A king there was in Thule (Robert Lucas Pearsall)

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  • (Posted 2019-12-12)  CPDL #56246:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2019-12-12).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 72 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score.

General Information

Title: A king there was in Thule

Composer: Robert Lucas Pearsall
Lyricist: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (unidentified translator)

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1878 in Novello's Part-Song Book (2nd series), Vol. 11, no. 316

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

A king there was in Thule,
Right faithful to the grave,
To whom his dying true love
A golden goblet gave.

He drank out of none other,
So high he did it prize;
He never raised it to his lips
But tears came to his eyes.

At length, when he was dying,
His riches he cast up,
And gave them to his heritors,
But would not give the cup.

He sat him down at table,
With all his chivalry,
High in his father's castle hall
That overhung the sea.

Before the aged toper
His parting draft did glow,
He drank it off, and sent the cup
To greet the flood below.

He saw it fall and vanish
Amid the foaming main,
His eyes he shut as if in sleep,
And never drank again.

Original text and translations may be found at Es war ein König in Thule.