First thing you see when you arrive at the center of Bozen/Bolzano is the monument in memory of the great poet Walther von der Vogelweide the Minnesinger of Bolzano. He was a Minnesinger that probably lived in South Tyrol in Northern Italy around the year 1200.
In this Article
Piazza Walther (Waltherplatz in German) is the town’s living room. Its statue honors the square’s namesake, Walther von der Vogelweide, a 12th-century politically incorrect German poet who stood up to the pope in favor of the (German) Holy Roman Emperor. Walther’s spunk against a far bigger power represents the freethinking pride of this region.~ Rick Steves
Piazza Walther / Walterplatz in Bolzano – South Tyrol
In 1889 the city of Bolzano not only named its main square the Walterplatz, but also embellished it with a statue of the noble minnesinger. Sculpted in exceptional detail from the region’s renowned white marble of the village of Laas, it thrones the squares fountain. The Vinschgau valley, home of the famouns marble quarry is also the place of discovery of an other mythical Souttirolean, Ötzi the 5,000 year old glacier mummy. He is displayed near to the Walterplatz, in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, together with his clothing and equipment.
The face of Walther reveals a serene attitude and dignified expression that suits a long, kingly cloak falling gracefully off his shoulders, his hands hold a viol while below him is a cage enshrining a songbird. Further down two lions stoutly sit upright bearing shields while opposite regal swans curve their snowy necks as if to drink the Alpine water in the basin.
In 1919, after World War I, Bolzano was annexed by Italy against the will of the native population who had opted to join the new German Republic of Austria.
Ettore Tolomei, 1923, demanded the removal of the monument and its replacement by a statue of Drusus, but its installation was omitted after a foreign policy controversy had arisen between Benito Mussolini, Gustav Stresemann and Heinrich Held in the “Walther Question” about Walter von der Vogelweide, the Minnesinger of Bolzano.
In 1926, after the rise of fascism, the region’s ethnic Germans were subjected to a policy of forced Italianization. The fascist dictatorship encouraged the moving of many ethnic Italians to the city from other parts of Italy (primarily from Northern Italy) in an attempt to italianize the whole region. The German language and culture were prohibited, local names translated into Italian by Ettore Tolomei.
In 1935, the fascist authorities ordered a transfer of the Walter monument to the less centrally located and much smaller Roseggerpark. This found resonance in the German satirical magazine Simplicissimus, which brought a corresponding vignette by Karl Arnold titled: “In the small Rose Garden”. It bears Italian fascios, the symbol of fascism with the manes of Walter von der Vogelweide and the dwarf King Laurin holding a shield with the Tyrolean eagle. “To immortality nothing is spared! Now we are transferred for disciplinary reasons.“ — “Yes, that’s what the Austro-Italian cultural agreement demands!” reads the caption. The austro- tyrolian culture is being entrapped, even prohibited by fascism during Italianization of South Tyrol.
After World War II, South Tyrol and the neighboring province of Trentino formed the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Since the second Autonomy rights given 1972, every citizen has the right to use their own mother tongue, even at court. Schools are separated, but German is teached at Italian schools and vice versa Italian in German schools. Ladin is teached in the Dolomites.
All traffic signs are officially bi- or trilingual. In order to protect minority rights there is proportionality for public jobs, housing and other benefits. This considerable level of self-government is given also due to the large financial resources of South Tyrol, retaining almost 90% of all levied taxes.
After decades of tension, particularly in the 1950s and the 1980s, (which included terrorist attacks), South Tyrol is now a peaceful, multilingual European province, where Italian and German-speaking Tyroleans live side by side but still not together:
“… An arrangement originally designed to protect ethnic Ladins and Germans – a majority in the region but a minority nationally – from the encroachments of the Italian State, has produced a ‘fenced society’.
Most people live side by side but separately, often in self-enclosed, ethnically homogeneous enclaves, guarding their ‘irreducible uniqueness’. Mixture, mixed marriages and mixed schools are deemed undesirable; even nursery schools are ethnically segregated. This is the result of a clash of two distinct inflections of nationalism…”~ A gemutlich segregation by Stefano Fait.
