Eckehart and the Naked Babe | Harper's Magazine

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Eckehart and the Naked Babe

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van-eyck1

Meister Eckehart bekan ein schoner nackender buobe.
Da fragt er in, wannen er kem?
Er sprach: ich kum von got.
Wo lieze du in?
In tugenthaftem herzen.
Wor wiltu?
Zuo got!
Wo findest du in?
Da
ich alle creature liez.
We bistu?
Ein kunig.
Wo ist din kunigrich?
In meinem herzen.
Hute, das ez ieman mit dir besitze!
Ich tun.
Da furt er in in sin celle: nim welchen rok du wilt!
Sa wer ich nit ein kunig!
Und verswant.
Da was ez got selber het dam it im kurzewilt.

Meister Eckehart came upon a beautiful, naked babe.
And he asked him, from whence he came?
He said: “I come from God.”
“Where do you leave him?”
“In my virtuous heart.”
“Whither do you go?”
“To God!”
“Where will you find him?”
“Where I am left by all creatures.”
“Who are you?”
“A king.”
“Where is your kingdom?”
“In my heart.”
“Take care that no one lays hold of it along with you!”
“I will do so.”
And then he went into his cell and said, “Take what cloak you will have.”
“But then I would be no king!”
And disappeared.
But it was God himself, pursuing his amusement with him.

–Middle High German Legend, ca. 1300 in: Deutsche Dichtung des Mittelalters, p. 899 (F. v.d. Leyen, ed. 1962)(S.H. transl.)

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