|Under the linden,
down on the heath
that's where our bed was made.
There you'd find broken,
should you near that spot,
flowers and stem from underneath.
Down in the valley,
down by the wood,
you should have heard the nightingale!
My love was there awaiting.
And how he did receive me:
' lady, lady...'
Bliss, now bliss, bliss all the time.
A thousand kisses rained down on me
how red my mouth,
how scarlet my lips.
|Under Der Linden by Walther von der Vogelweide
|And there of blossoms,
a bed he made.
Now any would laugh who
passed by that way
if their glance were to stray,
in the roses you can see
where my head did lay,
see where he made love to me.
That he lay in bed by me,God,
should one find out
ashamed I'd be!
But none but we two shall know
the all of what we did,
nobody the sum, but him and me
and the nightingale,
but birds don't tell.
|The Manesse Codex and Walther von der Vogelweide
|The Manesse Codex or Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift is an illuminated manuscript in codex
form copied and illustrated with 137 miniatures between 1305-1340 in Zürich, compiled at the
request of the patriarchal Manesse family of Zürich. It contains the texts of love songs in Middle
High German by important poets, several of whom were famous rulers. The term for these poets,
Minnesänger, combines the words for "romantic love" and "singer", reflecting the poetry's content,
which adapted troubadour tradition to Germany. The entries are approximately ordered by the social
status of the poets, starting with the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich VI down through various dukes,
counts and knights to commoners.
After the Thirty Years War and the conquest of Heidelberg, the collection ended up for decades in
the library of the French scholar Jacques Dupuy who willed it to the king of France. Since 1657, it
was in the possession of the royal library in Paris until it found its way home to Heidelberg in 1888,
where it is now kept. One picture is of Herr Walther von der Vogelweide.
Walther von der Vogelweide, c. 1170-c.1230, was the most famous German medieval lyric poet.
From his name, it is assumed that he was of noble birth and some believe that he was from Tirol,
home to several noted Minnesingers of his time, although a farmhouse is mentioned 1556 as
“Vogelweidhof” and may have been in Lower Austria's Waldviertel. An ancient map shows a village
and a field marked “Vogelwaidt” with a related house of a village long deserted, and scholars found
evidence of the Christian name Walther in that region. In any case, the young poet probably learned
his craft under an old master and spent a happy part of his life in the hills. From there, he wandered
from court to court, singing for his lodging and his food, ever hoping to be saved from poverty by an
For a time, the enlightened Duke Friedrich I. of the house of Babenberg answered Walther's prayers.
The Duke had turned Vienna into a center of poetry and art and Vogelweide studied here under the
master Reinmar the Old. In Vienna, he produced spontaneous and passionate love-lyrics, but when
the Duke died in 1198, Walther again became an itinerant musician, wandering from court to court
singing for his food and lodging. An opinionated man, Walther was forced to leave several court jobs.
He spent time under Duke Bernhard of Carinthia, the landgrave of Thuringia, and Dietrich I of
Meissen where he complained that he had received neither money nor praise for his services. When
Emperor Henry VI 's death initiated a struggle between empire and papacy, Walther stood firmly on
the side of German unity and independence, and even though he was an ardent Catholic, he was
steadfastly opposed to the pope's extremism. When, in 1212, Friedrich II. became the sole
representative of German royalty against pope, Walther's enthusiasm for the empire was rewarded
with a small fief in Franconia.
This provided him with a home, but he did not stay long before moving again to Vienna. In or around
1224, after his stay in Vienna, he seems to have settled on his fief where he was active in urging the
German princes to take part in the crusade of 1228, and may have even gone as far as Tirol with the
crusading army. He died around 1230 at his fief. It is said that he had left wishes that upon his death
birds were to be fed daily at his tomb.
The original gravestone with its Latin inscription has long since disappeared; but in 1843 a new
monument was erected over the spot. There is also a statue of the poet at Bozen (Bolzano in Italian),
a small city located in the valley of the Etsch, which is the capital of South Tyrol, a mountainous
Austrian region now belonging to northern Italy, where the majority of the population consists of
German- speaking ethnic Austrians.