Bavaria and Paris 5/18    Weidenhofen Farm & Meier Helmbrecht

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After spending most of the day in Passau with Agnes, Frieda drove me to the family farm named Weidenhofen near Straubing. Here I am with Frieda's twin brother Wasti, his wife, his son, and Frieda's parents. Here is a tour of the farm from a prior trip: Weidenhofen. We ate dinner with Frieda's parents, and then sat up late talking and drinking with Frieda's family and with Karl and Rosa, Frieda's paternal uncle and his wife. I went for a late-night walk in the countryside. At 1 a.m. I was stopped by the Bavarian State Police, who couldn't imagine why someone would be out walking in the countryside so late. Why, to view the lights of Straubing from the heights, of course. Apparently only thieves are about at that time of night. Read on, it seems thievery is in my blood.

I speak no German, so I had to follow conversation via Frieda's translation into English. Several snippets of conversation I remember are Karl talking about his cousin, Frieda's father's brother Michael, returning from the Russian front during World War II. The last time he came home, at the family cemetary plot he stated he didn't think he would ever be coming back. He didn't, leaving behind a fiancee. Frieda's mother talked about her brother, who was on one of two ships sailing to reinforce the German army in North Africa. His ship was bombed, and the brother was one of 30 survivors hanging on an inflated life ring. The ship then blew up: only three remained clinging to the ring, one of whom was her brother. The other ship picked them up. He was later killed in Russia when his tank hit a mine. I suppose when and American comes to visit, this older generation is reminded of World War II.

I asked the assembled group if they knew where the last name "Helmbrecht" came from. Wasti laughed and said, "Mieir Helmbrecht". Here is a drawing of the son of Mieir Helmbrecht (left). The epic poem Meier Helmbrecht (below, with notes) is the first and only medieval German poem built with the reader's interest centered in character development rather than the steady march of events. The author of Meier Helmbrecht set about relating something which he had seen ‘with his own eyes.’ The splendor of knighthood had begun to pale early in the thirteenth century. More and more during the crusades and the wars in Italy men in the lower strata of knighthood rose into prominence. Possessing no land, they found life carefree in time of war; in peace they had often to support themselves by plundering. Men of the lower classes - like Meier Helmbrecht's son - placed honor and life at stake for the mere privilege of a place in the following of some robber knight who had built himself an impregnable nest on top of a hill or crag and scourged the surrounding country with his plundering sallies. It became difficult to distinguish knights from highwaymen. Dipping into the fullness of life about him circa 1250 a.d., the author of this poem portrayed the life and customs of his times in a poem which surpasses all others in medieval German literature in its value to the student of Germanic culture. He holds up a mirror where both chivalry beheld its decay and peasants received a grim warning against disloyalty to their class.

There is basis for believing that the poem is about an actual, historical Helmbrect family. In the poem, mention is made of the location of a spring: "No equally good spring I know Except the Wanghaus spring so clear, But no one brings its waters here." There is but one place known by the name of Wanghausen, and its mention afforded the best starting point for determining the locality in which the action occurs. It lies on the east side of the Salzach river, in Austria, opposite the Bavarian hamlet Burghausen. There is today still a spring in Wanghausen which, because of the excellent water it furnishes, is called by the native folk das goldene Brünnlein. Having discovered a Helmbrecht Farm in legal records of the thirteenth century, scholars succeeded in locating the actual farm in the neighborhood of Wanghausen, some six kilometers east of Burghausen on the edge of the Weilhart forest. This holding was up to the end of the 1800's called the Helmbrechtshof.

Even for the peasant Ruprecht of the poem, documentary record of a contemporary, Ruperth von Schitir, have been found. The farms Schiderer and Groszschieder which lie southeast of the ancient Helmbrecht farm may have been his holdings. Near at hand is the Reuter spring, the only one in the region with good water, justifying father Helmbrecht’s comparison of it with the Wanghausen spring. Hohenstein is the Hohenberg, near Burghausen, and Haldenberg is perhaps identical with the hill Adenberg, lying not far away in the opposite direction from the Helmbrecht farm. Near the farm there stretches a forest such as is featured in the poem, the Weilhart.

In the early 20th century, at a distance of an hour’s walk, in the midst of this forest, there stood a huge linden tree, and under it a little chapel, the Weisse Schacher. Scholars found a legend still in circulation among the peasant folk, that it marked the spot where a soldier who had run away from his parents in order to lead a dissolute life was once hanged. As the decades and centuries passed after the disappearance of knights, popular tradition may easily have changed the follower of the robber knight into a soldier. The chapel as it once stood dated from a later time than that of the poem; yet it is not improbable that relatives of the hanged man originally constructed the chapel, inviting passers-by to say a paternoster for the salvation of the sinner on the spot of his execution. Many of the unusual expressions occurring in the poem have found explanation in the language and customs of the region studied. One of the investigators found in 1865 an old peasant, Lindl, who recollected that in his youth he had seen in the nearby monastery Ranshofen (abandoned in 1811) a book, with illustrations, about a ‘robber chieftain Helm’ from Gilgenberg.

The first definite literature reference to the poem Meier Helmbrecht is found in Ottokar’s Reimchronik (about the year 1310), where certain peasants, in refusing military service, appeal as their justification to the teachings of father Helmbrecht. These bits of evidence set the date of our poem at about the middle of the thirteenth century.

As for the author Wernher the Gardener whom we have to thank for our narrative, there is no positive knowledge whatever save the fragment of information which he gives us in the last line of his poem; here he announces his identity as Wernher der Gartenaere, a name not recorded elsewhere. All else is more or less uncertain inference, based upon the nature and contents of the poem.

The language of the poem indicates either Bavarian or Austrian origin. One theory, that Wernher was a ‘pater’ gardener in the Augustinian monastery Ranshofen which stood some two hours’ distance north of the Helmbrecht farm, has found considerable favor. This ‘pater’ gardener, so runs the theory, not only supervised the extensive agricultural holdings of the monastery, but also instructed the peasants of the region in the arts of horticulture. In line with this duty, he was called upon to travel about from farm to farm, and in this close contact with the folk life in which the Helmbrecht story has its setting, he may have witnessed the events of the story at first hand or have heard them from the peasants of the region. This would also explain the poet’s thorough and detailed familiarity with the geography of the locality in which the action takes place. He knew the region on the lower Inn River so minutely that he must either have grown up there or have dwelt there long in later life.

It is from the clerical class, then, that the sympathetic attitude shown toward the peasant in Meier Helmbrecht might be expected. Another scholar, although rejecting the theory that Wernher was a ‘pater’ gardener, presents the hypothesis that he was a wandering member of the Franciscan Order. He points out what may be regarded as Franciscan characteristics in the speech which Wernher puts into the mouth of the old Meier, and he somewhat convincingly argues away the difficulties which have been raised against the monk theory. Certainty upon this point, however, cannot be attained: we must rest content that for the present at least there is not sufficient evidence in hand to decide the matter. Wernher may possibly have been a knight or a wandering minstrel; more likely he was an itinerant monk, or even, as one argument goes, a ‘pater’ gardener.

It would appear that the poem did not become known far beyond the confines of its home region. Neither it nor its author won the mention of contemporary poets, such as was commonly given to court singers, and such as Wernher himself accords to Neidhart. To the folk of his native region the contents of the poem, or the events upon which it was based, were doubtless well known; Scholars tells us that in popular parlance the word Helmbrecht was used to designate any frivolous or wild person. There is even evidence that in this sense the word passed over into Bohemian: the Czech philosopher Stitny in the fourteenth century uses the masculine word helmbrecht as a common substantive with the meaning libertine, a feminine derivative helmbrechtice (loose woman), and the adjective helmbrechtny (dissolute).

  Das Puech ist von dem Mayr Helmprechte Meier Helmbrecht 1
  Einer seit waz er gesiht, One writes of what to him occurred;
  der ander seit waz im geschiht, One tells what he has seen; a third
  der dritte von minne, Of love alone sings his refrain,
  der vierde von gewinne, While still a fourth one -writes of gain;
5   der fünfte von grôzem guote, A fifth one praises riches - gold;
  der sehste von hôhem muote: A sixth lauds courage, high and bold.
  hie wil ich sagen waz mir geschach, Here I shall tell what happened me -
  daz ich mit mînen ougen sach. That is, what my own eyes did see.2
  ich sach, deist sicherlîchen wâr, I saw, and this is true, I swear,
10   eins gebûren sun, der truoc ein har, A peasant's son - a lad whose hair
  daz was reide unde val; Was curly and light blond as well.
  ob der ahsel hin ze tal His locks, which richly downward fell
  mit lenge ez volleclîchen gienc. Beyond his shoulders on each side,
  in eine hûben er ez vienc, Above within a hood were tied.
15   diu was von bilden wæhe. This hood was richly worked. I ween
  ich wæn ieman gesæhe That no one ever yet has seen
  sô manegen vogel ûf hûben: So many birds on hood arrayed;
  siteche unde tûben Both doves and parrots were displayed
  die wâren al dar ûf genât. In neat embroidery on the hood.
20   welt ir nû hœren waz dâ stât? Hear more at length what thereon stood.
  Ein meier der hiez Helmbreht: A peasant - Helmbrecht was his name -
  des sun was der selbe kneht Was father to a youth - the same
  von dem daz mære ist erhaben. Concerning whom this tale is spun;
  sam den vater nante man den knaben: Like father, so was named the son
25   si bêde hiezen Helmbreht. For Helmbrecht was the name of each.
  mit einer kurzen rede sleht In simple, short and homely speech
  künde ich iu daz mære. I now shall tell you what was found -
  waz ûf der hûben wære What wondrous things were sewed around -
  wunders erziuget Upon his hood or cap so neat.3
30   (daz mære iuch niht betriuget; (My tale shall be without deceit -
  ich sage ez niht nâch wâne): I'm telling not from mere surmise.)
  hinden von dem spâne Behind, one saw a seam-band rise;
  nâch der scheitel gegen dem schopfe, From back to front the edging led,
  reht enmitten ûf dem kopfe, Across the middle of his head.
35   der lîm mit vogelen was bezogen, This band was worked with birds, all made
  reht als si wæren dar geflogen As though just flown from out the shade
  ûz dem Spehtharte. Of neighboring Spessart's 4 woody lair.
  ûf gebûren swarte Upon a peasant's shock of hair
  kom nie bezzer houbetdach, Sat never better hood before
40   dan man ûf Helmbrehte sach. Than on his head young Helmbrecht wore.
  dem selben geutôren This bumpkin, you must further hear,
  was gegen dem zeswen ôren Had on the side, toward his right ear,
  ûf die hûben genât All sewed upon this selfsame hood
  (welt ir nû hœren waz dâ stât?) (Shall I now say what thereon stood?)
45   wie Troye wart besezzen, A picture of the siege of Troy,5
  dô Pârîs der vermezzen When daring Paris for his joy
  dem künege ûz Kriechen nam sin wîp, Stole the king of Greece's wife;
  diu im was liep alsam sîn lîp, He loved her dearer than his life.
  und wie man Troye gewan One saw there too how Troy was won,
50   und Ênêas von danne entran And how Aeneas, fleet, did run,
  ûf daz mer in den kielen, Escaping thence, by ship to sea;
  und wie die türne vielen And how the towers fell finally,
  und manec steinmûre. As well as many walls of stone.
  owê daz ie gebûre Alas that any peasant's son
55   solhe hûben solde tragen Should ever wear a hood of such
  dâ von sô vil ist ze sagen. A kind as makes one tell so much!
  Welt ir nû hœren mê Hear from me further, if you would,
  waz anderhalp dar ûf stê What elsewhere on this headpiece stood,
  mit sîden erfüllet? Filled out in silk. You may believe,
60   daz mære iuch niht betrüllet: The tale in no wise does deceive.
  ez stuont gegen der winstern hant, Upon the left side of the hood
  wie künec Karle und Ruolant, King Charlemagne 6 and Roland stood,
  Turpîn und Oliviere, Turpin, with Oliver at hand -
  die nôtgestalden viere, A staunch and battling warrior band.
65   waz die wunders mit ir kraft The wonders that their power and might
  worhten gegen der heidenschaft: Wrought with the heathen were in sight:
  Prôvenz und Arle Provence, as well as distant Aries,7
  betwanc der künec Karle Were overcome by good King Karl;
  mit manheit und mit witzen, With wisdom and with virile hands
70   er betwanc daz lant Galitzen; He conquered all the Spanish lands,
  daz wâren allez heiden ê. Whose people heathen were before.
  welt ir nû hœren waz hie stê And would you hear how furthermore
  von ener nestel her an dise (This is the truth, like all the rest)
  (ez ist wâr daz ich iu lise) The hood between its bands was dressed
75   zwischen den ôren hinden? Behind the head from ear to ear?
  von frouwen Helchen kinden, One saw the sons of Helche 8 here,
  wie die wîlen vor Raben Who, struggling valiantly and well,
  den lîp in sturme verloren haben, In battle by Ravenna fell
  dô si sluoc her Witege, When Wittich grimly struck them down -
80   der küene und der unsitege, That wanton blade of ill renown -
  und Diethern von Berne. Them and young Diether, too, of Bern.
  noch mügt ihr hœren gerne And you may further wish to learn
  waz der narre und der gouch What else this fop, this foolish lad,
  truoc ûf sîner hûben ouch. Embroidered on his headpiece had.
85   ez hêt der gotes tumbe This fool of God, this silly lout,
  vor an dem lîme al umbe Had on the front, all round about,
  von dem zeswen ôren hin Extending from his right ear round
  unz an daz lenke (des ich bin To where his other ear was found
  mit wârheit wol bewæret; (I know from fact that this is right;
90   nû hœrt wie ez sich mæret), Now hear the rest about this sight!)
  man möht ez gerne schouwen, A border, wondrous to behold,
  von rittern und von frouwen, Of ladies gay, knights brave and bold;
  ouch was dâ niht überhaben, Nor had there been forgotten there
  beide von meiden und von knaben A group of lads and lasses fair.
95   vor an dem lîme stuont ein tanz These all were in a dancing scene,
  genât mit sîden, diu was glanz. And worked with silk of softest sheen.
  ie zwischen zwein frouwen stuont, Between the ladies, two and two,
  Als si noch bî tanze tuont, Just as they still in dancing do,
  ein ritter an ir hende; A knight stood holding each fair hand.
100   dort an enem ende And over at the other end,
  ie zwischen zwein meiden gienc Between each pair of lasses went
  ein knabe der ir hende vienc. A lad, hands clasped in merriment.
  dâ stuonden fidelære bî. And fiddlers, too, were standing near.
  Nû hœret wie diu hûbe sî It now remains that you should hear
105   geprüefet Helmbrehte, Now such a hood young Helmbrecht had,
  dem tumben ræzen knehte. This foolish, wild, and wanton lad.
  noch habt ir allez niht vernomen As yet you have not heard me say
  wie diu hûbe her sî komen: Whence had come the hood so gay.
  die nâte ein nunne gemeit. The needle of a pretty nun
110   diu was durch ir hövescheit Embroidered it; and she had run,
  ûz ir zelle entrunnen. Turned by her beauty, from her cell.
  ez geschach der selben nunnen It happened to her, truth to tell,
  als vil maneger noch geschiht. As to her kind quite frequently
  mîn ouge der vil dicke siht, (Such ones my eyes so often see!)
115   die daz nider teil verrâten hât, Who, by their lower half misled,
  dâ von daz ober mit schanden stât. Stand at last with shame-bowed head.
  Helmbrehtes swester Gotelint Now Gotlint, Helmbrecht's sister, won
  der nunnen ein genæmez rint The favor of this pretty nun
  gap si ze kuchenspîse. By giving her a fine fat cow.
120   si was ir werkes wîse; Skilled with her hands, the latter now
  si diente ez wol mit næte Repaid them, as so well she could:
  an der hûben und an der wæte. Made Helmbrecht both a suit and hood.
  dô Gotelint gap dise kuo, When Gotlint gave the cow to her,
  nû hœret waz diu muoter tuo. Hear what further did occur:
125   diu gap sô vil der zweier The mother gave, the nun to please,
  der nunnen, kæse und eier, So many eggs and so much cheese,
  die wîle si ze revende gie, The while in convent halls she ate
  daz si die selben zît nie She ne'er had been thus satiate
  sô manec ei zerklucte With foods - so many eggs to crack,
130   noch kæse versmucte. And such fine cheeses without lack.
  Noch gap diu swester mêre The sister gave her brother more,
  dem bruoder durch sîn êre To honor him, than's told before :
  kleine wîze lînwât, A linen shirt,9 of such fine weave
  daz lützel ieman bezzer hât. One scarce a better could receive.
