Walther von der Vogelweide

[This page by Cyril Edwards]

Middle High German lyric poet, lived from around 1170 to around 1230.

Here is one of Walther's most famous lyrics (L.39, 11)


Under der linden Under the lime-tree

an der heide, on the heath,

dâ unser zweier bette was, where the bed for us two was,

dâ mugent ir vinden there you may find,

schône beide both prettily

gebrochen bluomen unde gras, picked, flowers and grass.

vor dem walde in einem tal, Close by the wood, in a valley,

tandaradai, tandaradei,

schône sanc diu nahtegal. prettily sang the nightingale.


Ich kam gegangen I came walking

zuo der ouwe; To the meadow.

dô was mîn friedel komen ê. My lover then had come before me.

Dâ wart ich enpfangen, There I was welcomed –

hêre frowe, "Noble ladies!" –

daz ich bin sælic iemer mê. in such a way that I shall be happy forever.

Kuster mich? Wol tûsentstunt, Did he kiss me? A good thousand times –

tandaradai, tandaradei –

seht wie rôt mir ist der munt. see how red my mouth is.


Dô het er gemachet He had then made for me –

alsô rîche such luxury! –

von bluomen eine bettestat. a bedding place of flowers.

Des wirt noch gelachet People will still smile

inneclîche, deep down at that,

kumt iemen an daz selbe pfat. if they come across the same path.

Bî den rôsen er wol mac, By the roses they will readily –

tandaradai, tandaradei –

merken wâ mirz houbet lac. tell where my head lay.


Daz er bî mir læge, That he lay with me,

wessez iemen, if anyone were to know of it –

nû enwelle got, sô schamt ich mich. now God forbid, for I'd be ashamed!

Wes er mit mir pflæge, What he did with me,

niemer niemen let no-one ever

bevinde daz, wan er und ich, find out, save he and I

und ein kleinez vogellîn, and a little birdlet –

tandaradai, tandaradei –

daz mac wol getriuwe sîn. that may well prove faithful!

This is a pastourelle, one of the earliest texts in this genre from the German-speaking world. The customary narrative is that a knight seduces a peasant girl. Walther has a different take. This has been described as an 'ecstatic' pastourelle. It has been set to music on the basis of an Old French tune.