Under der linden

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"Unter den Linden auf der Heide", illustration by Wilhelm von Kaulbach

"Under der linden" is a famous poem written by the medieval German lyric poet Walther von der Vogelweide. It is written in Middle High German. The song may have originally been sung to the surviving melody of an old French song, which matches the meter of the poem.[1]


The original melody of "Under der linden" may be preserved; the melody of an anonymous old French folk song entitled "En mai au douz tens novels" fits the meter of the poem, indicating that "Under der linden" may actually be a contrafactum of "En mai au douz tens novels". Though this contrafactum is possible, it still remains uncertain.[2]


Full Poem:

Original Middle High German
1. Under der linden
an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ muget ir vinden
schône beide
gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
vor dem walde in einem tal,
schône sanc diu nahtegal.

2. Ich kam gegangen
zuo der ouwe:
dô was mîn friedel komen ê.
dâ wart ich empfangen
hêre frouwe
daz ich bin sælic iemer mê.
kust er mich? wol tûsentstunt:
seht wie rôt mir ist der munt.

3. Dô hete er gemachet
alsô rîche
von bluomen eine bettestat.
des wirt noch gelachet
kumt iemen an daz selbe pfat.
bî den rôsen er wol mac
merken wâ mirz houbet lac.

4. Daz er bî mir læge,
wesse ez iemen
(nu enwelle got!), so schamte ich mich.
wes er mit mir pflæge,
niemer niemen
bevinde daz wan er und ich
und ein kleinez vogellîn:
daz mac wol getriuwe sîn.

Modern English translation by Raymond Oliver[3]
1. Under the lime tree
On the heather,
Where we had shared a place of rest,
Still you may find there,
Lovely together,
Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
Beside the forest in the vale,
Sweetly sang the nightingale.

2. I came to meet him
At the green:
There was my truelove come before.
Such was I greeted —
Heaven's Queen! —
That I am glad for evermore.
Had he kisses? A thousand some:
See how red my mouth's become.

3. There he had fashioned
For luxury
A bed from every kind of flower.
It sets to laughing
Whoever comes upon that bower;
By the roses well one may,
Mark the spot my head once lay.

4. If any knew
He lay with me
(May God forbid!), for shame I'd die.
What did he do?
May none but he
Ever be sure of that — and I,
And one extremely tiny bird,
Who will, I think, not say a word.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Konzett, Matthias (2000). "Walther von der Vogelweide". Encyclopedia of German Literature (first ed.). London, England: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 977. ISBN 978-1-57958-138-1. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  2. ^ Brunner, Horst (2013). "Die Melodien Walthers". In Lachmann, Karl; Cormeau, Christoph; Bein, Thomas (eds.). Walther von der Vogelweide. Leich, Lieder, Sangsprüche (15th ed.). De Gruyter. p. LII. ISBN 978-3-11-017657-5.
  3. ^ Oliver, Raymond. "Walther von der Vogelweide (c 1170- c 1230): Under der linden, Raymond Oliver's translation (used by the translator's permission)". Planck.com. Planck.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.