135   diu was sô kleine gespunnen, The linen was so finely spun
  ab dem tuoche entrunnen That seven weavers each had run
  wol siben webære, Away before the eighth man's skill
  ê ez volwebet wære. The final weaving did fulfill.
  ouch gap im diu muoter, Suit-cloth the mother gave him then,
140   daz nie seit sô guoter So wonderful a specimen
  versniten wart mit schære That never had a tailor's shears,
  von deheinem snîdære, Cut out such goods in many years.
  und einen pelz dar under Inside with fleece the cloth was lined,
  von sô getânem kunder With skin of beast of such a kind
145   daz ûf dem velde izzet gras; As grazes on the grassy field,
  niht sô wîzes in dem lande was. The whitest that the land could yield.
  dar nâch gap im daz getriuwe wîp The mother also gave her son
  ir lieben sune an sînen lîp A sword, a very handsome one,
  ketenwambîs unde swert; And doublet made of links of chain.
150   des was der jungelinc wol wert. For Helmbrecht nothing was too vain.
  noch gap si demn selben knaben His every wish she tried to meet
  zwei gewant, diu muost er haben, And gave, his outfit to complete,
  gnippen unde taschen breit; A dagger and a pouch. Behold,
  er ist noch ræze der si treit. These decked a youth both wild and bold!
155   Dô si gekleidet hêt den knaben, Now when she thus had dressed her son,
  dô sprach er: «muoter, ich muoz haben He said: "Dear mother, I need one
  dar über einen warkus; Thing more to wear: it is a coat.
  und sold ich des belîben sus, If I should be without it, note
  sô wær ich gar verswachet. How damaged and disgraced I'd be.
160   der sol ouch sîn gemachet, It should be made so handsomely
  alsô dîn ouge den an gesiht, That when you see me in the same
  daz dir dîn herze des vergiht, Your heart within you will exclaim
  dû habest des kindes êre, That you are honored in your son,
  swar ich danne kêre.» No matter where his path may run."
165   si hêt noch in den valden Still laid away in folds she had
  ein röckelîn behalden: A handsome dress; it was too bad
  des wart si âne leider She had to part with it the while,
  durch des sunes kleider. To clothe her son in proper style.
  si kouft im tuoch, daz was blâ! She bought him cloth of blue, so fair,
170   weder hie noch anderswâ Not here, indeed, nor anywhere
  truoc nie dehein meier Had any peasant theretofore
  einen roc der zweier eier Possessed a coat worth two eggs more
  wære bezzer dan der sîn; Than Helmbrecht's. What I say to you
  daz habt ûf die triuwe mîn. Is by my word of faith quite true!
175   Er kunde in tugende lêren Now he could teach him virtue's ways,
  und hôhen lop gemêren And also how to gain high praise,
  der im daz hêt gerâten: Who had advised him such a coat.
  nâch dem ruckebrâten Upon its back the eye could note
  von der gürtel unz in den nac From belt to neck in straight array
180   ein knöpfel an dem andern lac; How button close to button lay.
  diu wâren rot vergoldet. These brightly gleamed like reddest gold.
  Ob ir nû hœren woldet And if you further would be told
  von dem rocke fürbaz, Details about this coat, I'll try
  durch iuwer liebe sagte ich daz. To meet your wish and amplify.
185   dâ daz gollier an daz kin Down from the collar, 'neath the chin,
  gereichet, unz an die rinken hin A row of buttons did begin
  diu knöpfel wâren silberwîz. That reached the girdle-buckles quite.
  ez hêt selten solhen vlîz These buttons were of silver-white.
  an sînen warkus geleit Such labor rarely one bestows
190   dehein gebûre der in treit, Upon one's coat or other clothes.
  noch sô kostelîchiu werc No peasant wore such costly work
  zwischen Hôhensteine und Haldenberk Twixt Hohenstein and Haldenberk.10
  seht wie iu daz gevalle: And see now how this pleases you:
  driu knöpfel von kristalle, There were three crystal buttons, too,
195   weder ze kleine noch ze grôz, And not too small, nor yet too big.
  den buosem er dâ mit beslôz, He held with these his coat so trig
  er gouch und er tumbe. Across his chest, the stupid lout.
  sîn buosem was al umbe The bosom was all round about
  bestreut mit knöpfelînen, Bestrewn with buttons, fine and bright,
200   diu sach man verre schînen, That cast afar their dazzling light:
  gel, blâ, grüene, brûn und rôt, Yellow, blue, green, black, brown, red
  swarz und wîz, als er gebot. And white, to order as he'd said.
  diu lûhten sô mit glanze, These gleamed with such a brilliant sheen
  wenne er gie bî dem tanze, That at each dance where he was seen
205   sô wart er von in beiden, Most loving glances on him fell,
  von wîben und von meiden, From maidens and from wives as well.
  vil minneclîche an gesehen. They all were charmed his form to see.
  ich wil des mit wârheit jehen, Now I confess, quite honestly,
  daz ich bî dem selben knaben That while this youth was standing there
210   den wîben hêt unhôhe erhaben. I'd win scant favor from the fair.
  dâ der ermel an daz muoder gât Where sleeve was on to bodice bound,
  al umbe und umbe was diu nât The seam which ran its edge around
  behangen wol mit schellen: Was spangled gay with many a bell 11;"
  die hôrt man lûte hellen, One heard their tinkle very well.
215   swenne er an dem reien spranc, Whenever in the dance he sprang
  den wîben ez durch diu ôren klanc. He charmed the girls with their cling-clang.
  her Nîthart, und solde er leben, Sir Neidhart,12 if he still did live,
  dem hêt got den sin gegeben, Him God would ample talent give;
  der kunde ez iu gesingen baz In better verse this he could tell
220   dan ich gesagen. nû wizzet daz: Than I can, that I know quite well!
  si verkoufte manec huon und ei, Ere Helmbrecht's mother had bought his clothes,
  ê si im gewunne diu zwei, His leather leggins and his hose,
  hosen und spargolzen. Many a hen and egg was gone.
  Als si dô dem stolzen When at last the proud young son
225   sîniu bein hêt gekleit, Was thus decked out in gorgeous show,
  «mîn wille mich hinz hove treit», "My will impels me forth to go,"
  sprach er; «lieber vater mîn, He said. "Dear father, your support
  nu bedarf ich wol der stiure dîn: I need, that I may go to court.
  mir hât mîn muoter gegeben My mother gifts has given me,
230   und ouch mîn swester, sol ich leben, My sister too, so generously,
  daz ich in alle mîne tage That, as I live! to my last day
  immer holdez herze trage.» I'll bear them in my heart alway."
  Dem vater was daz ungemach. This gave the father great unrest.
  ze dem sune er in spotte sprach: His son in irony he addressed:
235   «ich gibe dir zuo der wæte "To match your clothes, I'll give a steed,
  einen hengest, der ist dræte And one that runs with swiftest speed,
  und der wol springe ziune und graben, One that can take a hedge or pit -
  den soltu dâ ze hove haben, At court you will have need of it -
  und der lange wege wol loufe. One that can run the longest course.
240   wie gerne ich dir den koufe, How gladly I shall buy the horse
  ob ich in veile vinde! If one is cheaply to be had!
  lieber sun, nu erwinde Meanwhile I beg, beloved lad,
  hinz hove dîner verte. Give up the trip you plan to court!
  diu hovewîse ist herte The courtier's life is of a sort
245   den die ir von kindes lit Too hard for those, and not well fit,
  habent niht gevolget mit. Who have not always followed it.
  lieber sun, nû men dû mir Dear son, you drive the steer for me,
  oder hab den phluoc, sô men ich dir, Or take the plow while I drive.
  und bûwe wir die huobe; We Shall thus get all our acres plowed.
250   sô kumst du in dîne gruobe And you will near your grave and shroud
  mit guoten êren alsam ich: With fullest honor, as I do
  zwâre des versihe ich mich. (I flatter me that this is true),
  ich bin getriuwe, gewære. For I've been upright, faithful, just,
  niht ein verrâtære; And never have betrayed a trust;
255   darzuo gibe ich alliu jâr What's more, I pay in full each year
  ze rehte mînen zehenden gar: My proper tenth 13 without arrear.
  ich hân gelebet mîne zît And thus far I have lived my life
  âne haz und âne nît.» Free from envy, free from strife."
  Er sprach: «lieber vater mîn. Said he: "Dear father mine, I pray
260   swîc und lâ die rede sîn. You drop this subject right away!
  dâ mac niht anders an geschehen, It cannot now be otherwise.
  wan ich wil benamen besehen, I'm bound to see, with my own eyes
  wie ez dâ ze hove smecke. What knightly life is like!
  mir sulen ouch dîne secke And know That now no longer I shall go,
265   nimmer rîten den kragen. Your sacks a-riding on my neck.
  ich sol ouch dir ûf dînen wagen Nor shall I longer at your beck
  nimmer mist gevazzen. Shovel dung upon your cart.
  sô solt mich got gehazzen, God's damnation blight my heart
  swenne ich dir ohsen wæte If I should drive your steers once more,
270   und dînen habern sæte. Or sow your oat-seed as before.
  daz zæme niht zewâre It ill becomes my dashing air,
  mînem langen valwen hâre Nor is it suited to my hair,
  und mînem reidem locke My flowing, blond and curly tress,
  und mînem wol stânden rocke My well-conditioned, handsome dress,
275   und mîner wæhen hûben My new-made coat, my hood so gay,
  und den sîdînen tûben Its hawks and pigeons on display,
  die dar ûf nâten frouwen. Embroidered by a lady's hand.
  ich hilf dir nimmer bouwen.» I'll never help you plow your land!"
  «Lieber sun, belîp bî mir. "Stay here, dear son, and do not go I
280   ich weiz wol, ez wil geben dir For Peasant Ruprecht, as I know,
  der meier Ruopreht sîn kint, Will give to you his daughter's hand;
  vil schâfe, swîne und zehen rint, Ten cattle, too, I understand,
  alter unde junger. And swine and sheep, both young and old.
  ze hove hâstu hunger At court you'll hungry be, and cold.
285   und muost dar zuo vil harte ligen Your bed will often be most hard,
  und aller gnaden sîn verzigen. You'll win no favor nor regard.
  nû volge mîner lêre, Now follow my admonishment,
  des hâstu frum und êre; 'Twill bring you honor and content;
  wan selten im gelinget, For seldom does it come to pass
290   der wider sînen orden ringet. That one can rise above one's class.
  dîn ordenunge ist der phluoc. Your station is behind the plow.
  dû vindest hoveliute genuoc, You'll find, too, courtiers enow
  swelchez ende dû kêrest. Wherever you direct your pace.
  dîn laster dû gemêrest, You'll bring upon you but disgrace,
295   sun, des swer ich dir bî got; I swear it, son. If you must test
  der rehten hoveliute spot The truth of this, you'll be the jest
  wirdestû, vil liebez kint. Of all born courtiers, as you'll see.
  dû solt mir volgen und erwint.» Control yourself, and follow me!"
  «Vater, und wirde ich geriten, "Father, once I have a steed
300   ich trûwe in hovelîchen siten You will find that I can lead
  immer alsô wol genesen, Court-life with just as fine an air
  sam die ze hove ie sint gewesen. As those who've always lived right there.
  swer die hûben wæhe Whoever once my headpiece sees
  ûf mînem houpte sæhe, With all its silk embroideries
305   der swüer wol tûsent eide Will take his oath upon first sight
  für diu werc beide, That I who wear it am a knight,
  ob ich dir ie gemente Although I've driven many a cow,
  oder phluoc in furch gedente. Marked many a furrow with the plow.
  swenne ich mich gekleide Once I'm dressed so smart and fine
310   in gewant daz si mir beide In all these handsome clothes of mine
  ze stiure gâben gester, That sister gave me yesterday,
  min muoter und mîn swester, And mother, too, in such array,
  sô bin ich sicherlîche I tell you most assuredly,
  dem vil ungelîche, Unlike my former self I'll be;
315   ob ich etewenne What though so many times before
  korn ûf dem tenne I've threshed upon the threshing floor
  mit drischelen ûz gebiez And with the flail have laid around,
  oder ob ich stecken ie gestiez. Or driven stakes into the ground.
  swenne ich fuoz unde bein Once I've clad both foot and limb
320   hân gezieret mit den zwein, And made them look so neat and trim
  hosen und schuohen von korrûn, In hose and Cordovan-made 14 shoes,
  ob ich ie geziunte zûn No one can tell, e'en though he choose -
  dir oder ander iemen, No one will think then to allege -
  des meldet mich niemen. That I have ever built a hedge.
325   gîst dû mir den meidem, If you will give to me the mount,
  meier Ruopreht zeinem eidem Peasant Ruprecht need not count
  bin ich im immer mê verzigen: On me to take his girl to wife.
  ich wil mich niht durch wîp verligen.» No petticoat shall rule my life!"
  Er sprach: «sun, eine wîle dage He said: "A moment silent stay
330   und vernim waz ich dir sage. And hear, son, what I've got to say.
  swer volget guoter lêre, Who follows good admonishment
  der gewinnet frum und êre: Gains from it honor and content.
  swelch kint sînes vater rât The child who both in word and deed
  ze allen zîten übergât, His father's counsel will not heed
335   daz stât ze jungest an der schame Will reap at last but harm; his name
  und an dem schaden rehte alsame. Will soon be overwhelmed with shame.
  wilt dû dich sicherlîchen Now if you simply will not hear,
  genôzen und gelîchen But class yourself as friend and peer
  dem wol gebornen hoveman, Of courtier noble-born and high,
340   dâ misselinget dir an; You'll meet with failure when you try.
  er treit dir dar umbe haz. For this he'll only bear you hate.
  dû solt ouch wol gelouben daz, You should believe what I now state,
  ez kleit dehein gebûre niht That never will a peasant grieve
  swaz dir dâ ze leide geschiht. At any harm you may receive.
345   und næme ein rehter hoveman And if a knight, a genuine one,
  dem gebûren swaz er ie gewan, Took all a peasant e'er had won,
  der gedinget doch ze jungest baz He'd fare much better, son, than you.
  danne dû. nû wizze daz: You know how certainly that's true.
  nimst dû im ein fuoter, For if you steal a peasant's food,
350   lieber sun vil guoter. Dear son of mine, beloved and good,
  gewinnet er dîn oberhant, If once he gets you in his hand,
  sô bist dû bürge unde phant You're pledge and hostage, understand,
  für alle die im haben genomen. For all who've robbed of him before.
  er lât dich niht ze rede komen, On you he'll settle each old score.
355   die pfenninge sind alle gezalt; Your pleas will fruitlessly be spent.
  ze gote hât er sich versalt, He'll count himself God's instrument
  sleht er dich an dem roube. If he should slay you at your deed.
  lieber sun, geloube My own dear son, believe and heed
  mir diu mære und belîp All that I say. Avoid all strife,
360   und nim ein êlîchez wîp.» Stay here, and choose yourself a wife."
  «Vater, swaz sô mir geschiht, Whatever, father, be my fate,
  ich lâze mîner verte niht; I'll not yield now, it's far too late!
  ich muoz benamen in die büne. Forth I must fare upon the stage.
  nû heiz ander dîne süne, Now others as your sons engage,
365   daz si sich mit dem phluoge müen. And let them sweat behind your plow.
  ez muezen rinder vor mir lüen The cattle such as I drive now
  die ich über ecke trîbe. Must bellowing before me flee.
  daz ich sô lange belîbe, I'd not be here for you to see
  des irret mich ein gurre; Except for lack of nag or steed.
370   daz ich niht ensnurre That I can't ride at whizzing speed
  mit den andern über ecke Along with others, all on edge,
  und die gebûren durch die hecke Go raiding through each peasant's hedge,
  niht enfuere bî dem hâre, And drag him out by head of hair,
  daz ist mir leit zewâre. That gives me deep regret, I swear!
375   die armuot möht ich nicht verdoln; I'll not endure the pinch of need;
  swenne ich driu jâr einen voln If in three years I should indeed
  züge und als lange ein rint, Raise one poor colt, one cow as well,
  der gewin wær mir ein wint. Such gain would be a bagatelle.
  ich wil rouben alle tage, I'll go a-robbing every day,
380   dâ mite ich mich wol bejage That I may gain sufficient prey,
  mit volleclîcher koste And ample victuals, free of cost;
  und den lîp vor froste And that my body from the frost
  wol behalde in dem winder, In winter's kept; unless it be
  ez enwelle et niemen rinder. None buys my captured steers from me.
385   vater, balde île, Father, hasten now straightway,
  entwâle deheiner wîle, Do not make the least delay!
  gip den meidem balde mir: Give to me at once the steed
  ich belîbe lenger niht bî dir.» And let me swiftly from you speed!"
  Die rede wil ich kürzen. I will not let the story lag.
390   einen loden von drîzec stürzen Some thirty yards of woolen shag
  (alsô saget uns daz mære, (And, as the tale would have us know,
  daz der lode wære This cloth of thirty folds 15 or so
  aller loden lengest), Was longest of all lengths of shag),
  den gap er an den hengest He sold, to buy his son the nag;
395   und guoter küeje viere, Four finest cows, too, it appears,
  zwêne ohsen und drî stiere A yoke of oxen and three steers,
  und vier mütte kornes. Four measures also of his grain.
  owê guotes verlornes! Alas, lost goods for all his pain!
  er koufte den hengst umb zehen phunt: For full ten pounds 16 he bought the horse,
400   er hêt in an der selben stunt And in that selfsame hour, of course,
  kûme gegeben umbe driu: At three it would have scarce resold;
  owê verlorniu sibeniu! The seven pounds were but lost gold.
