Song and Legend From the Middle Ages
There sat upon the linden-tree
A bird and sang its strain;
So sweet it sang, that, as I heard,
My heart went back again:
It went to one remembered spot,
I saw the rose-trees grow,
And thought again the thoughts of love
There cherished long ago.
A thousand years to me it seems
Since by my fair I sat,
Yet thus to have been a stranger long
Was not my choice, but fate:
Since then I have not seen the flowers,
Nor heard the birds' sweet song;
My joys have all too briefly passed,
My griefs been all too long.
-------Tr. by Taylor.
WALTHER VON DER VOGELWEIDE
Early thirteenth century
UNDER THE LINDEN
Under the linden
On the meadow
Where our bed arranged was,
There now you may find e'en
In the shadow
Broken flowers and crushed grass.
Near the woods, down in the vale
Sweetly sang the nightingale.
I, poor sorrowing one,
Came to the prairie,
Look, my lover had gone before.
There he recieved me---
That now with bliss I am brimming o'er.
Kissed he me? Ah, thousand hours!
See my mouth, how red it flowers!
Then 'gan he making
Oh! so cheery,
From flowers a couch most rich outspread.
At which outbreaking
In laughter merry
You'll find, whoe'er the path does tread.
By the rose he can see
Where my head lay cozily.
How he caressed me
Knew it one ever
God defend! ashamed I'd be.
Whereto he pressed me
No, no, never
Shall any know it but him and me
And a birdlet on the tree
Sure we can trust it, cannot we?
------Tr. by Kroeger.
FROM THE CRUSADERS' HYMN
Sweet love of Holy Spirit
Direct sick mind and steer it,
God, who the first didst rear it,
Protect thou Christendom.
Its lies of pleasure barren
No rose blooms more in Sharon;
Comfort of all th' ill-starren,
Oh! help dispel the gloom!
Keep, Savior, from all ill us!
We long for the bounding billows,
Thy Spirit's love must thrill us,
Repentant hearts' true friend.
Thy blood for us thou'st given,
Unlocked the gates of heaven.
Now strive we as we've striven
To gain the blessed land.
Our wealth and blood grows thinner;
God yet will make us winner
Gainst him, who many a sinner
Holds pawned in his hand.
God keep thy help us sending,
With thy right hand aid lending,
Protect us till the ending
When at last our soul us leaves,
From hell-fires' flaming clamor