19 October 2016

The King in Thule

A translation (my own) of Goethe's Der König in Thule.

There was once a king in Thule
Who was faithful to the grave,
To whom his dying mistress
A golden goblet gave.

To him was nothing dearer,
He drained it when he supped;
His eyes would overflow with tears,
As he tipped the golden cup.

And when the king was dying
He surveyed his domain,
Bequeathed it all unto his heir,
But the goblet he retained.

One day at royal repast
He sat among his knights
In the high hall of his fathers
In the castle on the heights.

There stood the old carouser,
Drained out his life's last glug,
And cast the sacred vessel down
Into the stormy flood.

He watched it, plunging, filling,
Sink deep into the main.
His eyes, with him, were sinking too;
He never drank again.