Walther von der Vogelweide In einem zwivellichen wan

"I thought I'd served her long enough"

for an old friend from Munich days

I thought I'd served her long enough,
and sat dejected and confused
despairing of the lady's love,
when something gave my hopes a boost.
You'll laugh at me (it seems so small,
more of a consolation prize)
for taking comfort there at all;
but I could feel my fortunes rise.

What cheered me was a blade of grass:
I measured out a stalk I'd plucked
(as children do to learn their luck)
and it said she'd offer me her grace.
Listen and judge if you think she might:
"She will, she won't, she will, she won't, she will."
As much as I've tried it, it's come out right,
but you have to trust in the grass's skill.


translation © 1999,2001 Leonard Cottrell. All rights reserved.

In einem zwivellichen wan

In einem zwivellichen wan
was ich gesezzen und gedahte
ich wolte von ir dienste gan,
wan daz ein trost mich wider brahte.
Trost mag ez rehte niht geheizen, ouwe des!
Ez ist vil kume ein kleinez troestelin,
so kleine, swenne ichz iu gesage, ir spottet min.
Doch froewet sich luetzel iemen, er enwizze wes.

Mich hat ein halm gemachet fro:
er giht ich suel genade vinden.
Ich maz daz selbe kleine stro,
als ich hie vore sach von kinden.
Nu hoeret unde merket, ob siz denne tuo:
"Si tuot, si entuot, si tuot, si entuot, si tuot."
Swie dicke ichz tete, so was ie daz ende guot.
Daz troestet mich: da hoeret ouch geloube zuo.