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Another German Love Poem from the Time of Medieval Chivalry

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Another German Love Poem from the Time of Medieval Chivalry

 

Late Last Night, I Stood…

That One from Kürenberg

(ca. 1150-1160)

“Late last night,

as I stood upon a battlement,

I heard a knight,

from the riding regiment

singing splendidly.

He sang Kűrenberg ayres of love affairs

ravishingly.

He must clear out of my territory

or I will have him brought to me

to enjoy his sighs Kűrenberg wise,

passionately,

as he lies with me.”

“Right quickly, bring to me

my charger and my iron armor!

From her territory I’ll flee.

I must leave this lady’s land

or her lover she’ll make me be,

completely in her hand.

So I’m clearing out and not returning,

so forever she’ll be

without the love from me

she’s yearning.”

 Translated August 9, 2012 and corrected  December 18, 2013

Here is the poem in Middle High German. I would be grateful for any correction or help.

Especially, for the modern German translation. It s a work in progress:

Spät in der Letzten Nacht Stellte ich Mich….

In der letzten Nacht stellte ich mich spät / an einer Zinne,

Dort hörte ich einen Ritter / sehr schön singen,

in Kurenbergs Weise /ein Ritter aus ’ne ganze Menge,

Entweder muss er das Land räumen / odor will ich mich an ihm erfreuen.“

Nun, bring mir her blitz-schnelle /

meinen Ross und meinen Eisengewand,

denn wegen einer Frau / muss ich das Land räumen.

Sie will mich zwingen / dass ich ihr Liebe sei.

Sie muss für meine Liebe / immer notdürftig sein.

Der Von Kürenberc

(ca. 1150-1160)

Ich stuont mir nehtint spâte …

„Ich stuont mir nehtint spâte / an einer zinne,

dô hôrt ich einen ritter / vil wol singen

in Kurenberges wîse / al ûz der menigîn,

er muoz mir diu lant rûmen / ald ich geniete mich sîn.”

Nu brinc mir her vil balde / mîn ros, mîn îsengwant,

wan ich muoz einer frouwen / rûmen diu lant:

diu wil mich des betwingen / daz ich ir holt sî.

si muoz der mîner minne / iemer darbende sîn.

From the Heath Anthology of German Poetry, p. 76.

For more German love poems from this period, click here.

Also, check out “Were this Whole World Mine.”

And for a real favorite with over 19,000 hits, see “Du Bist Mein, ich Bin Dein”

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Written by peterkrey

August 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Posted in My Poems, Translation

One Response

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  1. My translation above has now been completely revised, because I did not understand that the first part was the lady’s voice and the second was the knight’s, presumably Kurenberg himself. About my previous translation a friend of mine wrote me the following:

    I think you may in fact have read to bit too much into a couple of the Kurenberger’s famous lines. I’ll try to intersperse here a somewhat more literal (and in places more suggestive) translation:

    “Ich stuont mir nehtint spâte / an einer zinne,
    “Last night I stood late upon a battlement,

    dô hôrt ich einen ritter / vil wol singen
    when I heard a knight singing splendidly

    in Kurenberges wîse / al ûz der menigîn,
    in the Kürenberger’s melody out from amid the company [of riders];

    er muoz mir diu lant rûmen / ald ich geniete mich sîn.”
    he must clear out of territory or I will have my way with him.”

    Nu brinc mir her vil balde / mîn ros, mîn îsengwant,
    Now bring my steed and my armor here to me quickly

    wan ich muoz einer frouwen / rûmen diu lant:
    for I must leave the territory because of a lady:

    diu wil mich des betwingen / daz ich ir holt sî.
    she would force me to love her.

    si muoz der mîner minne / iemer darbende sîn.
    She must ever do without [be lacking] my love.

    Dear Peter,

    Whatever is under discussion in the song in question, it’s not platonic.
    The form of the song is a so-called Wechsel, that is a strophe in a
    woman’s voice paired with one in a man’s voice, but not a dialogue. (That
    is the two are talking about the same subject, but not to each other.)
    This is a very classic Minnesang form, so arguably the song is indeed an
    example of Minnesang.

    We don’t know from the song that the woman is married. We only infer that
    she is of high degree (she’s on the top of a castle, after all, and she’s
    in a position to determine what will happen to the singing knight if he
    does not comply with her wishes).

    The business about the the knight’s singing the Kuerenberger’s melody is
    probably a bit of self-advertising on the part of the poet, who is after
    all the Kuerenberger. So this may be a clue that the strophe sung in the
    man’s voice is supposed to be understood as the poet himself.

    This song is often discussed as an example of precourtly southeast German
    Minnesang because its rather frank eroticism. The lady say’s she’ll either
    have the knight or he’ll have to leave her territory. The knight says in
    effect that he’d rather leave. This isn’t the sort of platonic game that
    is more typical of Minnesang poets from a few decades later.

    I thank my friend for the help she has given me in translating this Middle High German poem of this early troubadour!

    peterkrey

    December 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm


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