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Anke van Tharaw (Annchen von Tharau)

  • Country in which the text is set
    Germany
  • Featured locations

    Tharau (Vladimirovo-Wladimirowo-Влади́мирово-Toraw-Toruva-Tharaw)

  • Impact

    This “role poem” presents the voice of a bridegroom in East Prussian Low German, i.e. not in the Low German of the Hanseatic merchants that constituted the lingua franca of the Baltic Sea region but in the local vernacular as the language of everyday life and the heart. Such popular verses provide a contrast to the courtly rhetoric of the numerous occasional poems written for the court of the Prussian Elector.
    “Anke van Tharaw” was translated by J. G. Herder (1744―1803) from East Prussian Low German into High German and published in his famous anthology “Voices of the People in their Songs” under the title “Annchen von Tharau” in 1778. This marked the beginning of the poem’s rise to popularity. In 1806, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano included it in their collection of folk songs, “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” reducing it to the last seven patriarchal rhyming pairs and re-titling it “The Palm Tree”. This version was set to music by Friedrich Silcher in 1827 and was subsequently sung frequently in schools, by university students, clubs and choirs. It was not until 1973 that a folk-song scholar wrote that the song “unquestionably belongs to a sphere of experience light years from our own.” (Lutz Röhrich).

    Hans Peter Neureuter

  • Balticness

    Dach’s poems comment on literary life in Königsberg and the way it responded and contributed to the development to European Humanism and the Renaissance in the form of a down-to-earth “burgher baroque” style marked by certain touches of ‘local colour.’

  • Bibliographic information

    1. "Anke van Tharaw" in: Alfred Kelletat (ed.), Simon Dach und der Königsberger Dichterkreis, Stuttgart (Reclam, RUB 8281), 1986, 13f. “Annchen von Tharau“ in Kelletat, 16f. “Anke van Tharaw” was published anonymously in the fifth volume of Heinrich Albert’s “Arien” in 1642 under the title “Treue Lieb‘ ist jederzeit / Zu gehorsamen bereit”, comprising two lines from another poem by Dach. “Anke van Tharaw” was probably written as a wedding song for Dach’s student friend, the pastor Johannes Portatius, who married a pastor’s daughter called Anke Neander from Tharau in 1636.

  • Translations
    English English 1845 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  
    Lithuanian Lietuviski 2005 V. Blinckevičius  
    Russian русский 1977 Lev Ginsburg  
    Russian русский 1992 Sem Simkin  
    Russian русский   Alexej Gubin  
    Polish Polski 1987 Jerzy Litwiniuk  
    Polish Polski 1999 Andrzej Kopacki
  • Year of first publication
    1642
  • Place of first publication
    Königsberg

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