  Dô der sun wart bereit When now the son thus ready stood,
  und er sich hêt an geleit, Had donned his handsome clothes and hood,
405   nû hœret, wie der knabe sprach. Hear what the foolish youth then said.
  er schutte daz houbet unde sach He proudly shook his hooded head,
  ûf ietweder ahselbein: And in a vaunting, boastful tone
  «ich bizze wol durch einen stein; Said: "I could bite through hardest stone!
  ich bin sô muotes ræze, I feel such bold and valiant mood,
410   hei waz ich îsens vræze! Heigh! I could chew up iron for food
  ez næme der keiser für gewin, I Let the Kaiser 17 count it gain
  viengo ich in niht und züge in hin If I don't capture and enchain
  und beschazte in unz an den slouch And pluck him to the very hide;
  und den herzogon ouch Our good and noble duke beside,
415   und eteslîchen grâven. Perhaps a count or two as well.
  über velt wil ich draven Cross fields I shall ride pell-mell
  âne angest mînes verhes My course without the slightest fear,
  und alle welt dwerhes. Crisscross the world both far and near.
  lâ mich ûz dîner huote Now let me pass from out your care
420   hinnen phurren, nâch mînem muote To hurtle swiftly through the air.
  wil ich selbe wahsen. In my own fashion I will grow.
  vater, einen Sahsen A Saxon, 18 father, you must know,
  den züget ir lîhter danne mich.» You'd rear with greater ease than me!"
  Er sprach: «sun, sô wil ich dich He said: "You may then, son, be free.
425   mîner zühte lâzen frî. With your training I am through.
  nû zuo des der neve sî! Henceforth I wash my hands of you!
  sît ich mîne zuht sol mîden My further counsel I must spare
  an dem ûf rîden, As to the way you curl your hair.
  sô hüete dîner hûben However, guard your handsome hood
430   und der sîdînen tûben, With all its doves, lest someone rude
  daz man die indert rüere Should touch it without gentleness,
  oder mit übele iht zefüere And, with bad intent, might mess
  dîn langez valwez hâre. Your long and light-blond locks thereby.
  und wilt dû zewâre But if you really want to try
435   mîner zühte nimmêre Without my guidance and my aid
  sô vürhte ich vil sêre, To get along, I'm sore afraid
  dû volgest ze jungest einem stabe A staff will be your guide some day,19
  und swar dich wîse ein kleiner knabe.» Some child will lead you on your way."
  er sprach: «sun, vil lieber knabe, He said: "O son, beloved young man,
440   lâ dich noch rihten abe. Let me dissuade you from your plan!
  dû solt leben des ich lebe Live here on what I live on too,
  und des dir dîn muoter gebe. And on what mother gives to you.
  trinc wazzer, lieber sun mîn, Drink water, dearest son of mine,
  ê dû mit roube koufest wîn. Ere you with booty buy your wine.
445   datz Ôsterrîche clamirre, Our meal-cake, even in Austria, son,
  ist ez jener, ist ez dirre, Is much enjoyed by everyone.
  der tumbe und der wîse Both wise and stupid relish it —
  hant ez dâ für herren spîse. For noblemen they deem it fit.
  die soltû ezzen, liebez kint, Do you, dear child, eat of it too,
450   ê dû ein geroubtez rint Before you go so far that you
  gebest umb eine henne Exchange your stolen oxen when
  dem wirte eteswenne. You're hungry, for a paltry hen.
  dîn mnoter durch die wochen Each week day mother here can make
  kan guoten brîen kochen: The best of soups, and no mistake!
455   den soltû ezzen in den grans, Fill up your maw with that! 'Twill aid
  ê dû gebest umb eine gans You better than to give in trade
  ein geroubtez phärit. For someone's goose your stolen horse.
  sun, und hêtest dû den sit, If you will only take this course
  sô lebtest dû mit êren, You'll live in honor, son, like me,
460   swar dû woldest kêren. No matter where you chance to be.
  sun, den rocken mische Son, mix a little bit of rye
  mit habern, ê dû vische Together with your oats, and try
  ezzest nâch unêren: To be content with this good dish
  sus kan dîn vater lêren. Before you eat of stolen fish.20
465   volge mir, sô hâstu sin; Follow me, and you are wise;
  sî des niht, sô var dâ hin. If not, betake you from my eyes!
  erwirbstu guot und êren vil, Though you win wealth and honor too,
  für wâr ich des niht enwil I shall not wish to share with you;
  mit dir haben gemeine: And if you win disgrace and pain,
470   hab ouch den schaden eine.» Alone bear these, as well as gain."
  «Dû solt trinken, vater mîn, "You drink your water, father mine,
  wazzer, sô wil ich trinken wîn. And I shall quench my thirst with wine.
  und iz dû gîselitze. Enjoy your groats, if you so wish,
  sô wil ich ezzen ditze But I prefer a better dish
475   daz man dâ heizet huon versoten; Of chicken, boiled deliciously;
  daz wirt mir nimmer verboten. It cannot be forbidden me.
  ich wil ouch unz an mînen tôt And I shall eat, until I'm dead,
  von wîzen semeln ezzen brôt: The finest, whitest wheaten bread.
  haber der ist dir geslaht. The oats are proper food for you.
480   man liset ze Rôme an der phaht, The Roman law says, and it's true:
  ein kint gevâhe in sîner jugent A child will, in his early days
  von sînem toten eine tugent. Take on his sponsor's virtuous ways.21
  ein edel ritter was mîn tote: A noble knight once sponsored me,
  sælic sî der selbe gote And blessed may he ever be.
485   von dem ich sô edel bin Through him I am of noble kind,
  und trage sô hôchvertigen sin!» And have a proud and knightly mind!"
  Der vater sprach: «nû gloube daz, The father said: "Believe me, son,
  mir geviele et michel baz Who far more pleases me, is one
  ein man der rehte tæte That follows only proper ways,
490   und dar an belibe stæte. Does right, and always constant stays.
  wær des geburt ein wênic laz, Though he by birth be somewhat low,
  der behagte doch der welde baz He'll please the world much better so
  dan von küneges fruht ein man Than one of royal line or birth,
  der tugent noch êre nie gewan. Devoid of virtue or of worth.
495   ein frumer man von swacher art A worthy man of low degree,
  und ein edel man an dem nie wart And a noble without honesty
  weder zuht noch êre bekant, Or morals, you must understand,
  und koment die bêde in ein lant Should both these enter some strange land
  dâ niemen weiz wer si sint, Where no one knew them, you would see
500   man hât des swachen mannes kint They'd take the man of low degree
  für den edelen hôchgeborn To be the noble of high birth,
  der für êre hât schande erkorn. Not him who chooses shame for worth.
  sun, und wilt dû edel sîn, My son, if you would noble be,
  daz rât ich ûf die triuwe mîn, I counsel you most faithfully,
505   sô tuo vil edellîche: Be noble, then, in what you do!
  guot zuht ist sicherlîche Good conduct, this is always true,
  ein krône ob aller edelkeit; Is crown of all true nobleness.
  daz sî dir für wâr geseit.» That I am right, you must confess."
  Er sprach: «vater, dû hâst wâr. The son said: "Father, that is true.
510   mich enlât mîn hûbe und mîn hâr But then, my hood, my long hair too,
  und mîn wol stânde gewæte My handsome clothes, all seem to say:
  niht belîben stæte. You can't stay rooted here! Away!
  diu sint beidiu sô glanz, So brilliantly my garments gleam,
  daz si baz zæmen einem tanz More fitting for a dance they seem
515   dan der eiden oder dem phluoc.» Then harrowing or plowing earth."
  «Wê daz dich muoter getruoc!» "Alas that mother gave you birth!"
  sprach der vater zuo dem sun. Exclaimed the father to the son.
  «du wiltz beste lân undz bœse tuon. "Because you leave the best undone
  sun, vil schœner jungelinc, And do the worst! My handsome youth,
520   dû solt sagen mir ein dinc. Reply to this, and speak the truth
  ob dir wonen witze bî, If you have common sense and wit,
  weder baz lebendiger sî: Which has the better life of it:
  dem man fluochet unde schiltet He, whom all berate and curse,
  und des al diu welt engiltet Whose actions make the whole world worse,
525   und mit der liute schaden lebet Who lives from other people's woe,
  und wider gotes hulde strebet - And works against God's favor so :
  nû welhes leben ist reiner? Which life now is the purer, son,
  sô ist aber einer His, or again, the life of one
  des al diu welt geniuzet From whom the whole world profit draws,
530   und den des niht verdriuzet, Who does not seem aggrieved because
  er werbe naht unde tac, He struggles hard, both day and night,
  daz man sîn geniezen mac, For others' gain, to live aright —
  und got dar under êret; To God doth proper honor show;
  swelhez ende er kêret, And who, wherever he may go
535   dem ist got und al diu welt holt. Finds favor both with God and man?
  lieber sun, dû mir solt Dear son, now tell me if you can —
  mit der wârheit sagen daz, But speak the truth — which of these two
  weder dir nû gevalle baz.» Is the more pleasing man to you?"
  «Vater mîn, daz tuot der man, "Father mine, it is the man
540   des man niht engolten kan Who harms no one, but rather can
  und des man geniezen sol. Bring gain and pleasure to mankind;
  der ist lebendiger wol.» His is the better life, I find."
  «Lieber sun, daz wærest dû, "And you would be that very one
  ob dû mir woldest volgen nû. If you would follow me, dear son.
545   sô bûwe mit dem phluoge; Stay here at home and help me plow
  sô geniezent dîn genuoge: And you will help the world enow.
  dîn geniuzet sicherlîche You'll profit then both rich and poor
  der arme und der rîche, By such good work, you may be sure.
  dîn geniuzet wolf und ar The wolf, indeed, the eagle too,22
550   und alliu creatûre gar All creatures will rejoice for you,
  und swaz got ûf der erden All living things of sea and land
  hiez ie lebendic werden. Called into life by God's command.
  lieber sun, nû bouwe: Beloved son, stay by the plow,
  ja wirt vil manec frouwe For with its gain it can endow
555   von dem bûwe geschœnet, With beauty many a dame. 'Tis found
  manec künec wirt gekrœnet That many a king himself is crowned
  von des bûwes stiuwer. Through gains our farming-labors buy.
  wan niemen wart sô tiuwer, And no one ever stood so high
  sîn hôchvart wære kleine Whose pride would not endure a fall
560   wan durch daz bû aleine.» If farming were not done at all."
  «Vater, dîner predige "From your sermons, sire,
  got mich schiere erledige. I pray God grant to me release straightway.
  und ob ûz dir worden wære If by chance you had turned out
  ein rehter predigære, A genuine preacher, I don't doubt
565   dû bræhtest liute wol ein her But that your sermons would have made
  mit dîner predige über mer. A grand success with some crusade!
  vernim waz ich dir sagen wil: Now what I wish to say, please hear:
  bûwent die gebûren vil, Though peasants do much work, I fear
  si ezzent wol dester mê. They eat up more than is their share.
570   swie halt mir mîn dinc ergê, And now, however I may fare,
  ich wil dem phluoge widersagen. I certainly will plow no more!
  und sold ich swarze hende tragen If soiled and blackened hands I wore
  von des phluoges schulde, Because I did the plowing here,
  sô mir gotes hulde, Then by the grace of God, it's clear
575   sô wær ich immer geschant, I should be shamed, beyond all chance,
  swenne ich tanzte an frouwen hant.» When I took ladies' hands in dance."
  Der vater sprach: «nû vrage, The father said: "My son, demand —
  daz dich des iht betrâge, And be not vexed at my command —
  swâ dû sîst den wîsen bî, Wherever you may wise men see,
580   mir troumte ein troum, waz daz sî. Just what this dream I dreamed might be:
  dû hêtest zwei lieht in der hant, You had two candles in your hand.
  diu brunnen, daz si durch diu lant These burned, until far over land
  lûhten mit ir schîne. Their rays shone clear, and brightly beamed.
  lieber sun der mîne, The man of whom I last year dreamed,
585   sust troumt mir vert von einem man, Loved son, a dream of this same kind,
  den sach ich hiure blinden gân.» I saw him this year walking blind!"
  Er sprach: «vater, daz ist guot. The son said: "Father, very well!
  ich gelâze nimmer mînen muot But if perchance my courage fell
  umb sus getâniu mære; At such a tale, then certainly
590   ein zage ich danne wære.» An arrant coward I should be!"
  In enhalf et niht sîn lêre. This warning failed, like those before.
  er sprach: «mir troumte mêre: The father said: "And I dreamed more:
  ein fuoz dir ûf der erde gie, One foot you walked on, painfully;
  dô stüende du mit dem andern knie Your other leg, off at the knee,
595   hôhe ûf einem stocke; Was resting on a wooden crutch.
  dir ragete ûz dem rocke From out your coat there stuck some such
  einez als ein ahsendrum. A thing as splintered shoulder blade!
  sol dir der troum wesen frum, That profit from this dream be made,
  oder waz er bediute, Ask what its hidden sense may be,
600   des frâge wîse liute.» Of all the wise men that you see!"
  «Daz ist sælde unde heil "That means good luck, health free from care,
  und aller rîchen freuden teil.» Of all rich joys a goodly share!"
  Er sprach: «sun, noch troumte mir He said: "A further dream I dreamed,
  ein troum, den wil ich sagen dir. And shall I tell you how it seemed?
605   dû soldest fliegen hôhe It seemed to me you wished to fly
  über welde und über lôhe: O'er woods and brush, high in the sky.
  ein vettich wart dir versniten: Somehow, a wing was clipped off short.
  dô wart dîn vliegen vermiten. This put an end to all your sport.
  sol dir der troum guot sîn? Does this dream, also, good foretell?
610   owê hende, fueze und ougen dîn!» Alas, hands, feet, and eyes as well!"
  «Vater, al die tröume dîn "Father, all of these your dreams
  sint vil gar diu sælde mîn» Foretell my happiness, it seems,"
  sprach der junge Helmbreht. Said Peasant Helmbrecht's youthful son.
  «schaf dir umb einen andern kneht: "For servant, seek some other one.
615   dû bist mit mir versoumet, You'll now be left behind by me,
  swie vil dir sî getroumet.» No matter what your dreams may be."
  «Sun, al die tröume sint ein wint, He said: "These dreams, compared with one,
  die mir noch getroumet sint: Are but a puff of wind, my son!
  nû hœr von einem troume. Hear one dream more that came to me:
620   dû stüende ûf einem boume: I saw you standing on a tree.
  von dînen fuezen unz an das gras Above the grass your feet, I swear,
  wol anderhalp klâfter was; Were near two fathoms in the air.
  ob dînem houpte ûf einem zwî Perched above your head so high
  saz ein rabe, ein krâ dâ bî. A raven sat, a crow near by.
625   dîn hâr was dir bestroubet: Your hair was matted and unkempt.
  dô strælte dir dîn houbet These two birds combed it, as I dreamt:
  zeswenhalp der rabe dâ, From right the crow would dart at it,
  winsterhalp schiet dirz diu krâ. From left the raven parted it.
  Owê, sun, des troumes, Alas, this dream that I did see,
630   owê, sun, des boumes, Alas, oh son, alas the tree!
  owê des raben, owê der krân! Alas the raven and the crow!
  jâ wæn ich riuwec bestân I've ill succeeded, as I know,
  des ich an dir hân erzogen, In what I've brought you up to be,
  mir habe der troum danne gelogen.» Unless the dream has lied to me."
635   «Ob dir nû, vater, wizze Krist, "By Christ! And father, though it seems
  troumte allez daz der ist, You've dreamed all that there is of dreams,
  beide übel unde guot, Both of the good and evil too,
  ich gelâze nimmer mînen muot I'll ne'er give up, whate'er I do,
  hinnen unz an mînen tôt. The trip I long for, till my death.
640   mir wart der verte nie sô nôt. I feel its need with every breath.
  vater, got der hüete dîn Dear father, may God care for you,
  und ouch der lieben muoter mîn; And care for dearest mother, too!
  iuwer beider kindelîn His kindness on your children rest,
  diu muezen immer sælec sîn. And may they be forever blessed!
645   got hab uns alle in sîner phlege.» God keep us all within his care!"
  dâ mite reit er ûf die wege. With this, young Helmbrecht forth did fare;
  urloup nam er zuo dem vater; To father his farewell once said,
  hin drâte er über den gater. Through the gate he quickly sped.
  sold ich allez sîn geverte sagen, If I related all his ways,
650   daz enwurde in drin tagen, Then not within three livelong days —
  oder lîhte in einer wochen Perhaps, indeed, not in a week —
  nimmer gar volsprochen. Could I make end and cease to speak.
  Ûf eine burc kom er geriten. He, riding on, reached castle walls.23
  dâ was der wirt in den siten, The knight who ruled within its halls
655   daz er urliuges wielt From warfare ample booty gained;
  und ouch vil gerne die behielt, And so, most gladly he retained
  die wol getorsten rîten Whoever did not fear to ride
  und mit den vînden strîten. And fight his foemen at his side.
  dâ wart der knabe gesinde. The youth became a squire to him.
