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Goethe Gedichte: Erlknig - German and English - Poetry

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German Language
By Hyde Flippo

Goethe-Gedichte 1
Selected German Verse by J.W. Goethe In the original German with a line-by-line prose translation in English Erlknig/Erlking (1782) von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe In German and Scandinavian mythology, an Erlknig is an evil spirit that lurks about to threaten humans, especially children. It has often been claimed that Goethe's term Erlknig is a German mistranslation of the Danish ellerkonge or elverkonge or king of the elves, but in fact this may not be the case. In an interesting German article1 on the topic, Burkhard Schrder claims that Goethe knew exactly what he was doing, and the term Erlknig can be traced back to an ancient Greek goddess of death (Todesgttin) known as Alphito, who became a female Erlknigin as she moved north, and even the biblical Lilith. (For more, see German Myth 92 in our Misnomers, Myths, and Misconceptions3 section.) You may also find it interesting to compare this classic poem with an updated version by Rammstein. See the "Dalai Lama4" song by Rammstein5. Erlknig von J.W. Goethe Erlking Translation by Hyde Flippo

Wer reitet so spt durch Nacht und Wind? Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind; Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm, Er fat ihn sicher, er hlt ihn warm. Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht? Siehst, Vater, du den Erlknig nicht? Den Erlenknig mit Kron und Schweif? Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif. Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir! Gar schne Spiele spiel' ich mit dir; Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand, Meine Mutter hat manch glden Gewand. Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hrest du nicht, Was Erlenknig mir leise verspricht? Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind; In drren Blttern suselt der Wind. Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn? Meine Tchter sollen dich warten schn; Meine Tchter fhren den nchtlichen Reihn, Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein. Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort Erlknigs Tchter am dstern Ort? Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau: Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau. Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schne Gestalt; Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt. Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fat er mich an! Erlknig hat mir ein Leids getan! Dem Vater grausets, er reitet geschwind, Er hlt in Armen das chzende Kind, Erreicht den Hof mit Mhe und Not; In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Who rides so late through the night and wind? It's the father with his child; He has the boy safe in his arm, He holds him secure, he holds him warm. My son, what makes you hide your face in fear? Father, don't you see the Erlking? The Erlking with crown and flowing robe? My son, it's a wisp of fog. You dear child, come along with me! Such lovely games I'll play with you; Many colorful flowers are at the shore, My mother has many a golden garment. My father, my father, and do you not hear What the Erlking promises me so softly? Be quiet, stay quiet, my child; In the dry leaves the wind is rustling. Won't you come along with me, my fine boy? My daughters shall attend to you so nicely. My daughters do their nightly dance, And they'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep. My father, my father, and do you not see over there Erlking's daughters in that dark place? My son, my son, I see it most definitely: It's the willow trees looking so grey. I love you; I'm charmed by your beautiful form; And if you're not willing, then I'll use force. My father, my father, now he's grabbing hold of me! Erlking has done me harm! The father shudders, he rides swiftly, He holds in (his) arms the moaning child. He reaches the farmhouse with effort and urgency. In his arms the child was dead.

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Goethe Gedichte: Erlknig - German and English - Poetry


In seinen Armen das Kind war tot. COMPARE > Rammstein's "Dalai Lama6" song to Goethe's "Erlknig" poem! MORE > German Myth 97 - The Erlking NEXT > Goethe's "Gefunden"8 Goethe Poetry Contents9 In his arms the child was dead.

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Related Pages Rammsteins' "Dalai Lama"10 The German heavy-metal group Rammstein has a song based on Goethe's "Erlknig" poem. Dual Language Poems - Contents11 The contents page for all the German-English poetry at our site. Johann Wolfgang Goethe12 Our main Goethe page. Misnomers, Myths, and Misconceptions13 Some common misconceptions and myths related to German. If the Pennsylvania Dutch aren't Dutch, how did they get that name? Why do horses whinny at the mere mention of Frau Blucher's name in "Young Frankenstein"? Authors in German Literature 114 Our main page for German-language authors and their works. Authors in German Literature 215 Our author index and link page for German-language authors on the Web. Book Reviews16 Reviews of books and materials for German - from your Guide. Books: German Literature17 German literary works selected by your Guide. Das Goethe-Institut18 All about this indispensible resource for just about anything to do with German and German culture. German Literature19 Articles and links for German literature. Quotations/Sayings20 German proverbs, sayings, and literary quotations on the Web.

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Goethe Gedichte: Erlknig - German and English - Poetry

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