Es war ein König in Thule

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Lyricist: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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German.png German text

Es war ein König in Thule,
gar treu bis an das Grab,
dem sterbend seine Buhle
einen gold'nen Becher gab.

Es ging ihm nichts darüber,
er leert' ihn jeden Schmaus,
die Augen gingen ihm über,
sooft er trank daraus.

Und als er kam zu sterben,
zählt er sein' Städt' im Reich,
ließ alles seinen Erben,
den Becher nicht zugleich.

Er saß beim Königsmahle,
die Ritter um ihn her,
in hoher Väter Saale,
dort auf dem Schloß am Meer.

Dort stand der alte Zecher,
trank letzte Lebensglut
und warf den heil'gen 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.

English.png English translation

A king there was in Thule,
Right faithful to the grave,
To whom his dying true-love
A golden goblet gave.

He drank out of none other,
So high he did it prize;
He never raised it to his lips
But tears came to his eyes.

At length, when he was dying,
His riches he cast up,
And gave them to his heritors,
But would not give the cup.

He sat him down at table,
With all his chivalry,
High in his father's castle hall
That overhung the sea.

Before the aged toper
His parting draft did glow,
He drank it off, and sent the cup
To greet the flood below.

He saw it fall and vanish
Amid the foaming main,
His eyes he shut as if in sleep,
And never drank again.

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