Only in 1981, the Walther monument has been put back in its original location, a citizens’ committee had been campaigning for its return to Waltherplatz since 1976. Now he stands there and watches how politics and multiculturalism work in South Tyrol while the birds sing and people from every walk of life go by…
Walter von der Vogelweide the Minnesinger of Bolzano
So let’s shed some light on the troubadour’s life and tribulations. As an introduction to a brief extract upon Walther von der Vogelweide, take Longfellow’s beautiful little poem:
When he left this world of ours, Laid his body in the cloister, Under Würtzburg’s minster towers. And he gave the monks his treasures, Gave them all with this behest: They should feed the birds at noontide Daily on his place of rest; Saying, “From these wandering minstrels I have learned the art of song; Let me now repay the lessons They have taught so well and long.” Thus the bard of love departed; And, fulfilling his desire, On his tomb the birds were feasted By the children of the choir. Day by day, o’er tower and turret, In foul weather and in fair, Day by day, in vaster numbers, Flocked the poets of the air. On the tree whose heavy branches Overshadowed all the place, On the pavement, on the tombstone, On the poet’s sculptured face, On the cross-bars of each window, On the lintel of each door, They renewed the War of Wartburg, Which the bard had fought before. There they sang their merry carols, Sang their lauds on every side; And the name their voices uttered Was the name of Vogelweide. Till at length the portly abbot Murmured, “Why this waste of food? Be it changed to loaves henceforward For our fasting brotherhood.” Then in vain o’er tower and turret, From the walls and woodland nests, When the minster bells rang noontide, Gathered the unwelcome guests. Then in vain, with cries discordant, Clamorous round the Gothic spire, Screamed the feathered Minnesingers For the children of the choir. Time has long effaced the inscriptions On the cloister’s funeral stones, And tradition only tells us Where repose the poet’s bones. But around the vast cathedral, By sweet echoes multiplied, Still the birds repeat the legend, And the name of Vogelweide.
VITA: Walter von der Vogelweide
Details about Walther’s life are, for the most part, as difficult to make out as those of other medieval poets. Questions begin with the name “von der Vogelweide,” which has brought forth a wide variety of interpretations:
“Walter von der Vogelweide,”
translates literally as
“Sir Walter of the Bird-Field” or “Walther of the Bird Meadow”
- some scholars construe “Vogelweide” as a place-name,
- while others see in it a metaphorical expression of Walther’s career as a singer.
The view of the minnesingers as sweetly-singing birds is known to us from Gottfried von Strassburg’s famous literary review in which the lyric poets are cast as nightingales, and Walther as their leader:
ich wæne, ich sî wol vinde, diu die baniere füeren sol: ir meisterinne kan ez wol, diu von der Vogelweide ~ Tristan, 4796–99 3
I believe I can find the nightingale to carry their banner; their master can do it well, the one from Vogelweide;
~ German Literature of the High Middle Ages (Camden House History of German Literature) by Will Hasty.
Perhaps in the so-called Alterslieder, songs of old age, allow us to catch glimpses of the poet’s own life.
Walther’s place of birth is not known (Würzburg or Feuchtwangen in Franconia, South Tirol, and the Austrian region around Vienna are among the places that have been proposed by different scholars), but it is fairly certain that much of Walther’s youth and probably the first part of his literary career were spent in Austria; in his so-called Alterselegie he sings
“ ze Osterriche lernde ich singen unde sagen”
In Austria I learned to sing love songs and perform Sprüche (singing in rhyme).
Hohe vs niedere Minne
During this presumed early phase of Walther’s career, he seems to have composed songs of “hohe minne” in the mold of Reinmar (his teacher) , and at some point later it is thought that a poetic “feud” between Walther and Reinmar came about, reflections of which may be visible in some of Walther’s songs. Hohe minne that is, the formal courtship of aristocratic ladies put into “folk songs” or sung poems. This kind of love, which largely coincides with today’s idea of (gender) love, has been a central theme in poetry ( minnesong ) and epic ( courtly novel ) in Germany since 1170. In this process, Minne was stylized into an ideal of platonic love, which above all meant the inviolable knightly service for a lady, submission to her will and solicitation for her favor (so-called Hohe Minne ).
Probably after the death of Prince Friedrich in 1198, Walther seems to have left Vienna. Making his way as an itinerant poet from one lord and patron to another (indications of which are found in the political and didactic poetry), Walther possibly came into contact with erotic themes of the Latin minstrel lyrics (Vagantenlyrik) and began to develop his songs of “niedere Minne” (love for women of lower social standing).
