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Es war ein König in Thule (1856) S278

Es war ein König in Thule

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 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.

There was a king in Thule

There was a king in Thule,
Faithful to the grave,
To whom his mistress, as she died,
Gave a golden beaker.
He valued nothing higher,
He drained it at every feast,
And each time he drank from it,
His eyes would fill with tears.
And when he came to die,
He counted the cities of his realm,
Gave all he had to his heirs,
The beaker though excepted.
He sat at the royal banquet,
Surrounded by his knights,
There in the lofty ancestral hall,
In the castle by the sea.
There he stood, that old toper,
Drank his life’s last glow,
And hurled the sacred beaker
Into the waves below.
He saw it fall and fill
And sink deep into the sea.
His eyes closed;
He never drank another drop.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Franz Liszt (22 October 1811 – 31 July 1886) was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger and organist of the Romantic era. He was also a writer, a philanthropist, a Hungarian nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary.

A prolific composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the New German School (Neudeutsche Schule). He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work which influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated 20th-century ideas and trends. Among Liszt's musical contributions were the symphonic poem, developing thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form, and radical innovations in harmony.

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Poet

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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