• Translation

The King of Thule by Johann Wolfgang Goethe



A king once lived in Thule,

Faithful until the grave,

To whom his dying mistress

A golden goblet gave.


Nothing was dearer to him—

He drank from it each day;

His eyes would often tear up,

Drinking away each day.


When the time of his passing

Arrived, he told his towns

All would be left to his heir,

Except his drinking cup.


He assembled his brave knights,

Held a beautiful feast

In the halls of his fathers,

In castles by the sea.


And then the monarch arose

Emptying his goblet,

He hurled his prized possession

From the cliff, like a gauntlet.


He watched the chalice tumble

Into the raging ocean.

The king then closed his tired eyes

And never drank again.


Translation © David B. Gosselin


Featured in New Lyre Issue Two