Who rides, so late, through wind and night?

It is the father with his child.

He has the boy well in his arm,

he holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

“My son, what makes you keep your face hid?”

“Father, do you not see Der Erlkönig,

the Elf King with crown and robe?”

“My son, it is but a wisp of fog.”

“You lovely child, come, go with me!

Such wonderful games I will play with thee;

on the shore await many colorful florets,

my mother has many golden garments.”

“My father, my father, and you hear not

what King of Erlen is promising me in quiet?”

“Be calm, stay calm, my child;

through withered leaves wind makes a soft sound.”

“Will you, dear boy, come with me?

My daughters shall wait nicely on thee;

my daughters rule the nightly Rhein river,

and rock you to sleep while they dance and quaver.”

“My father, my father, and there you see not

Elf King’s daughters in their gloomy spot?”

“My son, my son, I see them beyond doubt:

The old willows, they shimmer so grey and overcast.”

“I love you; your beautiful form entices me;

and if you are not willing, then I need to force thee.”

“My father, my father, he seizes me now!

Erl King has done me some harm!”

The father shudders; he rides wild,

in his armful he holds the moaning child,

reaches the hamlet toiled and upset;

within his arms, the child was dead.


Der Erlkönig, Schubert.