660   an roube wart er sô swinde, His plundering became so grim,
  swaz ein ander ligen liez What others scarcely would attack
  in sînen sac erz allez stiez. He thrust within his greedy sack.
  er nam ez allez gemeine: He pilfered anything at all;
  dehein roup was im ze kleine, No booty was for him too small,
665   im was ouch niht ze grôz. Nor could it be too big for him.
  ez wære rûch, ez wære blôz, It might be shaggy, sleek, or slim,
  ez wære krump, ez wære sleht, It might be straight, or have a crook —
  daz nam allez Helmbreht, All, just the same, our Helmbrecht took,
  des meier Helmbrehtes kint. The peasant Helmbrecht's ill-starred son.
670   er nam daz ros, er nam daz rint, He'd take a horse from anyone,
  er lie dem man niht leffels wert; Or cow, and scarce a spoonful leave.
  er nam wambîs unde swert, Of sword and doublet he'd relieve
  er nam mandel unde roc, A man — of mantle and of coat.
  er nam die geiz, er nam den boc, He took his kid, he took his goat,
675   er nam die ou, er nam den wider: He took the sheep, the ram beside;
  daz galt er mit der hiute sider. He paid it later with his hide!
  röckel, pheit dem wîbe He'd even take a woman's skirt,
  zôch er ab dem lîbe, From off her back he'd pull the shirt,
  ir kürsen und ir mandel: Her coat of skin, her cloak, or gown.
680   des hêt er gerne wandel, But when the sheriff tamed him down
  dô in der scherge machet zam, He felt the deepest sort of rue
  daz er wîben ie genam; That he had robbed from women too;
  daz ist sicherlîchen wâr. The truth of this will soon appear.
  ze wunsche im daz êrste jâr Good fortune favored his first year;
685   sîne segelwinde duzzen Fine sailing-wind hummed overhead,
  und sîniu schef ze heile fluzzen. His craft in safety forward sped.
  sînes muotes wart er sô geil, His daring then grew greater yet,
  dâ von daz im der beste teil Because the best share he would get
  ie geviel an gewinnen. Of captured booty and of prey.
690   dô begunde er heim sinnen, But now his thoughts began to stray
  als ie die liute phlâgen Towards his own kin. All those that roam
  heim zuo ir mâgen. Thus feel themselves at times drawn home.
  ze hove er urloup dô nam So from his lord he took his leave;
  und ze dem gesinde sam, His comrades likewise did receive
695   daz si got der guote His farewell wishes, that God might
  hêt in siner huote. Keep them in his watchful sight.
  Hie hebet sich ein mære, Here comes a chapter to relate
  daz vil müelîch wære Which it were hard to relegate
  ze verswîgen den liuten. To silence, and forbear to tell.
700   kunde ich ez bediuten, If only I could picture well
  wie man in dâ heime enphienge! How those at home received the youth!
  ob man iht gegen im gienge? Did they walk toward him? No, forsooth,
  nein, ez wart geloufen, They did not walk, they ran instead.
  alle mit einem houfen, All in a heap they sprang ahead.
705   einez für daz ander dranc; Each one before the other pushed.
  vater unde muoter spranc, The father, mother, leapt and rushed
  als in nie kalp ersturbe. As though no calf of theirs had died.24
  wer daz botenbrôt erwurbe? What did the servant who first spied
  dem knehte gap man âne fluoch The lad receive for such good news?25
710   beide hemde unde bruoch. Shirts and breeches he well could use.
  sprach daz frîwîp und der kneht: Did the hired folk 26 then straight out
  «bis willekomen, Helmbreht!»? "Welcome, Helmbrecht!" gaily shout?
  nein, si entâten, That by no means did they do,
  ez wart in widerrâten; For well had they been charged not to!
715   si sprâchen: «juncherre mîn, But rather: "Sir," both spoke instead,
  ir sult got willekomen sîn!» "God's welcome to you, sir!" He said:
  «vil liebe soete kindekîn, "Min leizve saute Kindekin,
  got lâte iuch immer sælec sîn!» Gott lass euch immer selig sin!" 27
  diu swester engegen im lief, His sister ran up to him then.
720   mit den armen si in umbeswief. She threw her arms around him; when
  dô sprach er zuo der swester: With these strange words he next addressed her,
  «gratia vester!» As greeting to her: "Gratia vester!"
  hin für was den jungen gâch, The young ones in the lead we find;
  die alten zugen hinden nâch; The parents panted on behind.
725   si enphiengen in beide âne zal. They showered their greetings on the lad.
  zem vater sprach er: «deu sal!» "Dieu vous salue!" replied the cad
  zuo der muoter sprach er sâ To father; and to mother so,
  bêheimisch: «dobra ytra!» Bohemianwise: "Dobre jitro!"
  si sâhen beide einander an, Between these two a look was sent
730   beide daz wîp und der man. That showed their great astonishment.
  diu hûsfrou sprach: «herre wirt, The wife spoke: "Husband, I believe
  wir sîn der sinne gar verirt. Our senses fool us and deceive!
  er ist niht unser beider kint: He's not our child, but, I contend,
  er ist ein Bêheim oder ein Wint.» Bohemian, or else a Wend."
735   der vater sprach: «er ist ein Walh. The father spoke: "A Frenchman he.
  mîn sun, den ich got bevalh, My son, whom I did faithfully
  der ist ez niht sicherlîche Commend to God, he's not, I swear,
  und ist im doch gelîche.» Although he's like him to a hair."
  dô sprach sîn swester Gotelint: Then Gotlint, sister of the youth,
740   «er ist niht iuwer beider kint. Said: "He is not your son, in truth!
  er antwurt mir in der latîn: He spoke in Latin words to me;
  er mac wol ein pfaffe sîn.» He is a priest or monk, maybe."
  «entriuwen», sprach der vrîman, "My faith!" declared the hired hand,
  als ich von im vernomen hân, "If I correctly understand,
745   sô ist er ze Sahsen This youth was reared in Saxony,
  oder ze Brâbant gewahsen. Or Flanders, that is plain to see.
  er sprach «liebe soete kindekin»: 'Leiwe Kindekin,' said the youth;
  er mac wol ein Sahse sîn.» He must be Saxon then, forsooth!"
  Der wirt sprach mit rede sleht: Simply the father spoke, and slow:
750   «bist dûz mîn sun Helmbreht, "Son Helmbrecht, is it you, or no?
  dû hâst gewunnen mich dâ mite, If my heart you wish to win
  sprich ein wort nâch unserm site, Speak but a word as all your kin
  als unser vordern tâten, And kith at home have always done,
  sô daz ichz müge errâten. That I may know you are my son.
755   dû sprichest immer «deu sal», 'Dieu vous salue!' you say, or so,
  daz ich enweiz zwiu ez sal. But what that means I do not know.
  êre dîne muoter unde mich, Honor me, and mother, too;
  daz diene wir immer umbe dich: We both deserve as much from you.
  sprich ein wort tiutischen. Speak a single German word!
760   ich wil dir dînen hengest wischen, I'll rub your horse when that I've heard,
  ich selbe unde niht mîn kneht, Myself, and not my hired hand —
  lieber sun Helmbreht, A word that I can understand;
  daz dû immer sælec müezest sîn.» And blessings on you, son Helmbrecht."
  «Ey waz snacket ir gebûrekîn "Wat hewwt ihr dummer Bur mi seggt 28
765   und jenez gunêrte wîf? Und das vermoledete Wif?
  mîn parit, mînen klâren lîf Min Pird un minen smucken
  sol dehein gebûric man Lif Sail mir ein -plumper Buersmann
  zwâre nimmer gegrîpen an.» Wahrhaftig nimmer gripen an!"
  Des erschrac der wirt vil sêre. This speech alarm in him awoke,
770   dô sprach er aber mêre: But still the father kindly spoke:
  «bistuz Helmbreht, mîn sun, "If you're my son, my Helmbrecht, then
  ich siude dir noch hînte ein huon Tonight I'll boil for you a hen,
  und brâte dir aber einez: And also roast a second one.
  daz rede ich niht meinez. I'll keep this promise to you, son.
775   und bist duz niht Helmbreht, mîn kint, But if you're not Helmbrecht, my child,
  sît ir ein Bêheim oder ein Wint, But foreign Wend, Bohemian wild,
  sô vart hin zuo den Winden! Betake you to the Wends! God knows,
  ich hân mit mînen kinden Trials enough I have, and woes,
  weizgot vil ze schaffen. In caring solely for my own.
780   ich gibe ouch keinem pfaffen And only barest dues alone
  niht wan sîn barez reht. Shall priest or monk receive from me!
  sît irz niht Helmbreht, If you're not Helmbrecht, certainly,
  hêt ich danne alle vische, Though I had amplest stores of fish,
  irn twaht bî mînem tische You'd never get a single dish,
785   durch ezzen nimmer iuwer hant. Nor at my table wash your hand.29
  sit ir ein Sahse oder ein Brâbant If you're from Saxony, Brabant,
  oder sît ir vn Walhen, Or if again you come from France,
  ir müeset iuwer malhen It's well if in your bag perchance
  mit iu hân gefüeret: You have provisions with you now;
790   von iu wirt gerüeret For you will never then, I vow,
  des mînen niht zewâre, Touch food of mine, I'd have you hear,
  und wær diu naht ein jâre. Not though the night should prove a year!
  ich enhân den mete noch den wîn: No wine or mead is on my board.
  juncherre, ir sult bî herren sîn!» Young sir, go stay with some rich lord!"
795   Nû was ez harte spâte. Now it was growing on toward night.
  der knabe wart ze râte Young Helmbrecht counseled left and right
  in sîn selbes muote: Within himself, and then said he:
  «sam mir got der guote, "As true as God my help may be,
  ich wil in sagen wer ich sî. I'll tell you who I am, straight out!
800   ez ist hie nindert nâhen bî For nowhere is there round about
  ein wirt der mich behalde. A host who would receive me.
  niht guoter witze ich walde, It was not sharp, believe me,
  daz ich mîn rede verkêre: My speech to you thus to disguise.
  ich entuon ez nimmer mêre.» I'll act no more in such a wise."
805   Er sprach: «jâ bin ich ez der.» He said, "Yes, I am he, it's true!"
  der vater sprach: «nû saget wer!» The father said, "Well, say then who!"
  «der dâ heizet alsam ir.» "The one who bears your selfsame name."
  der vater sprach: «den nennet mir!» The father said: "Declare the same"
  «ich bin geheizen Helmbreht. "They call me Helmbrecht, after you.
810   iuwer sun und iuwer kneht Your son, and also servant, too,
  was ich vor einem jâre: I was, and but a year ago;
  daz sag ich iu zewâre.» And this I swear to you is so."
  der vater sprach: «nein ir.» "I think you lie," the father spoke.
  «ez ist wâr!» «sô nennet mir "'Tis true!" "Then name to me the yoke
815   mîne ohsen alle viere!» Of oxen four in front of you!"
  «daz tuon ich vil schiere. "That I can very quickly do.
  der ich dô wîlen pflegte That ox, that formerly I took
  und mînen gart ob in wegte, So oft in charge, and o'er it shook
  der eine heizet Ûwer; My stick, we called it 'Heather.'
820   ez wart nie gebûwer I'm very doubtful whether
  sô rîche noch sô wacker, There ever farmer was who would
  er zæme ûf sînem acker. Not own such cattle if he could.
  der ander der hiez Ræme: And that next ox, we called him 'Spot.'
  nie rint sô genæme A prettier creature no one's got,
825   wart geweten under joch. Or ever harnessed up in yoke!
  den dritten nenne ich iu noch: The third, too, I can name," he spoke,
  der was geheizen Erge. "We called that tricky creature 'Spite.'
  ez komt von mîner kerge, It is because my mind's so bright
  daz ich si kan genennen. That all their names I still can tell.
830   welt ir mich noch erkennen: And will you further prove me?
  der vierde der hiez Sunne. Well, The other ox's name is 'Sun.'
  Ob ichs genennen kunne, That I can name them, every one,
  des lât mich geniezen: Let that to my advantage be,
  heizt mir daz tor ûf sliezen!» And have the door unbarred for me!"
835   der vater sprach: «tür unde tor The father said: "At door and gate
  dâ soltû niht sîn lenger vor; Shall you no longer stand and wait;
  beide gadem unde schrîn And every chamber, every chest,
  sol dir allez offen sîn.» Shall open be at your request."
  Unsælde sî verwâzen! Misfortune, may you cursed be!
840   ich bin vil gar erlâzen For never has there come to me
  sô guoter handelunge, Such goodly treatment, of a truth,
  als dâ hêt der junge. As now was given to the youth.
  sîn phärit wart enphettet, His horse out to the stall was led.
  im selben wol gebettet And for himself the finest bed
845   von swester und von muoter. Did sister, mother, then prepare.
  der vater gap daz fuoter The father tended to the fare.
  weizgot niht mit zadele. He furnished food with lavish hand.
  swie vil ich var enwadele, Much as I've wandered through the land
  sô bin ich an deheiner stete, Such kindly care I've nowhere had
850   dâ man mir tuo, als man im tete. As was bestowed upon this lad.
  diu muoter rief die tohter an: The mother to her girl did cry:
  «dû solt loufen und niht gân "Now do not walk, my child, but fly
  in daz gadem unde reich Up to our storeroom in the loft
  einen bolster und ein küsse weich!» And bring down bolster and pillow soft."
855   daz wart im under den arm These things upon the stove were spread
  geleit ûf einen oven warm, To make a warm, luxurious bed, 30
  dâ er vil sanite erbeit, That he might rest upon the same
  unz daz ezzen wart bereit. Until the time for dinner came.
  Dô der knabe erwachet, When Helmbrecht had awaked again
860   daz ezzen was gemachet, The dinner was prepared, and then
  und er die hende hêt getwagen, He washed his hands. I'll now relate
  hœrt waz für in wart getragen. What food was placed before his plate.
  ich wil iu nennen die êrsten traht I'll name the course they first set down
  (wær ich ein herre in hôher aht, (Were I a man of high renown
865   mit der selben rihte I'd always most contented be
  wold ich haben phlihte): If this same dish were served to me) :
  ein krût vil kleine gesniten; As fine-cut kraut 31 as you will find;
  veizt und mager, in bêden siten, And fat and lean (there was each kind)
  ein guot fleisch lac dâ bî. Came with this dish — the best of meat.
870   hœret waz daz ander sî: Now hear what food he next did eat:
  ein veizter kæse, der was mar; A soft and ripe and fatty cheese
  diu rihte wart getragen dar. Was served and cut, the youth to please.
  nû hœrt wie ich daz wizze: A third dish followed then, to wit,
  nie veizter gans an spizze As fat a goose as e'er on spit
875   bî fiure wart gebrâten Was roasted at a kitchen fire.
  (mit willen si daz tâten, (The parents did not seem to tire,
  ir deheinez des verdrôz); They did all this with best of will.)
  si was michel unde grôz, This fowl had grown so large until
  gelîch einem trappen: 'Twas big as ever buzzard is,
880   die sazt man für den knappen. And now the youth could call it his.
  ein huon gebrâten, einz versoten, A boiled hen and a roasted one,
  als der wirt hêt geboten, As Helmbrecht's father ordered done,
  diu wurden ouch getragen dar. Were now brought on the groaning board.
  ein herre næm der spîse war, Such food would surely please a lord;
885   swenne er gejeides phlæge He'd glad enough eat just the same
  und ûf einer warte læge. While in his blind he ambushed game.
  noch spîse maneger hande Many other dishes, too,
  die gebûre nie bekande, The like a peasant never knew,
  alsô guote lîpnar, Foods fine and good as could be had,
890   die truoc man für den knappen dar. Were now served up before the lad.
  der vater sprach: «und hêt ich wîn, The father said: "If I had wine
  der müese hînt getrunken sin. We'd drink it now, dear son of mine.
  lieber sun mîn, nû trinc Instead, loved Helmbrecht, take for drink
  den aller besten ursprinc This fine spring water, best, I think,
895   der ûz erden ie geflôz. That ever from the earth did flow.
  ich weiz niht brunnen sîn genôz, No equally good spring I know
  wan ze Wanchûsen der: Except the Wanghaus 32 spring so clear;
  den treit et uns nû niemen her. But no one brings its waters here."
  Dô si dô mit freuden gâzen, While thus they joyfully all ate,
900   der wirt niht wolde lâzen, The father could no longer wait;
  er frâgte in der mære, He asked his son to tell the sort
  wie der hovewîse wære, Of life he had observed at court
  dâ er wære gewesen bî. Where he was present, while away.
  «sage mir, sun, wie der sî: "Tell what court-life is like today,
905   sô sag ich dir denne, And I in turn will tell you then
  wie ich etewenne How I, long years ago, and when
  bî mînen jungen jâren I still my youthful years enjoyed,
  die liute sach gebaren.» Observed how knights their time employed."
  «vater mîn, daz sage mir, "You, father, tell that first to me,
910   zehant sô wil ich sagen dir, And I shall then tell willingly
  swes dû mich frâgen wil: Whatever you may ask me to.
  der niuwen site weiz ich vil.» Of customs I know much that's new."