Later on, it is assumed, Walther endeavored without success to return to the court at Vienna. Around this time, he may have experimented with his new conception of love, endeavoring to balance his conception of niedere Minne with the standard model of hohe minne. Through his leaving the high Minne and his turn to the niedere Minne, he opened up completely new aesthetic paths for the Minnesang.
A final stage posited for the development of Walther’s lyrical career is the time close to the end of his life when he composed the so-called Alterslieder.
It is very likely that he had been knighted at some point for military service but this did not come with any land or material wealth. Legend has it also, that he was born around 1170 and died around 1230. A document from the 14th century tells he was buried in the cloister of Neumünster in Würzburg.
This view of Walther’s life story has achieved an almost legendary status, and it continues to enjoy wide currency in the scholarly literature, although some scholars recently have pointed out that there is little hard evidence to support it.
Approximately two hundred poems by Walther are known to exist, sometimes categorized for easier reference under the headings of love, political, social, and religious poetry (Sangsprüche or Sprüche).
What is Minnesang?
German courtly love poetry, or Minnesang, emerged around 1170 (to the14th century), produced both by singers who wandered from court to court looking for patrons of their art, and also by members of the highest aristocratic circles.
Walther von der Vogelweide the Minnesinger from Bolzano transformed the Minnesang
The first signs of profound changes affecting Minnesang occurred around 1200 with the appearance of great poet Minnesänger such as Walther von der Vogelweide, who went far beyond the artificial conventions with which the Minnesang had been governed by introducing an element of practical realism, both in his love poetry and in his Sprüche.
He wrote a great many philosophical and political Sprüche that reflected prevailing conditions of the Reich and the church. They contained satire and humor, frequently attacking high ranking persons.
The Minnesang was meant to be sung but the melodies were not well documented and mostly only lyrics are left. With the exception of the Palaestinasong.
Abandoning the stilted formulas, he went beyond the conventional theme of pure love – a disconnected ideal which no one could relate to – and wrote instead of his own feelings, thoughts, and concerns, at the same time reviving the lyrical quality of the German language itself.
His songs are thus very individual and come from the heart, whether they are meditations on the global issues of humanity, or naughty little folk – love songs (“Under der Linden”).
Under der Linden is Walter von der Vogelweides most famous love poem:
Under der Linden
an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ muget ir vinden
gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
vor dem walde in einem tal,
schône sanc diu nahtegal.
Ich kam gegangen
zuo der ouwe:
dô was mîn friedel komen ê.
dâ wart ich empfangen
daz ich bin sælic iemer mê.
kust er mich? wol tûsentstunt:
seht wie rôt mir ist der munt.
Dô hete er gemachet
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.
Daz er bî mir læge,
wesse ez iemen
(nu enwelle got!), so schamte ich mich.
wes er mit mir pflæge,
bevinde daz wan er und ich
und ein kleinez vogellîn:
daz mac wol getriuwe sîn.
Under the lime tree
On the heather,
Where we had shared a place of rest,
Still you may find there,
Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
Beside the forest in the vale,
Sweetly sang the nightingale.
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.
There he had fashioned
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.
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.
translation by Raymond Oliver
Walther von der Vogelweides political poetry
Many of his verses express earnestly his love for his native land, and his grief for social and political disorders of his times. He believes that the world is falling a prey to disorder.
“I hear the rushing of the water,”
“and I watch the movements of the fish that swim in its depth. I explore the habits of the creatures of this world in the forest and in the field, from the beast of the field down to the insect, and I find that there is nowhere any life that is not vexed by hostility and strife.
Warfare is found everywhere, and yet some order is preserved even among animals; but in my own native land, where the petty princes are lifting themselves up against the emperor, we are hastening on to disorder.”
The course of events proved that he was too true in this prediction. Resignation and despair, rather than any hope of a reconciliation of religion with practical life, characterize other meditative poems.
The following is one of the best of this class:
I sat one day upon a stone…
I sat one day upon a stone, And meditated long, alone, While resting on my hand my head, In silence to myself I said: “How, in these days of care and strife, Shall I employ my fleeting life? Three precious jewels I require To satisfy my heart’s desire: The first is honor, bright and clear, The next is wealth, and far more dear, The third is heaven’s approving smile;” Then, after I had mused a while I saw that it was vain to pine For these three pearls in one small shrine; To find within one heart a place For honor, wealth, and heavenly grace; For how can one in days like these Heaven and the world together please?
