my father, do you not see there,
Erlking's daughters in that dark place?"
"My son, my son, I see it definitely
It is the willow trees looking so grey."

"I love you; I'm charmed by your beautiful shape;
And if you are not willing, then I will use force."
"My father, my father, now he has taken hold of me!
Erlking has hurt me!"

The father shudders, he rides swiftly,
He holds in arm the groaning child,
He reaches the farmhouse with effort and urgency;
In his arms, the child was dead.