The happiness of Edenhall

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Illustration by F. Ingemay

The luck of Edenhall is a ballad composed in 1834by Ludwig Uhland .


At a festival, the young Lord of Edenhall challenges his luck by toasting the crystal-made drinking glass, which is called "Happiness of Edenhall" and which guarantees the happiness of the family (once a fairy gift). It splintered and the enemies of the castle who had entered the castle immediately seized the castle, the young lord fell, the broken luck in his hand .

The last two stanzas are:

In the morning the presenter wanders alone,
The old man, in the destroyed hall,
He is looking for the Lord's burned bones,
He is looking for the
shards of happiness from Edenhall in the horrific fall of rubble .

"The stone wall," he says, "jumps to pieces,
The tall column must fall,
Glass is the pride and happiness of the earth
, The ball of earth
once fell into splinters like the happiness of Edenhall."

The real " Luck of Edenhall ", a Syrian glass vessel from the 13th century, can still be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (it has been national property since 1958 and formerly belonged to the Musgrave family at Edenhall in Cumberland, England ). Already mentioned in a family will of the 17th century, it is described in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1791:

Tradition our only guide here, says that a party of Fairies were drinking and making merry round a well near the Hall, called St. Cuthbert's well; but being interrupted by the intrusion of some curious people, they were frightened, and made a hasty retreat, and left the cup in question: one of the last screaming out, If this cup should break or fall, Farewell the Luck of Edenhall.


The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translated Uhland's ballad into English. In its translation, the last two stanzas sound like this:

On the morrow the butler gropes alone,
The graybeard in the desert hall,
He seeks his Lord's burnt skeleton,
He seeks in the dismal ruin's fall
The shards of the Luck of Edenhall.

"The stone wall," saith he, "doth fall aside,
Down must the stately columns fall;
Glass is this earth's Luck and Pride;
In atoms shall fall this earthly ball
One day like the Luck of Edenhall!"


According to Uhland, Robert Schumann composed the choral ballad “The Happiness of Edenhall” for male voices, solos, choir and orchestra (op. 143) in 1853. Also Engelbert Humperdinck chose "Luck of Eden Hall" (1879-1883) the form of a chorus Ballad for a setting of.

Web links

Wikisource: The Happiness of Edenhall  - Sources and full texts