  «Wîlen dô ich was ein kneht "When I was young, long years ago,
  und mich dîn ene Helmbreht Your Grandpa Helmbrecht (as you know,
915   der mîn vater was genant This is the name my father had)
  hin ze hove hêt gesant Sent me to court, though but a lad,
  mit kæsen und mit eier, With eggs, and with his cheeses too,
  als noch tuot ein meier, Just as a peasant still will do.
  dô nam ich der ritter war And many knights I saw those days,
920   und merkte ir geverte gar: Observed their customs and their ways.
  si wâren hovelîch und gemeit Those knights were courtly, stately men,
  und kunden niht mit schalcheit, And knew no knavish evil then
  als nû bî disen zîten kan As in these times so many do —
  manec wîp und manec man. So many men, and women, too!
925   die ritter hêten einen site, One picturesque and knightly way
  dâ liebtens sich den frouwen mite: Won favor with the ladies gay:
  einez ist buhurdiern genant, 'Tourney' is what they called the game.
  daz tete ein hoveman mir bekant, A courtier gave to me its name
  dô ich in frâgte der mære When I requested him to tell
930   wie ez genennet wære. About this sport they liked so well.
  si fuoren sam si wolden toben They rode as though their ire were raised
  (dar umbe hôrte ich si loben), (Because of this I heard them praised).
  ein schar hin, diu ander her; One group rode here, the other there,
  ez fuor diser unde der Against each other, pair and pair,
935   als er enen wolde stôzen. As though to thrust each from his horse.
  under mînen genôzen Among my comrades I of course
  ist ez selten geschehen Had never witnessed any sort
  daz ich ze hove hân gesehen. Of game like this I saw at court.
  als si danne daz getâten, When they had finished with the lance
940   einen tanz si dô trâten They trod the measures of a dance
  mit hôchvertigem sange; Accompanied by dashing song.
  daz kurzte die wîle lange. To no one did the time seem long.
  viel schiere kom ein spilman, Forth stepped a fiddler then straightway
  mit sîner gîgen huob er an: Who for the dance began to play.
945   dô stuonden ûf die frouwen, The ladies then did all arise —
  die möhte man gerne schouwen: A sight to gladden moping eyes.
  die ritter gegen in giengen, The knights stepped forth towards beauty's band
  bî handen si si viengen. And clasped their partners by the hand.
  dâ was wunne überkraft There was an overflow of charm,
950   von frouwen und von ritterschaft Fair ladies led on knighthood's arm —
  in süezer ougenweide. A pretty feast for eyes to see;
  juncherren unde meide And in the dance joined merrily
  si tanzten frœlîche, Young men and maidens, poor and rich,
  arme unde rîche. It did not seem to matter which.
955   als des danne nimmer was, The dance then over, from the crowd
  sô gie dar einer unde las Someone stepped forth and read aloud
  von einem, der hiez Ernest. About Duke Ernest. 33 At the close,
  swaz ieglîcher aller gernest Whatever each one present chose
  wolde tuon, daz vander. For pleasure, that he found to do:
960   dô schôz aber der ander Some shot with bow and arrow, too,
  mit dem bogen zuo dem zil. Toward distant targets that were set.
  maneger freuden was dâ vil, And there were other pleasures yet:
  ener jeite, diser birste. Some hunted game, some chased the hind.
  der dô was der wirste, Who then was worst in every kind
965   der wære nû der beste. Of skill, would be the best today.
  wie wol ich etewenne weste, Ah! In those days so far away
  waz triuwe und êre mêrte, Good faith was prized, and honor too,
  ê valscheit ez verkêrte! Ere falseness spoiled these through and through.
  die valschen und die lôsen The false and loose and evil men
970   die diu reht verbôsen Who with their knavish cunning then
  mit ir listen kunden, Knew how to make the wrong seem right
  die herren in dô niht gunden The knights did not permit in sight
  dâ ze hove der spîse. To dine at court in honor's guise.
  der ist nû der wîse, Today that one is counted wise
975   der lôsen unde liegen kan, Who can deceive and lie; in short,
  der ist ze hove ein werder man He is a valued man at court,
  und hât guot und êre Wins honor and wins money too,
  leider michels mêre Far more (unhappily 'tis true)
  danne ein man der rehte lebet Than does a man who lives upright,
980   und nâch gotes hulden strebet. And strives for favor in God's sight.
  als vil weiz ich der alten site. This much of older ways I know;
  sun, nû êre mich dâ mite And now the favor to me show,
  und sage mir die niuwen.» Loved son, and tell me of the new."
  «Daz tuon ich entriuwen. "In truth, and that I'll do for you.
985   daz sint nû hovelîchiu dinc: This is the present knightly way:
  «trinkâ, herre, trinkâ trinc! 'Drink, comrade, drink again, I say!
  trinc daz ûz, sô trink ich daz! Drain you your goblet, I'll drain mine!
  wie möhte uns immer werden baz?» We'll be the better for the wine!'
  vernim waz ich bediute: Now listen: this is what I mean:
990   ê vant man werde liute Of yore the worthy knights were seen
  bî den schœnen frouwen, Where pretty ladies lingered round.
  nû mnoz man si schouwen Today they're always to be found
  bî dem veilen wîne. Where wine is kept for sale. And there
  daz sint die hœhsten pîne This constitutes their only care,
995   den âbent und den morgen, As eve and morn they drinking sit:
  wie si daz besorgen, How they can quickest see to it
  ob des wînes zerinne, (If once the kegs they empty drain)
  wie der wirt gewinne That their good host new stores may gain
  einen der sî alsô guot, Of wine as stout and heady,
1000   dâ von si haben hôhen muot. To keep their spirits ready.
  daz sint nû ir brieve von minne: This is the minnesong they sing:
  «vil süeziu lîtgebinne, 'Come, barmaid, pretty little thing,
  ir sult füllen uns den maser! Our cups must overflowing be!
  ein affe und ein narre waser, A monkey and a fool were he
1005   der ie gesente sînen lîp Whose body ever should incline
  für guoten wîn umbe ein wip.» To worship women more than wine!'
  swer liegen kan der ist gemeit, He who can lie has good address;
  triegen daz ist hövescheit. Deceiving— that is courtliness.
  er ist gefüege, swer den man He counts as skilled whose edged tongue can
1010   mit guoter rede versnîden kan. Maliciously insult a man
  swer schiltet schalclîche, Who curses others like a knave
  der ist nû tugentrîche. Is deemed both virtuous and brave.
  der alten leben, geloubet mir, Believe me, father, it is true,
  die dâ lebent alsam ir, Old-fashioned people such as you
1015   die sint nû in dem banne Are now all under social ban!
  und sint wîbe und manne They are to woman and to man
  ze genôze alsô mære About as welcome company
  als ein hâhære. As is the hangman wont to be!
  âht und ban daz ist ein spot.» The ban itself is but a joke!"
1020   Der alte sprach: «daz erbarme got "A mercy God!" the father spoke,
  und sî im immer gekleit, "Be it lamented in our prayers
  daz diu unreht sint sô breit.» That wickedness so much now dares!"
  «Die alten turnei sint verslagen "The former jousts are in disgrace,
  und sint die niuwen für getragen. And new ones occupy their place.
1025   wîlen hôrt man kroyieren sô: Before, one heard them call out gay:
  «heyâ ritter, wis et frô!» 'Halloo, sir knight, on to the fray!'
  nû kroyiert man durch den tac: But now they cry the whole day through:
  «jagâ ritter, jagâ jac! 'Pursue them, knight, chase and pursue!
  stichâ stich! slahâ slach! Thrust and thrust, and slay and slay!
1030   stümbel den der ê gesach! Thrust out the eyes that see the day!
  slach mir disem abe den fuoz! Strike off a foot there where it stands,
  tuo mir dem der hende buoz! And here hew off a pair of hands!
  dû solt mir disen hâhen Hang this fellow here for me,
  und enen rîchen vâhen: Catch the rich men that you see —
1035   der gît uns wol hundert phunt.» They'll yield a hundred pounds or so.'
  mir sint die site alle kunt. These customs very well I know.
  vater mîn, wan daz ich enwil, I trow I could, did I incline,
  ich trûwet dir gesagen vil Relate much more, dear father mine,
  niuwan von den niuwen siten: That's new, about such ways. 'Twill keep!
1040   ich muoz slâfen, ich hân vil geriten; I've ridden far, and I must sleep.
  mir ist hînt ruowe nôt.» Tonight I am in need of rest."
  dô tâten si als er gebôt. They did all things at his request.
  lîlachen was dâ fremde: Of sheets the household knew no trace.
  ein niuwewaschen hemde A fresh-washed shirt, then, in its place,
1045   sîn swester Gotelint dô swief Which sister Gotelint had kept,
  über daz bette dâ er slief, She spread upon his bed.
  unz ez hôhe wart betaget. He slept Until the following morning late.
  Wie er nû vert daz wirt gesaget. What he did then, I'll next narrate.
  ez ist billîch unde reht. As one might very well expect,
1050   daz der junge Helmbreht Young Helmbrecht now the table decked
  ûz ziehe, ob er iht bringe With all the gifts of every sort
  von hove gämelicher dinge That he had brought along from court
  dem vater, der muoter, der swester. For father, and mother, and sister too.
  jâ zewâre, und wester And of a truth, if you but knew
1055   waz ez allez wære, What these consisted of, I'm quite
  ir lachtet der mære. Convinced that you would laught outright.
  dem vater er brâhte einen wetzestein, His father he brought a whetting-stone —
  daz nie mâder dehein No mower could a better own
  in kumph bezzern gebant, To tie in handle with a band;
1060   und eine segense, daz nie hant A scythe, so fine that peasant's hand
  sô guote gezôch durch daz gras Ne'er swung the like of it through hay —
  (hei welh gebûrkleinât daz was!) A peasant's gem in every way!
  und brâhte im ein bîle, A hatchet in his hand he laid,
  daz in maneger wîle And never had a better blade
1065   gesmit sô guotez nie kein smit, Or one so good been forged by smith.
  und eine hacken dâ mit. He gave him, too, a hoe therewith.
  ein fuhspelz sô guoter, Among these things, another
  den brâht er sîner muoter Was a fox-skin for his mother.
  Helmbreht, der junge knabe; Helmbrecht, with a stunning whack
1070   den zôch er einem pfaffen abe Had stripped it from a fat priest's back.
  ob erz roubte oder stæle, What Helmbrecht stole or took as prey
  vil ungerne ich daz hæle, I'll not conceal in any way,
  wær ich sîn an ein ende komen. Although I may not know the whole.
  einem krâmer hêt er genomen From a traveling mercer, too, he stole
1075   ein sîdîn gebinde, A very handsome silken band,
  daz gab er Gotelinde, Which now he put in Gotlint's hand,
  und einen borten wol beslagen, As well as gold-embroidered lace
  den billîcher solde tragen That far more suitably would grace
  eines edelen mannes kint Some noble's child who knew no stint,
1080   dan sîn swester Gotelint. Than Helmbrecht's sister Gotelint.
  dem knehte schuohe mit riemen, The hired man Helmbrecht brought lace shoes;
  (die hêt er ander niemen But for him he ne'er would choose
  sô verre gefüeret To carry such coarse things along
  noch mit handen gerüeret: Or even touch a dirty thong,
1085   sô hövesch was Helmbreht; He was so courtly. Had he staid
  wær er noch sînes vater kneht, At home to be his father's aid,
  er hêt in lâzen âne schuoch) He would have left him bare of foot.
  dem frîwîbe ein houbettuoch In the hired maid's hand he put
  brâht er und einen bendel rôt: A neckerchief and ribbon red,
1090   der zweier was der dierne nôt. Two things that stood her in good stead.
  Nû sprechet, wie lange sî How long, you now would have me say,
  der knabe dem vater bî! Did Helmbrecht with his father stay?
  siben tage, daz ist wâr. But seven days, it is the truth.
  diu wîle dûhte in ein jâr, It seemed a whole year to the youth
1095   daz er niht enroubte. Since he had taken any prey.
  zehant er urloubte So now he made all haste to say
  von vater und von muoter. Good-by to father, mother, both.
  «neinâ, lieber sun vil guoter, "No, no, dear son," the father quoth,
  ob dû trûwest geleben "If you but think that you can live
1100   des ich dir hân ze geben With what I own and have to give
  immer unz an mîn ende, Until my efforts here are done,
  sô sitz und twach dîne hende; Then sit, and wash your hands, dear son;
  gâ niuwan ûz unde in. Go in and out as pleases you.
  sun, tuo die hovewîse hin; With court-life have no more to do.
1105   diu ist bitter und ist sûr. 'Twill bitter prove, as you will see.
  noch gerner bin ich ein gebûr Much rather I'd a peasant be
  danne ein armer hoveman Than some retainer of a court
  der nie huobegelt gewan Who no farm rental gets — in short,
  und niuwan zallen zîten Who must for once and all prepare
1110   ûf den lîp muoz rîten To forage for his daily fare,
  den âbent und den morgen Must scurry round now there, now here,
  und muoz dar under sorgen, And constantly endure the fear
  wenne in sîne vînde vâhen, That if his foes once capture him
  stümbeln unde hâhen.» They'll hang him to the nearest limb."
1115   «Vater», sprach der junge, "Father," spoke the handsome lad,
  «dîner handelunge "For the welcome I have had,
  der solt dû immer haben danc. Sincere and cordial thanks of mine!
  doch sît ich niht wînes tranc, But since the time I last drank wine
  des ist mê danne ein woche: A week or more's already passed.
1120   des gürt ich drîer loche Because of this extended fast
  an der gürtel mîn hin hinder. My belt is three holes smaller now.
  ich muoz et haben rinder, Beef I must have from toothsome cow
  ê diu rinke gestê Before my buckle goes once more
  an der stat, dâ si was ê. Back to the place where it was before.
1125   ez werdent phlüege gesûmet I'll spoil the day of many a plow
  und rinder ûf gerûmet, And take as booty many a cow
  ê mir der lîp geraste Before I give my body rest
  und aber wider gemaste. To round out nicely to its best.
  mir hât ein rîcher getân There is a certain wealthy man
1130   sô leide, daz mir nie man Who's given me insult greater than
  alsô vil getân hât: Any one I've ever seen.
  über mînes toten sât Godfather's crops of tender green
  sach ich in eines rîten. I saw him ride across of late.
  möhtet irs erbîten, Now well he knew, if he'd but wait,
1135   er giltet mir mit houfen: His pay must be an ample one.
  sîniu rinder müezon loufen, His cattle very soon must run,
  sîniu schâf, sîniu swîn. His sheep, and also all his swine.
  daz er dem lieben toten mîn That for this godsire loved of mine
  alsô zetrat sîn arebeit, He trampled down his hard-earned grain,
1140   daz ist mir inneclîchen leit. This makes me feel the deepest pain.
  noch weiz ich einen rîchen man, I know another rich man who
  der hât mir leide ouch getân: Has offended deeply, too!
  der âz zuo den krâphen brôt. For with his crullers he ate bread! 34
  rich ich daz nicht, sô bin ich tôt. If I don't punish this, I'm dead!
1145   noch weiz ich einen rîchen, A third rich man is known to me,
  daz mir sicherlîchen And no one quite so much as he
  deheiner leider nie getete. Has hurt my feelings, I declare!
  durch eines bischoves bete Not even would a bishop's prayer
  wold ich ez niht enlân, Persuade me vengeance to forego,
1150   daz er mir leides hât getân.» His conduct has offended so!"
  Der vater sprach: «waz ist daz?» His father asked him: "What is that?"
  «er lie die gurtel wîter baz, "While at his table still he sat
  do er saz ob sînem tische. He opened wide his belt, the boor.
  hei, swaz ich des erwische Heighho! for that, you may be sure
1155   daz dâ heizet sîn, All that's his I'll snatch away!
  daz muoz allez wesen mîn! His beasts shall all be mine one day
  daz im ziuhet phluoc und wagen, That haul his cart and drag his plow.
  daz hilfet mir, daz ich sol tragen They'll help me, so that I shall now
  gewant ze wîhennahten. For Christmas have fine clothes to hand.
1160   swie ich daz mac betrahten, How did he think that I would stand
  wes wænt et er vil tumber gouch Such insults ? O the triple fool!
  zewâre und etelîcher ouch He, and another empty skull
  der mir hât herzenleit getân? Who's hurt my deepest feelings so?
  liez ich daz ungerochen stân, If unavenged I let this go,
1165   so wær ich niht ein frecher. Then let them call me slave of fear.
  der blies in einen becher He, drinking from a mug his beer,
  den schûm von dem biere. Blew from its top the gathered foam.
  und ræch ich daz nicht schiere, Did I not pay such insult home,
  sô wurd ich nimmer frouwen wert With ladies I should have no worth,
1170   zewâre und solde ouch nimmer swert And never more about my girth
  gürten umb mîne sîten. Should I deserve to hang a sword.
  man hœret in kurzen zîten And now full soon you shall have word
  von Helmbrehte mære, Of me and of the swath I'll cut.
  daz wîter hof wirt lære: Many a farmyard I shall gut,
1175   vind ich niht den selben man, And if my man is gone that day,
  sô trîb ich doch diu rinder dan.» I'll drive his stock off, anyway."