~ From “Outlines of German Literature” Gostwick and Harrison.
This is Walther’s most famous political-moral poem. Some critics regard the stanzas as separate entities, based on references to different historical events, such as Henry VI’s death in 1197, and Philip’s election and eventual excommunication in 1201.
The three sections, however, are so closely linked, that one can assume that it is to be read as one.
In the first strophe the author portrays himself as contemplating the times which are marked by the dual election of 1198.
He then discusses the problem of combining Christian ethics with worldly honour and material goods. The triad he mentions has often been interpreted as the moral trio of values
Walther wishes to show that without protection from a secular authority, the chance of achieving a union is remote.
I heard a river roaring
and saw the fishes swimming;
I saw whatever was in all the world:
fields and forests, leaf and reed and grass,
whatever creeps or soars in flight
or puts its feet upon the earth.
I realised, and tell you this:
nothing that lives is free of hate.
Wild animals, and reptiles too,
battle it out in furious fights,
and all the birds do just the same.
But all have sense enough to see:
they’d find themselves in dire straits
did they not frame the firmest rules.
They choose their king, and make their laws,
say who’ll be servant, who’ll be lord.
And yet, for you who speak the German tongue,
what order is your kingdom in,
when every fly now has a king and all your glory vanishes?
Reform yourselves! Turn and repent!
The coronets of lesser kings will push you all aside.
On Philip’s head, then,
place the crown and make them come to heel!
Middle High German
Ich hôrte ein wazzer diezen
und sach die vische fliezen,
ich sach swaz in der welte was,
velt, walt, loup, rôr unde gras.
swaz kriuchet unde fliuget
und bein zer erde biuget,
daz sach ich, unde sage iu daz:
der keinez lebet âne haz.
daz wilt und daz gewürme
die strîtent starke stürme,
sam tuont die vogel under in,
wan daz si habent einen sin:
si dûhten sich ze nihte,
si enschüefen starc gerihte.
si kiesent künege unde reht,
si setztent hêrren unde kneht.
sô wê dir, tiuschiu zunge,
wie stêt dîn ordenunge!
daz nû diu mugge ir künec hât,
und daz dîn êre alsô zergât!
bekêrâ dich, bekêre,
die cirkel sint ze hêre,
die armen künege dringent dich.
Philippe setze den weisen ûf,
[und heiz si treten hinder sich!
The second strophe refers to the universal struggle Walther observes in nature’s the urge of all living creatures to appoint a strong ruler. This “natural law” he uses as a basis to call on Philip to assert his rights against the petty kings.
He is undoubtedly referring to Richard I of England and Philip Augustus of France, who supported the opponents of Philip II, and he emphasizes their lower estate by his reference to their coronets (“cirkel,” that is, foreign crowns which, unlike the imperial crown, were made up of circular bands), as compared to the emperor’s crown with its “weisen,” a large precious stone, the top stone of the brow plate, which was popularly referred to as the stone of wisdom, although it was an unusually large solitaire («Weisen»). Thus any prince who stepped back would see the sign of imperial supremacy.
Modern English I’ve seen with my own eyes the things that men and women do; I’ve seen and heard what each one did, what each one said. From Rome I heard a lie that would betray two kings. From that the greatest strife arose that ever has been, ever will, when feuds broke out between the priests and laity. They caused distress beyond all bounds, with souls and bodies lying dead. The priests fought wildly on and on; the laymen, though, had greater strength. The priests then all laid down their swords and snatched the surplice up again. They banished those they wished to ban, but never were they those they should. They then destroyed the house of God. And from a hermit cell, far off, I heard great lamentation, a hermit weeping there bewailing to his God the grief he felt: ‘Oh no, the Pope is just a child. Lord, help your Christendom.’
