Footnote: Oswald von Wolkenstein
miniature ‘portraits’ of the poets in the Weingartner, as well as
the Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift are merely
typifications and do not represent realistic portraits. For accuracy’s
sake it ought to be mentioned that manuscript A also contains illustrations,
though no individual portrait of Oswald.
2Prussia, Lithuania, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark,
the Low Countries, France, Spain, England, Scottland, and as far away as
Arabia and Persia, to name a few.
3the Greeks (Greek Orthodox)
4Falber: a reddish-brown horse
6King Ruprecht (1400-1410) from the Palatinate
in whose ill-fated Italian campaign of 1401 Oswald supposedly participated;
Oswald served King Sigismund (1410-1437) on diplomatic missions to various
countries, including England and Scotland.
7ladinisch: Ladin, a distinct Romance
dialect spoken in southeastern Switzerland, northern Italy and the Tyrol.
8An indication that Oswald at least occasionally
9Brigantine: two-masted ship
11Queen Margareta of Aragon, born in the
Catalan town of Prades, the young widow of King Martin I of Aragon
12‘do not ever untie it’
13city in southern France where King Sigismund
was supposed to meet King Ferdinand I of Castile and Aragon and the
schismatic Pope Benedict XIII (Peter of Luna)
14halber Laienbruder: a Beghard,
that is a member of a lay brotherhood dating to the thirteenth century;
Oswald may be alluding here to his pilgrimage to the Holy Land (c.1409).
15Quentchen: slighest amount of
16that is, she insisted that he dress
in monastic garb ("Kutte" means cowl, a cloak with a hood; here,
the grey attire of pilgrims).
18Greek Island whose male population is
at sea most of the year
19that is, the one who loaded this all-too-heavy
burden on his shoulders
20ringen: to wring
21wüstes Treiben: riotous,
23im Raffen bin ich unersättlich:
my rapacious disposition knows no limits
24Hoffart: excessive pride
27eselsträge: lazy as a donkey;
hundescharf: envious like a dog
28schaff Gelegenheiten: encourage
others to commit sins.
29This may well be an allusion to
the so-called «Gravamina» which were, among others, complaints
by the peasants about the many kinds of abuse suffered at the hands of
noblemen. Note, however, that the original text has "armen" and not "gepawren."
30Inbrunst: religious ardor, piety
31das Sakrament: holy communion;
Ölung: extreme unction
32This clearly corroborates what was said
above in the introduction to this poem.
33Hussiten: the followers of the
Czech reformer and first president of the University of Prague Jan Hus.
Hus had condemned the practice of indulgences, private confession, the
hierarchy of the Church, monasticism, and the influence of German professors
at Czech universities and demanded communion under both species («Laienkelch»).
He was burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1415.
34die vier himmelschreienden Sünden:
the four most heinous sins mentioned in ll. 33-36: to spill innocent
blood, to suppress the peasants, to commit homosexual acts, and to cheat
35that is, the burden
36arpeggierend: ‘notes of a chord
played in quick succession instead of simultaneously’
37Wirkungskraft der Edelsteine:
magic/potency of precious stones
38Ostermacht: Easter mystery
40sacht: ever so gently
41Banta points out that "in medieval poetry
we are not told whether the beloved’s eyes are blue or green, large or
widely set, mischievous or creaming, but only that they are ‘luminous’"
(JEGP 66, 62).
42All the descriptive adjectives employed
her by Oswald to express erotic talk ("schmuslich": ‘nuzzling’; "koslich":
‘caressing’) are practically all hapax legomena, that is, words
that only appear once. The same holds true of the adjectives used
to describe the lady’s sensuous lips in l. 23. Kühn’s translation
superbly captures this mood.
43sehnsuchtsschwer: describes the
pain of yearning for one’s lover
44Ösilein: affectionate diminutive
45gurren: to coo, ‘purr’
46das gibt dem Affen Zucker: ‘that
makes me be wild about you ’