Digital Tradition Mirror

The Erl-King

The Erl-King
(Steve Gillette)
 from The poem by Goethe

Who rides through the night so dark and wild?
The father rides with his own fearful child.
The boy he holds so close in his arms
He guards him safely, he keeps him warm.
  Why do you hide your face as in fear?
  Father, don't you see, the Erl King is here?
  He calls to me with a crown and a shroud
  No, my son, that's nothing but a passing cloud.

The Erl King beckons to the terrified boy,
You must come with me.
I'll give you jewels and wealth untold,
You'll walk in robes of bright and shining gold.
  Father, father, do you not hear
  The Erl King whispering low in my ear.
  Hush now and rest ye, it's nothing my child
  But the trees in the night wind playing their melody wild.

The Erl King says, oh, come with me
And my own fair daughters will wait on thee.
A heavenly vigil o'er your cradle they'll keep
And tenderly sing and rock you to sleep.
  Father, father, see them there
  The Erl King's daughters with bright shining hair.
  No, my son, there are no fair maids
  Nothing but the willow that wave in the glade.

Clutching the reins in his trembling hands
With pain and dispair that he can't understand.
Alone on the road with the stars overhead
Fearful and hopeless, the boy in his arms is dead.
  To the trees in the nightwind he cries aloud
  He seeks out the face of death in every passing cloud
  Down in the meadow where the boys grave is laid
  Nothing but the willow that wave in the glade.

  Nothing but the willow that wave in the glade.

Copyright 1966, Cherry Lane Music, ASCAP, Used by permission

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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