Der Sänger
The Minstrel


What is it at the gate I hear,
On the bridge, what is that sound?
I’d have that song sung to my ear,
In this hall let it resound.
Thus spake the king – the page ran out.
The page returned – the king- a shout:
Bid the old man come in.

Greetings, noble lords,
I greet you all fair ladies;
How rich this heaven, star upon star!
Who could know what each one’s name is?
In this hall of magnificent show,
Eyes – now close. This is no
Time to delight in all these marvels.

The minstrel now shut tight his eyes
And in full-bodied tones began to play.
The noble lords put on a brave face,
The ladies looked down as is their way.
The king who had enjoyed the song,
Had his servant bring along
A reward – a chain of gold.

Give to me no golden chain,
For your knights the chain is of matter,
They, whose courageous demeanour
Causes enemy lances to shatter.
Or give it to your chancellor of state,
Let him add its golden weight
To all his other burdens.

I sing as does the bird
That you in the trees applaud.
The song that comes bursting from my throat,
That song is its own reward.
But one thing I’d ask, if you so incline,
Let me be served your very best wine
In a goblet of purest gold.

He put it to his lips and drank it down.
O, draught of refreshment so sweet!
O, happy that most favoured house
Where such a gift is no conceit!
Remember me if things go well with you
And, as warmly, thank the Lord as I do
For this cup of wine.