The return of the legend: after 800 years the Weißenburg Ballade returns to Zscheiplitz

We are pleased to present an extraordinary, early medieval Weißenburg Ballade from the collection of Dr. Axel Ernst Hesse.

Below are the scans of the original article published in 1985. It contains not only the text and the music of the Ballade, but also the story of its creation and dissemination across the German-speaking lands of Central Europe.

We make this publication with the kind permission of Dr. Hesse and with our deepest gratitude to him for his gigantic effort to preserve our heritage. Thanks to Dr. Hesse after almost 800 years the Weißenburg Ballade is returning to Zscheiplitz!

Ensemble Unicorn performs a song of Walther von der Vogelweide (c1170-1230) “Nu alrest lebe ich mir werde…”, composed to commemorate the heroes of early Crusades.

English translation

Now, for the first time, do I live worthily
since my sinful eye saw
the Holy Land and the soil
which is praised so highly.
That which I have prayed for has happened
I have come to the place
where God walked as man.

O beauteous land, rich and noble,
over all that which I have seen before
are you the crowning glory.
What for miracles have happened here!
That a maiden bore a child
a Lord over all the ranks of angels,
was that not a miracle most rightly?

Here he let himself be baptized
so that mankind be purified;
there he let himself be betrayed
so that we would be free.
Otherwise we would have been lost;
To your salvation – spear, cross and thorn!
O woe ye pagans, wrath shall descend upon you!

After he had shamed the devil
which no emperor could have done better
he then returned to the world:
Then arose the Jews suffering
that he the Lord broke their seals
and that he was seen alive among man,
he whom their hands had struck and stabbed.

Christians, Jews and Pagans (‘Saracens’)
say this (land) is their inheritance.
God should righteously decide this
in the name of his Trinity.
The entire world battles here:
we however have the righteous claim!
right is that he acknowledge us!



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