Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Message from Heinrich Heine's Book of Songs

Heinrich Heine wrote many poems about chivalry and heroic adventures. The following poem is titled Die Botschaft (The Message) and it is to be found in the section appropriately titled Romanzen in his Buch der Lieder. I discovered it today as I was relaxing in the bath, and I thought it would translate quite nicely for us. So here it is: 

The Message 

Serf, awake! and swiftly saddle, 

Leap upon your horse.
Gallop through the woods and fields 
To reach King Duncan's castle.

Steal into the royal stables, hide, 

And wait until you see the stable boy, 
Then say at once: "Confide to me 
Which of Duncan's daughters is the bride?"

And if the boy say, "Brown it is",

Then back to me immediately.
But if the boy say, "Blonde it is"
Then do not haste to me

But go by Master Seiler's store

And there buy me a length of rope,
Ride slowly on, and speak no word
And fetch it back to me. 

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