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Date my choice of the finest poem in German

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  1. Oct 9, 2005 #1


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    Under der linden
    an der heide,
    dâ unser zweier bette was,
    dâ muget ir vinden
    schône beide
    gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
    Vor dem walde in einem tal,
    schône sanc diu nahtegal.

    Ich kam gegangen
    zuo der ouwe:
    dô was mîn friedel komen ê.
    Dâ wart ich empfangen
    (hêre frouwe!)
    daz ich bin sælic iemer mê.
    Kust er mich? Wol tûsentstunt:
    seht wie rôt mir ist der munt.

    Dô hete er gemachet
    alsô rîche
    von bluomen eine bettestat.
    Des wirt noch gelachet
    kumt iemen an daz selbe pfat:
    bî den rôsen er wol mac,
    merken wâ mir'z houbet lac.

    Daz er bî mir læge,
    wesse'z iemen
    (nu enwelle got!), so schamte ich mich.
    Wes er mit mir pflæge,
    niemer niemen
    bevinde daz, wan er und ich,
    und ein kleinez vogellîn:
    daz mac wol getriuwe sîn

    arguably the best existing translation of this into English is
    one Brindin Press has by Raymond Oliver. (Please guess the period
    before you look it up!)

    Under the lime tree
    On the heather,
    Where we had shared a place of rest,
    Still you may find there,
    Lovely together,
    Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
    Beside the forest in the vale,
    Sweetly sang the nightingale.

    I came to meet him
    At the green:
    There was my truelove come before.
    Such was I greeted --
    Heaven's Queen! --
    That I am glad for evermore.
    Had he kisses? A thousand some:
    See how red my mouth's become.

    There he had fashioned
    For luxury
    A bed from every kind of flower.
    It sets to laughing
    Whoever comes upon that bower;
    By the roses well one may,
    Mark the spot my head once lay.

    If any knew
    He lay with me
    (May God forbid!), for shame I'd die.
    What did he do?
    May none but he
    Ever be sure of that -- and I,
    And one extremely tiny bird,
    Who will, I think, not say a word.
  2. jcsd
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