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Ännchen von Tharau (Englisch)

Annie of Tharau

Annie of Tharau is the one I do love.

She is my life, my riches above.

Annie of Tharau her heart once again,

Has given to me in love and in pain.

Annie of Tharau, my most precious bud.

You are my soul, my flesh and my blood.

In all kinds of hail and stormy weather,

You and I, we shall stand together.

Neither sickness, nor suffering, sorrow or pain,

Shall ever be able to part us again.

Annie of Tharau, as the sun you do shine,

And my life with yours I gladly entwine.

Just as a palm tree grows stronger and tougher,

The more rain and hail it has to suffer.

So our love grows as a mustard seed,

Weathering the cross, suffering and need.

Annie of Tharau, my most precious bud,

You are my soul, my flesh and my blood.

If you were forced from me to run,

Had to live where there is no sun.

I would follow through forests and over the seas,

Through ice and iron and armies of enemies.

What I ask, you lovingly do.

What I forbid, you respect that, too.

How can love stand and not be torn apart,

Where lovers do not speak with one mouth and one heart?

Where instead they bite, they quarrel and hurt,

And behave like cats and dogs in the dirt.

Annie of Tharau, that’s not for us, my love.

You are my lamb, my chick, my dove.

All my desires you guard with your life.

I shall be your husband and you my wife.

O, dearest Annie, my sweet resting pole,

When wed, we’ll be one body, one soul.

Then life will be one heavenly bliss,

And not, as in anger, a fiery abyss.


Background to the song

Anna Neander, daughter of the village pastor, Andreas Martin Neander, in Tharau (Vladimorovo), was born there in 1619 and baptised in the village church. Tharau lies some 4 km to the west of the main Königsberg to Preussisch-Eylau road on a level with Wittenberg (Nivenskoe). Anna Neander lived for 36 years in Laukischken (Strankoe) and was the wife of 3 pastors of that parish, Portatius, Grube and Beilstein. She outlived all three of her husbands. She then moved to Insterburg to live with her son. She died there and was buried in the local cemetery. A memorial stone in a Park in Insterburg reminds us of her to this day.

The song comprises 17 verses and was originally written in a Low German dialect. The author is believed to have been a certain Simon Dach, poet and then professor of poetry at the University of Königsberg. He was born in Memel on July 27th, 1605 as the son of a court translator. He died on April 14th, 1659 in Königsberg.

It is said that Simon Dach met Annie on a ferry. Her beauty inspired him to write the poem for Anne’s wedding with Pastor Portatius. The poem was later translated into High German by the East Prussian Johann Gottfried Herder and set to music by Heinrich Albert, composer and organist of the Königsberg Cathedral. He was a friend of Simon Dach.


Version from Henry W. Longfellow Quelle: (Suchbegriff: Annie of Tharaw)
l Translated from German to English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882),
“Annie of Tharaw” (1845) based on the German text by Simon Dach (1605-1659)

Annie of Tharaw

Annie of Tharaw, my true love of old,

She is my life, and my goods, and my gold.

Annie of Tharaw, her heart once again

To me has surrendered in joy and in pain.

Annie of Tharaw, my riches, my good,

Thou, O my soul, my flesh, and my blood!

Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow,

We will stand by each other, however it blow.

Oppression, and sickness, and sorrow, and pain

Shall be to our true love as links to the chain.

As the palm-tree standeth so straight and so tall,

The more the hail beats, and the more the rains fall,

So love in our hearts shall grow mighty and strong,

Through crosses, through sorrows, through manifold wrong.

Shouldst thou be torn from me to wander alone

In a desolate land where the sun is scarce known,

Through forests I'll follow, and where the sea flows,

Through ice, and through iron, through armies of foes,

Annie of Tharaw, my light and my sun,

The threads of our two lives are woven in one.

Whate'er I have bidden thee thou hast obeyed,

Whatever forbidden thou hast not gainsaid.

How in the turmoil of life can love stand,

Where there is not one heart, and one mouth, and one hand?

Some seek for dissension, and trouble, and strife;

Like a dog and a cat live such man and wife.

Annie of Tharaw, such is not our love;

Thou art my lambkin, my chick, and my dove.

Whate'er my desire is, in thine may be seen;

I am king of the household, and thou art its queen.

It is this, O my Annie, my heart's sweetest rest,

That makes of us twain but one soul in one breast.

This turns to a heaven the hut where we dwell;

While wrangling soon changes a home to a hell.