Middle High German Ich sach mit mînen ougen mann unde wîbe tougen, daz ich gehôrte und gesach swaz iemen tet, swaz iemen sprach. ze Rôme hôrte ich liegen und zwêne künege triegen. dâ von huop sich der meiste strît der ê was oder iemer sît, dô sich begunden zweien die pfaffen unde leien. daz was ein nôt vor aller nôt, lîp unde sêle lac dâ tôt. die pfaffen striten sêre, doch wart der leien mêre. diu swert diu leiten si dernider und griffen zuo der stôle wider: si bienen die si wolten und niht den si solten.dô stôrte man diu goteshûs. ich hôrte verre in einer klûs vil michel ungebære; dâ weinte eine klôsenære, er klagete gote sîniu leit: “Owê der bâbest ist ze junc; hilf, hêrre, dîner kristenheit!”
The third strophe refers directly to the struggle with Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) and accuses Rome of using excommunication as a political weapon. Very effective is the introduction of the hermit, representing simple Christian faith, who complains about the pope’s conduct.
Nû alrêst lebe ich mir werde … or Palästinalied
Perhaps his most famous song is the so-called “Palästinalied”, written in 1228 in honor of -and about- the Crusades.
Nû alrêst lebe ich mir werde, sît mîn sündic ouge siht daz here lant und ouch die erde, der man sô vil êren giht. ez ist geschehen, des ich ie bat, ich bin komen an die stat, dâ got menischlîchen trat. Schoeniu lant, rîch unde hêre, swaz ich der noch hân gesehen, sô bist dûz ir aller êre. waz ist wunders hie geschehen! daz ein magt ein kint gebar, hêre über aller engel schar, was daz niht ein wunder gar? Hie liez er sich reine toufen, daz der mensche reine sî. dô liez er sich hie verkoufen, daz wir eigen wurden frî. anders waeren wir verlorn. wol dir, sper, kriuz unde dorn! wê dir, heiden! daz ist dir zorn! Dô er sich wolte übr uns erbarmen, hie leit er den grimmen tôt, er vil rîche übr uns vil armen, daz wir komen ûz der nôt. daz in dô des niht verdrôz, dâst ein wunder alze grôz, aller wunder übergnoz. Hinnen vuor der sun ze helle, von dem grabe da’r inne lac. des was ie der vater geselle und der geist, den nieman mac sunder scheiden, êst al ein, sleht und ebener danne ein zein, als er Abrahâme erschein. Do er den tiefel dô geschande daz nie keiser baz gestreit, dô vuor er her wider ze lande. dô huob sich der juden leit: daz er, hêrre, ir huote brach und daz man in sît lebendig sach, den ir hant sluog unde stach. [ Dar nâch was er in dem lande vierzic tage: dô vuor er dar, dannen in sîn vater sande. sînen geist, der uns bewar, den sant er hin wider ze hant. heilig ist daz selbe lant: sîn name, der ist vor got erkant.] In diz lant hât er gesprochen einen angeslîchen tac, dâ diu witwe wirt gerochen und der weise klagen mac und der arme den gewalt, der dâ wirt mit ime gestalt. wol im dort, der hie vergalt! Unser lantraehtere tihten fristet dâ niemannes klage, wan er wil zestunden rihten. sô ez ist an dem lesten tage: und swer deheine schult hie lât unverebent, wie der stât dort, dâ er pfant noch bürgen hât!] [ Ir enlât iuch niht verdriezen, dâz ich noch gesprochen hân. sô wil ich die rede entsliezen kurzwîlen und iuch wizzen lân, swaz got wunders noch ie mit dem menschen erwege daz huob sich und endet hie]. Kristen, juden und die heiden jehent, daz diz ir erbe sî. got müez ez ze rehte scheiden durch die sîne namen drî. al diu welt, diu strîtet her: wir sîn an der rehten ger. reht ist, daz er uns gewer. Hie liez er sich reine toufen, daz der mensche reine sî. dô liez er sich hie verkoufen, daz wir eigen wurden frî. anders waeren wir verlorn. wol dir, sper, kriuz unde dorn! wê dir, heiden! daz ist dir zorn! Dô er sich wolte übr uns erbarmen, hie leit er den grimmen tôt, er vil rîche übr uns vil armen, daz wir komen ûz der nôt. daz in dô des niht verdrôz, dâst ein wunder alze grôz, aller wunder übergnoz.] Hinnen vuor der sun ze helle, von dem grabe da’r inne lac. des was ie der vater geselle und der geist, den nieman mac sunder scheiden, êst al ein, sleht und ebener danne ein zein, als er Abrahâme erschein. Do er den tiefel dô geschande daz nie keiser baz gestreit, dô vuor er her wider ze lande. dô huob sich der juden leit: daz er, hêrre, ir huote brach und daz man in sît lebendig sach, den ir hant sluog unde stach. [Dar nâch was er in dem lande vierzic tage: dô vuor er dar, dannen in sîn vater sande. sînen geist, der uns bewar, den sant er hin wider ze hant. heilig ist daz selbe lant: sîn name, der ist vor got erkant.] In diz lant hât er gesprochen einen angeslîchen tac, dâ diu witwe wirt gerochen und der weise klagen mac und der arme den gewalt, der dâ wirt mit ime gestalt. wol im dort, der hie vergalt! Unser lantraehtere tihten fristet