  Der vater sprach: «nû nenne mir, The father said: "I'll thankful be,
  daz ichz immer diene hin ze dir, My son, if now you'll name to me
  dîne gesellen, die knaben, Your comrades all — the fellows who
1180   die dich daz gelêret haben, Have taught you it's the thing to do
  daz dû dem rîchen manne To take revenge upon rich men
  sîne habe nemest danne, And confiscate their cattle when
  so er zuo den krâphen izzet brôt. With crullers they perhaps eat bread.
  die nenne mir, des ist mir nôt.» I'd like to hear their names," he said.
1185   «Daz ist mîn geselle Lemberslint "There's Lammerslint,35 a comrade fair,
  und Slickenwider: die zwêne sint And Schluckdenwidder; that's the pair
  von den ich hân dise lêre. From whom I've learned to know the trade.
  noch nenne ich dir mêre I'll name you other friends I've made:
  Hellesac und Rütelschrîn, There's Hollensack, and Ruttelschrein —
1190   daz sind die schuolmeister mîn, These both were teachers, too, of mine.
  Küefrâz und Müschenkelch. There's Mausdenkelch, Kuhfrass as well.
  nû sich, herre vater, welch Now, father, you have heard me tell
  knaben sint an der schar. With what fine blades it is I mix;
  die sehs hân ich genennet gar. Already I have named you six.
1195   mîn geselle Wolvesguome, Wolfsgaum's another comrade.
  swie liep im sî sîn muome, He, No matter what his love may be
  sîn base, sîn ôheim und sîn veter, For cousin, uncle, aunt — or whether
  und wær ez hornunges weter, It be February weather —
  er lât niht an ir lîbe Leaves no thread upon their form,
1200   dem manne noch dem wîbe Man or woman, to keep them warm,
  einen vadem vor ir schame, Or even cover up their shame.
  den fremden und den kunden same. Strangers and kin he treats the same.
  mîn geselle Wolvesdrüzzel Wolfsriissel, he's a man of skill!
  ûf tuot er âne slüzzel Without a key he bursts at will
1205   alliu sloz und îsenhalt. The neatest-fastened iron box.36
  in einem jâr hân ich gezalt Within one year I've seen the locks
  hundert îsenhalt grôz, Of safes, at least a hundred such,
  daz ie daz sloz dannen schôz, Spring wide ajar without a touch
  als er von verren gie dar zuo. At his approach! I can't say how.
1210   ros, ohsen unde manec kuo, Horse, ox, and also many a cow,
  ungezalt diu sint beliben, Far more than I can tell about,
  diu er ûz hove hât getriben, From barn and farm he's driven out;
  daz ie daz sloz von sîner stat For when he'd merely toward it start,
  schôz, swenne er dar zuo trat. Each lock would quickly spring apart.
1215   noch hân ich einen compan, I've still one further comrade, sire.
  daz nie knappe gewan And never did a knight's good squire.
  einen namen alsô hovelîch; Win for himself such courtly name.
  den gap im diu herzoginne rîch, He had it from a wealthy dame,
  diu edele und diu frîe, A duchess of most high degree
1220   von Nônarre Narrîe: Who's known as Nonarre Narrie.37
  der ist geheizcen Wolvesdarm. This comrade's name is Wolfesdarm.
  ez sî kalt oder warm, And whether it be cold or warm,
  roubes wirt er nimmer vol. He cannot pillage to his fill.
  diupheit tuot im sô wol, For theft so gratifies his will,
1225   der enwirt er nimmer sat. His thirst for it he cannot slake.
  einen fuoz er nie getrat No footstep does he ever take
  ûz der übele in die güete. Away from evil toward the good;
  im strebet sîn gemüete With instinct sure his spirit would
  gegen der übeltæte, Strive toward bad and vicious deed
1230   als diu krâ tuot zuo der sæte.» As does a crow to new-sown seed."
  Der vater sprach: «nû sage mir, The father said: "Now I would learn
  wie sie sprechen hin ze dir What name they have for you in turn,
  ieclîch dîn geselle, Each one of all your comrades gay,
  sô er dir ruefen welle.» When there is something he would say."
1235   «Vater mîn, daz ist mîn name "Father mine, this is my name,
  des ich mich nimmer geschame: For which I feel no need of shame:
  ich bin genant Slintezgeu. My comrades call me Schlingdasgeu.
  die gebûren ich vil selten freu I seldom bring the peasants joy
  die mir sint gesezzen. That in our neighborhood are found.
1240   ir kint müezen ezzen Their children, where I've been around
  ûz dem wazzer daz koch. Eat water-soup that's thin and flat.
  leider tuon ich in noch: I make them suffer more than that!
  dem ich daz ouge ûz drucke, I quickly press the one's eyes out,
  disen hâhe ich in den rucke, On others' backs I lay about,
1245   disen bind ich in den âmeizstoc, Across an ants' nest one I stake,
  enem ziuhe ich den loc Another's beard I jerking take
  mit der zangen ûz dem barte, With pincers piecemeal from his face,
  dem andern rîz ich die swarte, Break this one's limbs in many a place,
  enem mülle ich die lide, Tear that one's scalp off while he squeals,
1250   diesen henk ich in die wide String up by the tendons of his heels 38
  bî den sparrâdern sîn. Another one, with withes for twine.
  daz die bûren hânt daz ist mîn. All that the peasants have is mine!
  swâ unser zehen rîten, Where we ten comrades ride along,
  ob unser zweinzec erbîten, What though our foe be twenty strong
1255   daz ist umb alle ir êre, Or even more, and stalwart men,
  ob ir noch wære mêre.» They're soon laid low by our bold ten."
  «Sun, die dû dâ nennest, "My son, these comrades that you name,
  swie wol dû si erkennest Although it's true you know the same
  baz danne ich, vil liebez kint, Better than do I, my child —
1260   doch swie ræze si dâ sint, However bold they are, and wild,
  sô got wil selbe wachen, If watchful God ordains it so,
  sô kan ein scherge machen, The sheriff, as you well must know,
  daz si tretent swie er wil, Can make them go where'er he will,39
  wær ir noch drî stunt als vil.» And were they thrice his number still."
1265   «Vater, daz ich ê tete, "Father, what till now I've done,
  hin für durch aller künege bete Not for a king or anyone
  wold ich sîn nimmer tuon. Will I continue any more!
  manege gans und manec huon, Geese and chickens by the score,
  rinder, kæse und fuoter Your cattle, cheeses, and your hay
1270   hân ich dir und mîner muoter For you and mother till today
  gefridet vor mîner gesellen vil, I've saved from all my friends for you.
  des ich nû nimmer tuon wil. Now this I will no longer do;
  ir sprechet al ze sêre For you've offended far too much
  frumen knaben an ir êre The honor of my comrades, such
1275   der deheiner nimmer missetuot, As no misdeeds have ever done
  er roube, er stele: daz ist guot. In robbing goods of anyone.
  hêt irz niht verkallet Had not you so complained and carped,
  noch sô vil ûf uns geschallet, And on our evil doings harped,
  iuwer tohter Gotelinde To Lammerslint, as I had planned,
1280   die wold ich Lemberslinde I should have given Gotlint's hand —
  mînem gesellen hân gegeben; To Lammerslint, my comrade good.
  sô hête si daz beste leben, She'd had the finest livelihood
  daz ie wîp bî einem man That any woman ever won
  ze der welde ie gewan. With husband since the world begun.
1285   kürsen, mandel, lînwât, Furs, mantles, best of linen too,
  als ez diu kirche beste hât, As fine as ever churchman knew,
  des gæb er ir den vollen hort, Should have been hers in ample measure,
  hêt ir sô scherphiu wort Had you not, in your displeasure
  gegen uns niht gesprochen. Slanders on us wished to speak.
1290   und woldes alle wochen And Gotlint would have had each week,
  ein iteniuwez slegerint If she had wished, the freshest meat
  ezzen, daz hête Gotelint.» From newly slaughtered cow, to eat."
  «Nû hœre, swester Gotelint: "Sister Gotelint, now hear: 40
  dô mîn geselle Lemberslint When Lammerslint, my comrade dear,
1295   mich von êrste umb dich bat, First sought to gain your hand through me
  dô sprach ich an der selben stat: I answered unreservedly:
  «ist ez dir beschaffen und ouch ir, 'As things with you and her now stand,
  daz soltu wol gelouben mir, Believe me, if you win her hand,
  daz ez dich niht sol riuwen. This you will never have to rue.
1300   ich weiz si in den triuwen, I know that Gotelint's so true
  des wis gar âne angest, (Of this you need not anxious be),
  daz dû iht lange hangest, That if you're hanged once on a tree,
  si slahe dich mit ir hant abe Herself she'll cut the rope in two,
  und ziuhet dich zuo dem grabe Will drag you off, and bury you
1305   ûf die wegescheide; Near by where crossing roads do meet; 41
  wîrouch und mirre die beide, With myrrh and burning incense sweet
  vil sicher dû des wesen maht, (You may be sure of this all right)
  dâ mite si dich alle naht She will encircle you each night
  umbegât ein ganzez jâr: For one whole year or thereabout; 42
1310   daz wizze, Lemberslint, für wâr, And you may know beyond all doubt,
  si rouchet dîn gebeine, She'll smoke your bones when none else would,
  diu guote und diu reine. Your bones which are so pure and good.
  ob dir diu sælde widervert, But if by fortune you are left,
  daz dir blintheit wirt beschert, And of your eyesight are bereft,
1315   si wîset dich durch alliu lant She'll guide your footsteps through the land,
  wege und stege an ir hant. Through paths and bypaths, with her hand.
  wirt dir der fuoz abe geslagen, If you should lose a foot or two,
  si sol dir die stelzen tragen The crutches which are used by you
  ze dem bette alle morgen. Each morning to your bed she'll bear.
1320   wis ouch âne sorgen, And you need also feel no care
  ob man dir zuo dem fuoze If, with the foot they cut from you,
  der einen hende buoze, One hand or more is lopped off, too.
  si snîdet dir unz an dînen tôt As long as you still live to eat
  beide vleisch unde brôt.» She'll cut for you your bread and meat.'
1325   «Wider mich sprach dô Lemberslint: "Lammerslint then spoke.
  «nimt mich dîn swester Gotelint, Said he: 'If Gotelint says yes to me,
  ze morgengâbe wil ich ir geben, To her a dowry I shall give,
  daz si dester baz mac leben. So that the better she may live.
  ich hân voller secke drî, Three well-filled sacks belong to me;
1330   die sint swære als ein blî. They weigh like lead, these sacks, all three.
  der eine ist vol unversniten One's full of uncut cloth; she'll find
  klein lînîn tuoch in den siten, The finest linen of its kind.
  swer sîn ze koufe gert, If one should buy a yard in trade
  diu elle ist fünfzehen kriuzer wert: Fifteen good kreutzers would be paid.
1335   die gâbe sol si prîsen. This gift she certainly will prize.
  in dem andern ligent rîsen, The second sack will please her eyes
  vil röckel unde hemde. With veils, and skirts, and many a waist;
  armuot wirt ir fremde, And poverty no more she'll taste
  wird ich ir man und si mîn wîp; If we are man and wife. I swear
1340   daz gib ich allez an ir lîp I'll give her all these things to wear
  zwâre an dem næhsten tage Upon the very following day,
  und immer mê swaz ich bejage. And all I take henceforth as prey.
  der dritte sac der ist vol, The third sack bulges to its brim,
  ûf und ûf geschoppet wol, Stuffed full, up to its very rim,
1345   fritschâl, brûnât, vêhe veder, With finest cloths and feathery fur.
  dar under zwô der ietweder And there will also be for her
  mit scharlât ist bedecket Two mantles that are scarlet-lined;
  und dâ für gestrecket An outside trimming she will find
  einez heizet swarzer zobel. Of sable fur, both soft and black.
1350   die hân ich in einem kobel I've safely hidden each stuffed sack
  hie nâhen bî verborgen; In a ravine not far away.
  die gib ich ir morgen.» I'll give her these without delay.'
  «Daz hât dîn vater undervarn. "Your father's ruined all I'd planned.
  Gotelint, got müeze dich bewarn: May God protect you with his hand!
1355   dîn leben wirt dir sûwer. You're like to lead a bitter life.
  sô dich nû ein gebûwer If any peasant as his wife
  nimt ze sîner rehten ê, Should take you, you are very sure
  sô geschach nie wîbe alsô wê. The direst hardship to endure.
  bî dem muostu niuwen, You'll flail his grain, your strength he'll tax,
1360   dehsen, swingen und bliuwen And you must swing and beat his flax.
  und dar zuo die ruoben graben: You'll dig your husband's beets up, too.
  des hêt dich alles überhaben All this would have been spared to you
  der getriuwe Lemberslint. By my true comrade Lammerslint.
  owê, swester Gotelint, Alas, dear sister Gotelint!
1365   diu sorge muoz mich smerzen, The grief must truly pain me deep
  sol an dînem herzen If each night through henceforth you sleep,
  als unedel gebûwer Against your heart uncouthly pressed
  des minne dir wirt sûwer A peasant's coarse, ignoble breast;
  immer naht entslâfen! His love you'll find a bitter gall!
1370   wâfen, herre, wâfen Weapons! Weapons!
  geschrirn über den vater dîn! This I call Aloud upon your father's head!
  ja enist er niht der vater mîn: He's not my father, be it said.
  für wâr wil ich dir daz sagen. And this in very truth I speak;
  dô mich mîn muoter hêt getragen For when through but the fifteenth week
1375   fünfzehen wochen, Within her, mother carried me,
  dô kom zuo ir gekrochen There came to her quite stealthily
  in vil gefüeger hoveman; A polished, knightly man from court.
  von dem erbet mich daz an So I inherit from such sort,
  nd ouch von dem toten mîn And from the man who sponsored me 43
1380   (die bêde müezcn sælec sîn!), (Blessed may their memories be),
  daz ich alle mîne tage The lofty thoughts and knightly ways
  mînen muot sô hôhe trage.» Which I shall show through all my days."
  Dô sprach sîn swester Gotelint: His sister Gotelint then said:
  «jâ wæn ouch ich sîn kint "Neither am I his child! Instead,
1385   von der wârheit iht ensî. There was, I know, another
  ez lac miner muoter bî Who lay once by my mother —
  geselleclîche ein ritter kluoc, A clever knight, as I've heard say —
  dô si mich in dem barme truoc. While still beneath her heart I lay.
  der selbe ritter si gevienc, He caught her, on his pleasure bent,
1390   dô si den âbent spâte gienc When late at eventide she went
  suochen kelber in dem lôhe: To seek her calves in brush near by.
  des stât mîn muot sô hôhe.» Thus 'tis, my spirit is so high!
  «Lieber bruoder Slintezgeu, "Dearest brother Schlingdasgeu,
  daz dich mîn trähtîn gefreu!» The good Lord fill your heart with joy!"
1395   sprach sîn swester Gotelint Thus continued Gotelint,
  «schaffe, daz mir Lemberslint "Please do your best that Lammerslint
  werde gegeben ze manne; Be given me as wedded man.
  sô schrîet mir mîn pfanne, There'll be a crackling in my pan,
  sô ist gelesen mir der wîn My grapes will all be gathered in,
1400   und sint gefüllet mir diu schrîn, And filled shall be each chest and bin.
  sô ist gebrouwen mir das bier The best-brewed beer will then abound,
  und ist wol gemalen mier. My meal shall be most finely ground.
  werdent mir die secke drî, If those three sacks my stock increase,
  bin ich armüete frî, From poverty I'll have release.
1405   sô hân ich ze ezzen und ze hül With food to eat, good clothes to wear,
  (sich waz mir gewerren sül!), No pinch I'll suffer anywhere.
  sô bin ich alles des gewert I'll thus have everything in store
  des ein wîp an manne gert. That woman wished from man before.
  ouch trûw ich in gewern wol And I can give a husband, too,
1410   des ein man haben sol All that is a husband's due
  an einem starken wîbe: From a wife of sturdy kind;
  daz ist an mînem lîbe, All this he'll in my body find.
  swaz er wil daz hân ich. For what he wants, I do not lack;
  ez sûmet wan mîn vater mich. My father merely holds me back.
1415   wol drîstunt ist vester My body's three times firmer, sure,
  mîn lîp dan mîner swester: Than was my sister's, to endure,
  dô man si ze manne gap, When in marriage she was manned.
  des morgens gie si âne stap And yet, next morning she could stand,
  und starp niht von der selben nôt. And did not die from overwork!
1420   ich wæne ouch wol, daz mir der tôt And so I think I need not shirk;
  dâ von iht werde ze teile, For death will never lay me low
  ez sî dan von unheile. Unless by some far harder blow.
  bruoder mîn, geselle, Brother mine and comrade true,
  daz ich mit dir reden welle, What I now discuss with you
1425   durch mînen willen daz verswîc. For love of me to no one say!
  ich trit mit dir den smalen stîc I'll go with you the narrow way
  an die kienlîten: That leads through pines up to the hill.
  ch gelige bî sîner sîten; I'll lie by him and do his will.
