“Alt Heidelberg, du feine” by Joseph Viktor von Scheffel

Alt-Heidelberg, du feine,

Du Stadt an Ehren reich,

Am Neckar und am Rheine

Kein’ andre kommt dir gleich.

Stadt fröhlicher Gesellen,

An Weisheit schwer und Wein,

Klar ziehn des Stromes Wellen,

Blauäuglein blitzen drein.

Und kommt aus lindem Süden

Der Frühling übers Land,

So webt er dir aus Blüten

Ein schimmernd Brautgewand.

Auch mir stehst du geschrieben

Ins Herz gleich einer Braut,

Es klingt wie junges Lieben

Dein Name mir so traut.

Und stechen mich die Dornen,

Und wird mir’s drauß zu kahl,

Geb’ ich dem Roß die Spornen

Und reit’ ins Neckartal.

Does someone recognize this opus?

This poem came into existence by the lawyer and author Joseph Viktor von Scheffel (1826 – 1886) approximately in the second half of the 19th century. J.V. von Scheffel was a keen fan of Heidelberg and wrote not just a few poems about this town. However, the poem “Alt Heidelberg, du feine” became famous as a song set to music by Simon Anton Zimmermann (1807 – 1876). For the first time the song was heard on the 13th march 1861 in the building of the Museum Society at the Ludwigsplatz, sang by four singers of the Court Opera House of Mannheim.

The poem or song shows very well the affection of the lyrical I for the town Heidelberg. Here are mentioned all advantages if the town: the good and wise company, the good wine, the beautiful landscape and nature, the wonderful rivers Neckar and Rhine.

Any Heidelberg admirer would probably be able to identify him- or herself with the lyrical I of the song.  And who actually would counter that Heidelberg is a beautiful town?

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