dâ niemannes klage, wan er wil zestunden rihten. sô ez ist an dem lesten tage: und swer deheine schult hie lât unverebent, wie der stât dort, dâ er pfant noch bürgen hât!] [ Ir enlât iuch niht verdriezen, dâz ich noch gesprochen hân. sô wil ich die rede entsliezen kurzwîlen und iuch wizzen lân, swaz got wunders noch ie mit dem menschen erwege daz huob sich und endet hie]. Kristen, juden und die heiden jehent, daz diz ir erbe sî. got müez ez ze rehte scheiden durch die sîne namen drî. al diu welt, diu strîtet her: wir sîn an der rehten ger. reht ist, daz er uns gewer. [Mê dann hundert tûsent wunder hie in disem lande sint, dâ von ich niht mê besunder kan gesagen als ein kint, wan ein teil von unser ê. swem des niht genuoge, der gê zúo den juden, die sagent im mê.] [Vrowe min, durch iuwer güete nu vernemet mine clage, daz ir durch iuwer hochgemüete nicht erzuernet, waz ich sage. Vil lihte daz ein tumber man misseredet, als er wol kann. daran solt ir iuch nicht keren an.]
For the very first I am alive to myself, since my sinful eye beholds the noble land, and also that earth to which so much honour is given. That has come to pass for which I have ever prayed: I have come to the place where God walked in human form. Such fair lands, rich and noble, as I have seen elsewhere, you are the honour of them all, what miracles have come to pass here! That a maid bore a child, lord over all the angelic host, was this not a perfect miracle? Here he, being pure, let himself be baptized, so that man might be pure. There he let himself be sold, so that we thralls might be free; otherwise we would be lost. Hail to you, spear, cross, and thorn! Woe to you, heathens, this is an outrage to you! As he wanted to take pity on us, here he suffered grim death, he, most rich, on us, most poor, that we might escape from woe. That he was not vexed by this, this is a miracle all too great, beyond all other miracles.] Thence the Son rode to hell, from the grave wherein he lay. For he was an eternal companion to the Father, and to the Spirit, which no one may divide: They are all One, straighter and smoother than an arrow-shaft. For the very first I am alive to myself, since my sinful eye beholds the noble land, and also that earth to which so much honour is given. That has come to pass for which I have ever prayed: I have come to the place where God walked in human form. Such fair lands, rich and noble, as I have seen elsewhere, you are the honour of them all, what miracles have come to pass here! That a maid bore a child, lord over all the angelic host, was this not a perfect miracle? Here he, being pure, let himself be baptized, so that man might be pure. There he let himself be sold, so that we thralls might be free; otherwise we would be lost. Hail to you, spear, cross, and thorn! Woe to you, heathens, this is an outrage to you! As he wanted to take pity on us, here he suffered grim death, he, most rich, on us, most poor, that we might escape from woe. That he was not vexed by this, this is a miracle all too great, beyond all other miracles.] Thence the Son rode to hell, from the grave wherein he lay. For he was an eternal companion to the Father, and to the Spirit, which no one may divide: They are all One, straighter and smoother than an arrow-shaft, as He appeared to Abraham. Having humiliated the devil there, such that no emperor has ever fought better, he travelled back to this land. Then began the Jews’ sorrow: that he, the Lord, broke from their custody and that he was later seen alive, whom their hand had beaten and pierced. [ After this, he remained in the land for forty days, then he departed hence, where his Father sent him. His Spirit, which may save us, he sent back presently. Holy is this same land: Its name is recognized before God.] In this land he has announced a terrible day when the widow will be avenged, and the orphan may file complaint, and so may the poor man about the violence that was done to him. Hail to him there, who has requited here! [Not] as our land-judges are wont, no one’s complaint will be delayed, as he will pass judgement within the hour, so will it be on the Last Day. Whosoever here leaves any debt unrequited, how will he stand there, where he will have neither pledge nor bailsman.] [ Let it not vex you that I have spoken more. I will explain my rede briefly, and let you know what wonders God has still in mind with mankind; it began here and will end here.] Christians, Jews, and heathens all say that this is their patrimony. God must decide this justly, by his three names. All the world is warring here; we are pursuing a just claim, so it is just that He grant it.
