Medieval adventures
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The Chamberlains Daughter

By Dietrich von Sachsen, to the Tune of “Herr Mannelieg”


The winter sun has risen o’er this frosty moorland,
The white snow stained dark crimson;
Now I must rest awhile beside my fallen brothers,
And dream of the face of my loved one.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan,
And bear the black cross on my mantle.
If you could someday love a low, impoverished deinstmann*,
I’ll win your fair hand.

Well do I recall when mine eyes first chanced upon her,
The chamberlain’s beauteous daughter;
Her hair was like pale gold and her smile could melt the winter,
And eyes had she like fine Amber.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan…

My heart at once was captured -a fortress left unguarded-
By this most enchanting of damsels;
My verse and favours sent like tribute of the conquered,
All for the chance of one smile.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan…

How my heart did long to be wed unto my fair one,
Had I but wealth or a lordship;
But I of lowly birth, and she of noble bearing,
Her sire would hear naught of our courtship.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan…

Undaunted I rode north, the black cross on my shoulder,
I vowed ne’er return until knighted;
Her favour on my belt and a love-song on my lips,
I knew not what cruel fated awaited.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan…

We met with the foe on the steep banks of the Oda**,
Outnumbered we fought ‘gainst the heathen.
A foe’s spear pierced my side – my maille was rent asunder,
I fell to the ground with the fallen.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I go to fight the pagan…

The winter sun has risen o’er this frosty moorland,
The white snow stained dark crimson;
Now I must rest awhile beside my fallen brothers,
And dream of the face of my loved one.

Fair maiden, fair maiden, I’ve gone to fight the pagan,

And to win your hand I lie slain;
If you will someday think on the faith of this dienstmann
My love’s ne’er be in vain.


  • A Dienstmann is a serf who in the Holy Roman Empire was trained and equipped to fight as a knight, but was not himself a free man.

** The Oda river is a river that lies in the modern Czech Republic and Poland, where during the Prussian Crusade a force of 400 Teutonic Knights was ambushed and slain by the pagan Prussians.