  û wizze daz ich wâge And know that all of this I'll dare
1430   vater, muoter und mâge.» Spite relatives' and parents' care."
  Der vater niht der rede vernam This talk the father did not hear.
  noch diu muoter alsam. Nor was the young girl's mother near.
  der bruoder wart ze râte The brother counseled what to do.
  mit der swester drâte, 'Twas quickly settled by the two
1435   daz si im volgete von dan. That she should follow him from thence.
  «ich gibe dich dem selben man, "I'll give you to him, though offense
  swie leit ez dînem vater sî; And pain to father it may bring.
  dû geligest Lemberslinde bî You'll wed my comrade, honoring
  wol nâch dînen êren. Yourself and him by that mere act;
1440   dîn rîchtuom sol sich mêren. And this will bring the wealth you've lacked.
  wilt dûz, swester, enden, Now would you see this to the end,
  ich wil dir her wider senden Then back again to you I'll send
  mînen boten dem dû volgen solt. A messenger, as guide to you.
  sît dû im bist und er dir holt, You like my friend, he likes you too;
1445   iu beiden sol gelingen With mutual love, you must succeed
  vil wol an allen dingen. In every undertaken deed.
  ouch füeg ich dîne hôchzît, The wedding plans on me shall rest,
  daz man durch dînen willen gît And in your honor every guest
  wambîs unde röcke vil; A waist or jacket shall receive.
1450   für wâr ich dir daz sagen wil. This shall be done, you may believe.
  swester, nû bereite dich; Do you prepare now, Gotelint!
  Lemberslint sam tuot er sich. The same I'll say to Lammerslint.
  got hüete dîn; ich wil dâ hin. God keep you! I must go!" said he,
  mir ist der wirt als ich im bin. "I like my host as he does me!
1455   muoter, got gesegene dich!» God's blessings, mother, on your head!"
  Hin fuor er sînen alten strich Along his old paths Helmbrecht sped,
  und sagte Lemberslinde And gave at once to Lammerslint
  den willen Gotelinde. The pleased consent of Gotelint.
  vor freuden kust er im die hant, His happiness scarce knew a bound.
1460   umbe und umbe an sîn gewant, He kissed his friend around and round,
  er neic gegen dem winde Then bowed down low against the wind 44
  der dâ wâte von Gotelinde. That blew to him from Gotelind.
  Nû hœrt von grôzer freise. Now hear of violence grim and wild.
  anec witewe unde weise Many a widow and her child
1465   an guote wart geletzet In their possessions met with harm,
  und riuwec gesetzet, Were filled with grief and sharp alarm
  dô der helt Lemberslint When the hero, Lammerslint,
  und sîn gemahel Gotelint And his betrothed, young Gotelint,
  den briutestuol besâzen. Were both to mount the bridal chair.45
1470   swaz si trunken und âzen, What was drunk and eaten there
  daz wart gesamnet wîten. Was gathered in from all the land;
  bî den selben zîten For as the day drew near to hand
  vil unmüezec si beliben: The comrades did not idle stay.
  die knaben fuorten unde triben The youths drove in on hoof their prey,
1475   ûf wagen und ûf rossen zuo And wagons with their stolen freight
  beide spâte unde fruo They drove in early, drove in late,
  in Lemberslindes vater hûs. To Lammerslint's parental house.
  dô der künec Artûs When famed King Arthur 46 in carouse
  sîn frouwen Ginovêren nam, Espoused one Guinevere by name,
1480   diu selbe hôchzît was lam His celebration was quite tame
  bî der Lemberslindes: Compared with that of Lammerslind:
  si lebten niht des windes. These fared on something more than wind!
  Dô ez allez wart gereht, When everything had been prepared,
  sînen boten sante Helmbreht, Forth Helmbrecht's messenger now fared.
1485   der vil balde gâhte In quickest haste he sped along,
  und im die swester brâhte. And brought the sister to the throng.
  Dô Lemberslint hêt vernomen, Now when the news reached Lammerslint
  daz im Gotelint was komen, Of the approach of Gotelint,
  balde er gegen ir gienc. He went at once to meet her.
1490   hœret wie er si enphienc: Hear how the youth did greet her:
  «willekomen, frou Gotelint!» "O, welcome, Lady Gotelint!"
  «got lône iu, her Lemberslint!» "Reward you God, Sir Lammerslint!"
  friuntlîche blicke Loving glances in exchange
  under in beiden dicke Thick between the two did range.
1495   gegen einander giengen entwer: With each, these glances did occur:
  er sach dar, si sach her. She looked at him, he looked at her.
  Lemberslint schôz sînen bolz With well-framed words, and proudly said,
  mit gefüegen worten stolz Lammerslint his bolt now sped
  gegen Gotelinde; Towards the fair young Gotelint;
1500   daz galt si Lemberslinde And she rewarded Lammerslint
  ûz wîplîchem munde, With words that were as sweet and warm
  sô si beste kunde. As her maiden lips could form.
  Nû sul wir Gotelinde Now we must give young Gotelint
  geben Lemberslinde As wife to youthful Lammerslint,
1505   und sulen Lemberslinde And we must give young Lammerslint
  geben Gotelinde. As man, in turn, to Gotelint.47
  ûf stuont ein alter grîse, A gray-haired man now did arise
  der was der worte wîse; Who in the use of words was wise;
  der kunde sô getâniu dinc. Well versed he was in marrying.
1510   er staltes beide in einen rinc. He stood both parties in a ring.48
  er sprach ze Lemberslinde: Then first he spoke to Lammerslint:
  «welt ir Gotelinde "And will you take this Gotelint
  êlîchen nemen, sô sprechet jâ!» To be your wife? If so, say 'aye.' "
  «gerne» sprach der knabe sâ. "Gladly," the young man did reply.
1515   er fraget in aber ander stunt: And when he asked the same once more,
  «gerne» sprach des knaben munt. He answered "Gladly" as before.
  zem dritten mâle er dô sprach: And then he asked a third time still:
  «nemt ir si gerne?» der knabe jach: "And do you this of your free will?"
  «sô mir sêle unde lîp He answered: "By my soul and life,
1520   ich nime gerne ditze wîp.» I gladly take her as my wife."
  dô sprach er ze Gotelinde: The man then spoke to Gotelint:
  «welt ir Lemberslinde "And do you, too, take Lammerslint
  gerne nemen zeinem man?» Willingly, your man to be?"
  «jâ, herre, ob mir sîn got gan.» "I do, sir, if God grants him me."
1525   «nemt ir in gerne?» sprach aber er. Again he asked the same of her,
  «gerne, herre, gebt mirn her!» Again she said: "I'm willing, sir!"
  zem dritten mâle: «welt irn?» And then upon his third demand:
  «gerne, herre, nû gebt mirn!» "I'm willing, sir, here is my hand!"
  dô gap er Gotelinde They gave away thus Gotelint
1530   ze wîbe Lemberslinde To be the wife of Lammerslint,
  und gap Lemberslinde And thus they gave young Lammerslint
  ze manne Gotelinde. To be the man of Gotelint.
  si sungen alle an der stat, And now they sang, the questions put,
  ûf den fuoz er ir trat. And Lammerslint trod on her foot.49
1535   Nû ist bereit daz ezzen. Now for the banquet all is set,
  wir sulen niht vergezzen, And this much we must not forget:
  wir schaffen ambetliute We must determine and decide
  dem briutegomen und der briute. Who serves the bridgroom and the bride.
  Slintezgeu was marschalc, Schlingdasgeu was marshal gay;50
1540   der fulte den rossen wol ir balc; He bulged the horses' hides with hay.
  sô was schenke Slickenwider. Schluckdenwidder poured the wine.
  Hellesac der sazte nider Hollensack, the next in line,
  die fremden und die kunden: Seated the guests, both strange and known;
  ze truhsæzen ward er funden. As steward, bright his talent shone.
1545   der nie wart gewære, And he, unsteady, fickle swain,
  Rütelschrîn was kamerære. Ruttelschrein, was chamberlain.
  kuchenmeister was Küefrâz, Kuhfrass, kitchener, served the meat;
  der gap swaz man von kuchen âz, He gave them all that they could eat,
  swie manz briet oder sôt. And whether roast, or boiled instead.
1550   Müschenkelch der gap daz brôt. Mausdenkelch passed round the bread.
  diu hôchzit was niht arm. The banquet passed without alarm.
  Wolvesguome und Wolvesdarm Wolfesgaum and Wolfesdarm
  unde Wolvesdrüzzel And Wolfesriissel, at their wish,
  lârten manege schüzzel Emptied many a well-filled dish,
1555   und manegen becher wîten Drained many a brimming goblet, too,
  ze den selben hôchzîten. Ere the wedding feast was through.
  vor den knaben swant diu spîse Before the lads, food disappeared
  in aller der wîse, With a rapidity quite weird,
  als ein wint vil drâte As though there'd come a sudden gust
1560   si ab dem tische wâte. That carried it away like dust.
  ich wæne ieglîcher æze Each banqueter consumed in haste
  swaz im sîn truhsæze All of the foods the stewart placed
  von kuchen dar trüege. Before him — everything he saw.
  ob der hunt iht nüege And did the dogs thereafter gnaw
1565   nâch in ab dem beine? Meat from the bones when they were through?
  daz tet er vil kleine; No, this a dog could hardly do.
  wan ez saget ein man wîse: For, as the wise have often said,
  «ieglîch mensche sîner spîse A man gulps down his meat and bread
  unmâzen sêre gâhet, More greedily than e'er before
1570   sô im sîn ende nâhet.» When death is standing at his door.51
  dâ von gâhten si umbe daz: And so they now ate greedily —
  ez was ir jungestez maz, It was their last festivity —
  daz si immer mê gâzen Last time they sat in merriment
  oder frœlîche gesâzen. And ate their food to their content.
1575   Dô sprach diu brût Gotelint: Then spoke the young bride Gotelint:
  «owê, lieber Lemberslint, "O, woe, beloved Lammerslint!
  mir grûset in der hiute! My skin begins to creep with fear!
  ich fürhte, daz fremde liute I feel that strangers must be near
  uns ze schaden nâhen sîn. Who on our punishment are bent.
1580   ei vater unde muoter mîn, O, father, mother, I repent
  daz ich von iu beiden I left my home where you two are,
  sô verre bin gescheiden! And went away from you so far!
  ich fürhte, daz mir wecke I fear that there will come to me
  die Lemberslindes secke From Lammerslinde's gift-sacks three
1585   vil schaden und unêre: Dishonor and the greatest harm.
  des fürht ich vil sêre. I cannot quiet my alarm!
  wie wol ich dâ heime wære! How happy I at home would be!
  mir ist der muot sô swære. My spirits weigh so heavily!
  mînes vater armuot My father's poverty I'd bear
1590   næm ich michels baz für guot Far liefer than the load of care
  danne ich bin mit sorgen hie. Which weighs upon my heart today.
  wan ich hôrte sagen ie How often I have heard them say
  die liute al gemeine, That those but little will obtain
  daz dem wurde vil kleine, Who think of nothing but quick gain
1595   der ze vil welle: And would too much at once acquire —
  diu girischeit ze helle That greediness to hell's hot fire
  in daz abgründe Will hurl one, with its deadly sin,
  vellet von der sünde. The yawning pit down deep within.
  ich verdenke mich ze spâte; Too late my penitence may be.
1600   owê daz ich sô drâte Alas, that I so hastily
  gevolget her mînem bruoder hân! Have followed brother Helmbrecht here!
  des muoz ich riuwec bestân.» In rue I'll pay for it, I fear!"
  Dar nâch vil schiere sach diu brût, The bride thus quickly reasoned out
  daz si dâ heime ir vater krût That she had rather eaten kraut
1605   hêt gâz ob sînem tische At home, and as the only dish,
  für Lemberslindes vische. Than Lammerslint's ill-gotten fish.
  dô si nâch dem ezzen Now after they had dined so well
  wâren eine wîle gesezzen And lingered sitting for a spell,
  und die spilliute And when the minstrels' song and play
1610   enphiengen von der briute Had received its meed of pay
  ir gâbe und von dem briutegomen, From the bridegroom and the bride,
  dar nâch zehant sach man komen Suddenly they all descried
  den rihter selpfünfte. The justice coming with four men.
  mit der sigenünfte How speedily the valiant ten
1615   gesigete er den zehen an. Quailed at the officers of right!
  der in den oven niht entran, Into the stove one dived in flight,
  der slouf under die banc; While others 'neath the benches crept,
  ieglîcher für den andern dranc. And each one jostled, sprang, and leapt.
  der ê viere niht enflôch, Lads who from four had never flown,
1620   des schergen kneht al eine in zôch By the sheriff's man alone
  her für bî dem hâre. Were now dragged out by head of hair.
  daz sag ich iu ze wâre: This is the truth that I declare:
  ein rehter diep, swie küene er sî, A thief, however bold he be,
  slüeg er eines tages drî, And though he's slain in one day three,
1625   daz er sich vor dem schergen A man of law he cannot face,
  nimmer mac erwergen. A sheriff brings him to disgrace.
  sus wurden si gebunden And thus all ten were quickly bound
  die zehen an den stunden The selfsame hour that they were found,
  mit vil starken banden With the very strongest bands,
1630   von des schergen handen. By the sheriff's sturdy hands.
  Gotelint verlôs ir briutegewant; Gotlint, who lost her bridal gown,
  bî einem zûne man sie vant Later by a hedge thrown down
  in vil swacher küste. Was found, half conscious, half undressed.
  si hêt ir beide brüste She tried to cover each bare breast
1635   mit handen verdecket: With her hands from strangers' sight.
  si was unsanfte erschrecket. Half dead she was from shock and fright.
  ob ir anders iht geschæhe? Had she had worse to undergo?
  der sage ez der daz sæhe. Let others tell of that who know!
  got ist ein wunderære, God is a wonder-worker, true!
1640   daz hœret an dem mære. The tale reveals that fact to you;
  slüege ein diep al eine ein her, For though a thief may slay a band,
  gein dem schergen hât er keine wer: An officer he can't withstand.
  als er den von verren siht, When far away one comes in sight
  zehant erlischet im daz lieht, There is a fading of his light,
1645   sîn rôtiu varwe wirt im gel; His ruddy color turns to yellow;
  swie küene er wære und swie snel, However bold and quick a fellow,
  in væht ein lamer scherge. A sheriff, lame, could catch him now.
  sîn snelheit und sîn kerge His bravery and his cunning, how
  die sint im alle gelegen, Upon the instant these are past
1650   sô got der râche wil selbe phlegen. When God will have revenge at last!
  Nû hœrt daz mære mit sprüchen, Now hear the ending of the song.
  wie die diebe krüchen Hear how the thieves now crept along
  für geriht mit ir burden With their burdens, to the court,
  dâ si erhangen wurden. And there were promptly strung up short.
1655   Gotelint wart ungefreut, It brought small joy to Gotelint
  dô Lemberslinde zwô rinderheut When she saw her Lammerslint,
  wurden an den stunden Two cow-hides bound upon his neck,52
  ûf sînen hals gebunden. Tied to him at the sheriff's beck.
  sîn burde was diu ringest. His burden was the least of all;
1660   dâ von truog er daz minnest, The reason it was made thus small
  durch des briutegomen êre. Was honor to a bridegroom shown;
  die andern truogen ie mêre: The others under more did groan.
  ez truoc sîn geswîe The brother of the youthful bride
  rûher hiute drîe Was made to bear a third rough hide
1665   vor dem schergen, daz was reht: Before the beadle, luckless boy!
  daz was Slintezgeu Helmbreht. 'Twas Helmbrecht, alias Schlingdasgeu!
  ieglîch truoc sîn burde mit im hin; Each with his load was forced to trudge.
  daz was des rihters gewin. These goods were given to the judge.53
  Dô wart fürsprechen niht gegeben. They had no advocate at court.
1670   der in lengen wil ir leben, And may God cut his life-span short
  dem kürze got daz sîne: Who would extend the span of theirs —
  daz sint die wünsche mîne. These are my sentiments and prayers!
  ich weiz den rihter sô gemuot: I know a judge, of such a mind
  ein wilder wolf, gæbe im der guot, That if a wolf of wildest kind,
1675   und bizze er allen liuten vihe, That tore men's cattle for its prey,
  von der wârheit ich des gihe, If it but gave him ample pay,
  er lieze in umbe guot genesen, For such a bribe he'd set it free,
  swie des doch niht solde wesen. However venal this might be.
  Der scherge dô die niune hie; Nine men were strung up in the air.
1680   den einen er dô leben lie The sheriff only one did spare.
  (daz was sîn zehende und sîn reht): (It was his tenth — he had that right.)54
  der hiez Slintezgeu Helmbreht. Schlingdasgeu-Helmbrecht was this wight!