Life’s true worth at last beginneth, Now my sinful eyes behold The holy land, the earth that winneth Fame for glories manifold. I have won my lifelong prayer: I am in the country where God in human shape did fare. Lands, the greatest, goodliest, fairest, Many such mine eyes have seen; O’er them all the crown thou bearest. Think what wonders here have been! From a Maid a babe did spring, O’er the angel hosts a king; Was not that a wondrous thing? Here He was baptized with water, That men might be pure as He. Here He let them sell Him later, That we thralls might so be free. We had else been lost, I wis. Spear, Cross, thorn, your praise it is! Heathens, woe! ye rage at this. Down to hell the Son descended From the grave wherein he lay. Him the Father still attended And the Ghost, whom no man may E’er disjoin; the three are one: Shaft so smooth and straight there’s none, As to Abraham it was shown. When He quelled the fiend and ended Such a fight as king ne’er fought, Here to earth He reascended. Sorrow to the Jews it brought; Through their guard He broke amain; Living was He seen again, Whom their hands had pierced and slain. Here a day of dreadful summons He appointed for this land. Orphan’s wrongs and widowed woman’s Shall be righted by His hand. Then the poor man may declare All the violence he must bear. Penance here brings blessing there! That this land they do inherit Christians, Jews, and heathens claim. God adjudge it where the merit Lieth, in His threefold name! All the world strives here, we see; Yet we hold the rightful plea: God will grant it rightfully.
~ ○ ~
Works Cited & Multimedia Sources
- Minnehus für Musikstar des Mittelalters in Lajen https://minnehus.com/en/home.html
- “Walther von der Vogelweide”. Repertorium “Historical Sources of the German Middle Ages” (Geschichtsquellen des deutschen Mittelalters).
- A gemütlich Segregation – Multiculturalism and the Iceman’s Curse. https://fanuessays.blogspot.com/2011/12/gemutlich-segregation-multiculturalism.html
- Alison Phillips, W. (Walter Alison). Selected poems of Walther von der Vogelweide : the minnesinger by Walther, von der Vogelweide, 12th cent; , 1864-1950. https://archive.org/details/selectedpoemswa00philgoog
- Book review by Henry Walter Brann of Scheibe, Fred Karl, Walther von der Vogelweide, Troubadour of the Ages. His Life and His Reputation in the English-Speaking Countries. New York. 1969. On Jstor.
- Carmina Burana MS (M): Description — Digital facsimile (University Library, Munich)
- Free University of Berlin: Annotated links at the Wayback Machine (archived January 1, 2016)
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- Handschriftencensus: Walther von der Vogelweide
- Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (A): Description — Digital facsimile (University Library, Heidelberg)
- Kremsmünster, Stiftsbibl., Cod. 127 (N): Description
- Literature by and about Walther von der Vogelweide in the German National Library catalogue
- Münster Fragment (Z): Description — Digital facsimile (University Library, Jena)
- Not a Backlash, but a Multicultural Implosion fromWithin: Uncertainty and Crisis in the Case ofSouth Tyrol’s “Multiculturalism” https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=chess_easa
- Simplicissimus, Jg. 40, 1935, Heft 2, S. 24.
- The Chautauquan Literary and Scientific Circle. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/55112/55112-h/55112-h.htm
- The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Chautauquan, Vol. 04, December 1883, by
- Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. Germ. 848. Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse) — Zürich, ca. 1300 bis ca. 1340
- Walther von der Vogelweide, mural painting, Berwartstein Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
- Walther von der Vogelweide. Ausgewaehlte Werke. Selected Poems. http://www.tclt.org.uk/walther/Walther_2011.pdf
- Weingarten Manuscript (B): Description — Digital facsimile (Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart)
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