According to the Wikipedia article, Zelter was a friend of Goethe's. Composed 200 lieder, including settings of Goethe's poetry. Taught both Felix and Fanny Mendelsohn, communicated his love of Bach to Mendelsoh.
Ulricus + Friesische Hummel
Ulrich writes: "König von Thule" ist eine alte Balade von J.W.v Goethe.
Die "Friesische Hummel" ist ein altes Instrument entlang der Nordseeküste von Dänemark bis Westfriesland (NL). Replies to question: "This Hummel has a string length of 70 cm. The normal tuning is: c´c´ c´c´ f cc F . For this ballade I have the aeolian mode: b b c´c´ g cc C. In english term you woud write bb bb c´etc."
Der König in Thule (voice & harp)
sandman21283 on YouTube: vocals and harp by myself (Nighttime Bird): "Der König in Thule" is a poem written by famous German author J.W. von Goethe in 1774. It is recited by Gretchen in Goethe's Faust and has also been set to music by various composers. Here you find a version done by C.F. