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Heinrich Frauenlob

Burial of the Minstrel Frauenlob
Nach dem Gemalde von R Bendemann

     The priest or, as some say, canon, in the old town of Mayence was a very worthy man, and at the same time a heaven-gifted singer. Besides devoting himself to science, he composed numerous pious verses which he dedicated to the Holy Virgin. He also played the harp, and wrote many beautiful songs in honour of the female sex.

     In contrast to many contemporary poets, he considered "woman" a higher title than "wife", which only signifies a married woman. So on account of the chivalry displayed in his numberless poems and songs, posterity gave him the name of "Frauenlob", under which title he is better known than under his own name of Heinrich of Meissen.

     The love and veneration which thankful women paid him was very great, not only during his life-time, but even more so after his death. Their grief was intense when it became known that the poet's voice would never more be heard in this world. It was agreed to honour him with such a burial as no poet had ever before received. The funeral procession moved slowly and Sorrowfully along the streets, the greater part of the cortege being women in deep mourning who prayed for the repose of the poet's soul. Eight of the most beautiful among them carried the coffin, which was covered with sweet-scented flowers.

     At the grave songs of lamentation were heard from women's gentle voices. Precious Rhine-wine which had been the poet's favourite drink, and which so often had inspired his poetry, was poured by hands of his admirers over his grave, so profusely, the legend relates, that the entrance of the church was flooded by the libation. But still more precious than all these gifts were the tears, which on this memorable day mere shed by many a gentle lady.

     The wanderer can still see the monument erected to this great benefactor in the cathedral at Mayence, which represents the figure of a beautiful woman in pure-white marble placing a wreath on the coffin of the great singer, who had honoured women in the most chivalrous of songs.

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