  Swaz geschehen sol daz geschiht. What fate decrees is bound to be!
  got dem vil selten übersiht, God seldom spares a man, when he
1685   der tuot des er niht tuon sol. Does evil deeds he should not do.
  daz schein an Helmbrehte wol, In Helmbrecht this we see come true.
  an dem man den vater rach: To avenge the father, I surmise,
  der scherge im ûz diu ougen stach. The sheriff pierced out Helmbrecht's eyes.
  dannoch der râche niht was genuoc: Nor was the punishment yet through;
1690   man rach die muoter, daz man im sluoc For they avenged the mother, too,
  abe die hant und einen fuoz. By lopping off a hand and foot.55
  dar umbe daz er swachen gruoz Because he once rude greetings put
  vater unde muoter bôt, To both his parents, now must he
  des leit er schande unde nôt. Endure such dire contumely.
1695   dô er sprach zu dem vater sîn: To his father thus had spoke Helmbrecht:
  «waz snacket ir gebûrckîn?» "Was hevuwt ihr dummer Bur mi seggt?"
  und sîn muoter hiez gunêrtez wîp: And he called his mother "slut," you know.
  von den sünden leit sîn lîp These sins now make him undergo
  dise maneger slahte nôt, Such torment with his every breath
1700   daz im tûsent stunt der tôt That he had rather far met death
  lieber möhte sîn gewesen Than linger on, thus basely maimed,
  dan sîn schamelîch genesen. And drag a life forever shamed.
  Helmbreht, der diep blinde, Now Helmbrecht, blind and crippled thief,
  schiet von Gotelinde From Gotelint must take his leave
1705   ûf einer wegescheide At a forking of the way
  mit riuwe und mit leide. With deeper rue than I can say.
  den blinden diep Helmbreht To lead him home, the blind thief had,
  brâhte ein stap und ein kneht As guide, a staff and little lad.
  heim in sînes vater hûs. With those at home he hoped to stay;
1710   der behielt in niht: er treip in ûz, The father drove his son away.
  sîne swære er im niht buozte. He did not help him in his plight.
  hœret wie er in gruozte: Hear what he told the wretched wight! "
  «deu sal, her blinde! 'Dieu vous salue,' blind sir."
  dô ich was ingesinde Thus short He spoke. "When once I served at court
1715   ze hove wîlen (des ist lanc), I learned exactly what to say
  dô lernt ich disen antvanc. To greet a guest in proper way.
  gât ir nû, her blindekîn! Min leiiae Blindling, run along!
  ich weiz wol, daz an iu mac sîn For now you have, unless I'm wrong,
  swes ein juncherre gert, What blind youths need, is that not true?
1720   ir sît ouch dâ ze Walhen wert. Besides, at court they prize you, too!
  den gruoz sult ir von mir haben, This greeting's what you get from me,
  alsô grüez ich blinde knaben. For thus I greet blind beggars, see?
  waz touc langez teidinc? What boots this wagging of the tongue?
  got weiz, her blinder jungelinc, God knows, sir stranger, blind and young,
1725   die herberge ir mir rûmet. M y house you must at once vacate.
  ist daz ir iuch sûmet, And if perchance you hesitate,
  ich lâze iuch mînen frîman I'll have my servant give you blows
  slahen, daz nie blinde gewan The like of which, as heaven knows,
  von slegen alsolhe nôt. Were never rained on blind man's head!
1730   ez wære ein verworhtez brôt, It would be naught but wasted bread
  daz ich hînt mit iu verlür. That I should lose on you tonight,
  ir hebt iuch balde für die tür!» So get you quickly from my sight!"
  «Neinâ, herre, lât mich betagen!» "Oh no, sir, do but let me stay
  sprach der blinde. «ich wil iu sagen Beneath your roof till break of day!
1735   wie ich bin genennet; Wait! I will tell my name to you;
  durch got mich erkennet! For God's sake, recognize me, do!"
  er sprach: «nû saget drâte; He answered: "Speak! It's very late!
  zoget iuwer, ez ist spâte. No time for you to vacillate!
  ir sult iu suochen einen andern wirt: Seek other hosts, and understand,
1740   mîn hant mit gâbe iuch gar verbirt.» You'll get no bounty from my hand!"
  Beide mit leide und mit schamen With deepest pain as well as shame
  seit er dem vater sînen namen: He told his father then his name:
  «herre, ich binz iuwer kint.» "Sir, it is I — I am your child!"
  «und ist der knabe worden blint "And did they blind the youth so wild
1745   der sich dâ nante Slintezgeu? Who bore the name of Schlingdasgeu?
  nû vorht er niht des schergen dreu Whom sheriff's threat did not annoy,
  noch alle rihtære, Nor judge, nor executioner,
  ob ir noch mêre wære. No matter what their numbers were?
  hei waz ir îsens âzet, Heigh! How much iron you did eat
1750   do ir ûf dem hengste sâzet When seated on your stallion fleet,
  dar umbe ich gap mîniu rinder! Which cost me more than one good cow!
  kriechet ir nû blinder, If you go blindly creeping now,
  daz enwirt mir nimmer zorn. This causes me no wrath or pain.
  mich riuwet mîn lode und mîn korn, I grieve for my lost cloth and grain,
1755   sît mir sô tiure ist daz brôt. So dear has grown for me my bread.
  und læget ir von hunger tôt, And though you lay from hunger dead
  ich gibe iu nimmer umb einen grûz: I would not with a crumb give aid!
  ir sult iuch balde heben ûz Let not your going be delayed!
  und tuot nimmer mêre Come this direction never more,
1760   ze mir die widerkêre.» Nor cast your shadow on my door."
  Dô sprach aber der blinde: Again the blind youth spoke, and said:
  «sît ir mîn ze kinde "Since your paternal love is dead
  geruochet nimmer mêre, And you no further interest take,
  durch die gotes êre You ought still for the dear Lord's sake
1765   sult ir dem tiuvel an gesigen: To strive the devil to repress.
  lât mich als einen dürftigen Then let me, in my great distress,
  in iuwerm hûse kriechen. Within your house's shelter creep.
  swaz ir einem armen siechen What from the sick you would not keep,
  welt geben in der minne But give for sake of charity,
1770   durch got, daz gebt mir hinne. For love of God, give that to me!
  mir sint die lantliute gram: The country people are my foe.
  leider nû sit ir mir sam. Alas, you're hostile, too, I know.
  ich enmac niht genesen, I cannot any further live
  welt ir mir ungenædic wesen.» If you no bit of mercy give!"
1775   Der wirt hônlachte, Derisively the father spake,
  swie im sîu herze krachte Although his heart was like to break.
  (er was sin verch und sîn kint, (The lad was, after all, his own —
  swie er doch stüende vor im blint): Was of his flesh, and blood, and bone.)
  «nû fuort ir twerhes die welt; "Crisscross throughout the world you'd race;
1780   iuwer meidem gie nie enzelt, Your horse ne'er went at ambling pace;
  er dravete unde schûfte. It trotted round and galloped by,
  manec herze von iu ersûfte. And many a heart was forced to sigh.
  ir wârt sô ungehûre, Such frightfulness was shown by you
  manec wîp und gebûre That many peasants, women, too,
1785   sint von iu alles worden vrî. Were stripped of everything they had.
  nû sprechet ob die troume drî How now with those three dreams, my lad?
  an iu sint bewæret. Have they by any chance come true?
  noch hœher ez sich mæret, And more still lies in store for you,
  daz iu wirt wirser danne wê; To make you suffer worse than woe!
1790   ê der vierde troum ergê, Before the fourth dream that we know
  hebt iuch balde für die tür! Comes true, move on, as bade before!
  kneht, sperre, stôz den rigel für! Servant, close and bolt the door!
  ich wil hînaht hân gemach. Tonight I wish my peace and sleep.
  den ich mit ougen nie gesach, A total stranger I would keep
1795   den behielt ich unz an mînen tôt, More willingly, until I'm dead,
  ê ich iu gæbe ein halbez brôt.» Than give you half a loaf of bread."
  Allez daz er hêt getân With all the youth had ever done
  daz itwîzt er dem blinden man; He now reproached his eyeless son.
  er was gar sîn schiuhe. Repulsed by loathing, he must scoff:
1800   «sê blinden, kneht, nû ziuhe "You, blind man's servant, take him off,
  in von mir der sunnen haz!» Despised and hated of the sun!"
  er sluoc den kneht: «nû habe dir daz! He struck the guide: "And take that one!
  dînen meister tæt ich same, Your master I would give the same
  wan daz ich mich des schame, But for the fact that I'd feel shame
1805   ob ich blinden slüege: To strike a man of sight bereft.
  ich bin wol sô gefüege, I've decency sufficient left
  daz ichz kan vermîden; That I can still hold back the blow.
  doch mac ez sich verrîden But I might change my mind, you know!
  hebt iuch, ungetriuwer Rûz, Betake yourself, you faithless boor,
1810   balde für die tür hin ûz: In greatest haste forth from my door.
  ich ahte niht ûf iuwer nôt.» Your suffering is naught to me!"
  im gap diu muoter doch ein brôt The mother, not so hard as he,
  in die hant als einem kinde. Passed out, as to a child, a crust.
  Hin gie der diep blinde. Off went the blind lad through the dust.
1815   swâ er über velt gie, Where'er he went, o'er field or grass,
  dehein gebûre daz verlie, Each peasant who observed him pass
  er schrei in an und sînen kneht: Cried out to him and to his boy:
  «hâhâ, diep Helmbreht! "Ha, Helmbrecht, thief, I wish you joy!
  hêtest dû gebûwen alsam ich, Had you, like me, kept to your plow,
1820   sô züge man nû niht blinden dich!» You'd not be led round blinded now!"
  alsô leit er ein jâr nôt, And thus he suffered, one year through,
  unz er von hâhen leit den tôt. Until he died from hanging, too.
  Ich sage iu wie daz geschach. I'll tell you how that came, at last.
  ein gebûre in ersach, A peasant saw him going past
1825   dô er gie zuo einer frist As he was seeking out a nest
  durch einen walt umb sîne genist. Within the woods where he could rest.
  der gebûre kloup dâ wite The man was cutting wood that day
  nâch der gebûren site, For fire, as is a peasant's way.
  daz was eines morgens fruo. 'Twas of a morning. Helmbrecht, now,
1830   dem hêt Helmbreht eine kuo Had taken his best calving cow —
  genomen von siben binden. As fine a beast as one could find;
  der ersach in alsô blinden: And now the peasant saw him blind!
  er sprach ze sînen holden, He called his neighbors round about
  ob si im helfen wolden. And asked if they would help him out.
1835   «entriuwen» sprach der eine, "In truth I will," said one with lust,
  «ich zerre in alsô kleine, "I'll shred him into bits of dust
  sam daz in der sunne vert, Like those one sees in sunlight fly,
  ist daz mir in niemen wert. If I'm not stopped by passers-by.
  mir und mînem wîbe Me and my wife he once roped in
1840   zôch er ab dem lîbe And stripped us to the very skin —
  unser beider gewant; Took every garment we had on;
  er ist mîn vil rehtez phant.» So now he is my proper pawn."
  dô sprach der dritte dâ bî: The third one then spoke up with vim:
  «ob sîn eines wæren drî, "And were there even three of him,
1845   die wold ich tœten eine. With my sole hand I'd kill all three!
  er vil unreine, That unclean, thieving devil, he
  er brach mir ûf mînen glêt Once split apart my cellar door
  und nam daz ich dâ inne hêt.» And pillaged all I had in store."
  der vierde der den wite kloup, A fourth, who'd been splitting wood for fire,
1850   der bidemt vor girde als ein loup. Shook like a leaf with his desire.
  er sprach: «ich briche in als ein huo n. "I'll wring his chicken's neck for spite!
  von allem rehte ich daz tuon: None can deny I have the right!
  er stiez mîn kint in einen sac, He stuck my child into a sack
  dô ez slâfende lac; While it lay sleeping on its back;
1855   er want ez in ein bet: Wrapped a bed round the little one —
  ez was naht, dô er daz tet. 'Twas night when this foul deed was done.
  dô ez erwachet unde schrê, When it awoke and wailed in woe,
  do schutte erz ûz an den snê. He shook it out upon the snow.
  sîn ende hêt ez dâ genomen, Ere morn it surely would have died
1860   wær ich im niht ze helfe komen.» Had I not heard it as it cried."
  «entriuwen» sprach der fünfte, "In faith," a fifth one said in wrath,
  «ich freu mich siner künfte, "I'm glad he's fallen in our path!
  sô daz ich mînes herzen spil My heart will find a great delight
  hiute an im geschouwen wil: Today in feasting on his sight.
1865   er nôtzoget mir mîn kint. The villain outraged my poor girl!
  wær er noch drî stunt als blint, And were he thrice as blind, the churl,
  ich sol in hâhen an den ast. I'd hang him to the nearest limb!
  selbe ich im kûme enbrast And I myself escaped from him
  beide nacket unde blôz. But barely, naked forced to flee.
1870   wær er als ein hûs sô grôz, Though bigger than a house were he,
  ich wirde an im errochen, I'd have revenge on him this day,
  sît er sich hât verkrochen Since he has come to creep away
  in disen walt sô tiefen.» Within this wood so deep and wide."
  «Dar nâher!» si dô riefen "Let's after him!" they all then cried,
1875   und kêrten alle rehte And turned at twinkling of an eye
  gegen Helmbrehte. Toward Helmbrecht, who had passed on by.
  dô si sich wol errâchen As now they took revenge, they said,
  mit slegen an im, si sprâchen: While raining blows upon his head:
  «nû hüete der hûben, Helmbreht!» "Now save your hood, as best you can!"
1880   daz ir dâ vor des schergen kneht And what before the sheriff's man
  hêt lâzen ungerüeret, Had left untouched, was this time stripped
  daz wart nû gar zefüeret. And to a hundred tatters ripped.
  daz was ein griuwelîch dinc: It was a gruesome thing. They rained
  sô breit als ein phenninc Such hail of blows that there remained
1885   beleip ir niht bî einander. No penny-wide strip of all the hood:
  sitiche und galander, Ring-larks, the gay poll-parrots' brood,
  sparwære und turteltûben, And hawks and doves — the birds had flown
  die genâten ûf der hûben, That on the handsome hood were sewn;
  die wurden gestreut ûf den wec. They now lay scattered on the ground.
1890   hie lac ein loc, dort ein flec Here a lock of hair was found,
  der hûben und des hâres. And there a bit of hood: forsooth,
  gesagt ich nie iht wâres, If I have ne'er yet told the truth,
  doch sult ir mir gelouben It must by all be understood
  daz mære von der houben, I tell it now about the hood,
1895   wie kleine man si zarte. In what fine bits the thing was torn.
  ir gesâht nie swarte You never saw scalp so forlorn
  ûf houbet alsô kalwe: Upon a head, so bald and bare.
  sîn reidez hâr valwe His handsome, flaxen, curly hair,
  sach man in swachem werde Of all its dignity bereft,
1900   ligen ûf der erde. Bestrewed the earth, and there was left.
  daz was iedoch vil lîhte: But all this punishment was light,
  si liezen in sîne bîhte For next they bade the luckless wight
  den müedinc dô sprechen; To quickly make his peace with God.
  einer begunde brechen And one of them a little clod
1905   eine brôsmen von der erden: Of earth made haste to break and fetch.56
  dem vil gar unwerden This to the most unworthy wretch
  gab er si zeiner stiure They gave, with charge to use it well
  für das hellefiure Against the burning fires of hell.
  und hiengen in an einem boum. They hanged him to a near-by tree.
1910   ich wæne, des vater troum And thus the father's dream, you see,
  daz er sich hie bewære. Found fulfillment without fail.
  hie endet sich daz mære. And here must end our little tale.
  Swâ noch selpherrischiu kint Let headstrong children everywhere
  bî vater unde muoter sint, Who still are in their parents' care
1915   die sîn gewarnet hie mite. Take a warning from my story.
  begânt sie Helmbrehtes site, If they covet Helmbrecht's glory,
  ich erteile in daz mit rehte, I tell them truly, ere too late,
  in geschehe als Helmbrehte. That they will suffer Helmbrecht's fate.
  ûf den strâzen und ûf den wegen Upon the streets and on the roads
1920   was diu wagenvart gelegen: Men could not safely drive their loads;
  die varent alle nû mit fride, Their wagons now in peace may fare,
  sît Helmbreht ist an der wide. Since Helmbrecht dangles in the air.
  Nû seht ûf und umbe: And now look up and round you, too,
  râte iu wol ein tumbe, And let the simple counsel you.
1925   dem volgt und ouch des wîsen rât. Take counsel also from the wise.
  waz ob Helmbreht noch hât Does Helmbrecht have, as I surmise,
  etewâ junge knehtel? Young followers who live as he?
  die werdent ouch Helmbrehtel. If so, they'll little Helmbrechts be.
  vor den gib ich iu niht fride, A Never in peace they'll let you fare
1930   si komen ouch danne an die wide. Till they, too, dangle in the air.
  Swer iu ditze mære lese, For him who reads to you this tale
  bitet daz im got genædec wese Pray that God's mercy may not fail;
  und dem tihtære, And for the poet pray the same,
  Wernher dem Gartenære Wernher the Gardener is his name.

Bavaria and Paris 5/18    Weidenhofen Farm & Meier Helmbrecht

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