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German song of the Crusades

"Palästinalied" – "Song of Palestine" – is a German song dating back to the early Crusades. The singer is a crusader who finally lays eyes on the Holy Land, the soil upon which God walked among men. What land could compare to the place where Christ lived in the flesh, worked miracles and preached? What glories could other lands have compared to the terrestrial homeland of God?

Palästinalied was composed by the 13th century poet Walther von der Vogelweide, possibly the greatest of German poets. His works, remarkably well-preserved, offer a rare glimpse into the lyricism of 13th century Europe. It is here performed by James Bowman & The Early Music Consort of London.

Listen to Palästinalied


Allerrêrst 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.

Schöniu 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?

English translation:

For the first time I live worthily,
Since my sinful eyes have seen,
The noble land and those places,
To which so much honor is given.
Now my prayers have been heard:
I have come to the place,
Where God Incarnate walked.

Oh fair land, rich and noble,
Among the many lands I have ever seen,
You are the crown of them all.
What miracles have come to pass here.
A Virgin gave birth to a Child,
Who was Lord over the armies of Angels,
Was this not the greatest miracle?

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