Three poems have come down to us from the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, who was the Frederick Barbarossa's son and the father of Frederick II, King of Sicily (in whose court at Palermo the sonnet was invented.) In this example of a leave-taking poem, the woman is the speaker.

Emperor Heinrich VI (1165-1197) Rîtest du nu hinnen

"Now fare you well and ride"

"Now fare you well and ride,
dearest of all men,
the chosen one that I
desire most again.
I'll die with longing for you every day:
not even God can pay me back,
in all the world, for what I'll lack,"
said she, "while you're away."

"It was your luck, good friend,
that we lay face to face:
I touch you in my mind
and still feel your embrace.
I want you to enjoy the thoughts I hold,
since you're what's excellent in them,
as setting of a noble gem
adorns a work of gold."


translation © 1999, 2001 Leonard Cottrell. All rights reserved

"Rîtest du nu hinnen,
der aller liebste man,
der beste in mînen sinnen
für al deich ie gewan.
Kumest du mir niht schiere, sô vliuse ich mînen lîp:
den möchte in al der welte
got niemer mir vergelten,"
sprach daz minneclîche wîp.

"Wol dir geselle guote
deich ie bî dir gelac;
du wonest mir in dem muote
die naht und ouch den tac.
Du zierest mîne sinne, und bist mir dar zuo holt:
(nu merke et wiech daz meine)
als edelez gesteine
swâ man daz leit in daz golt."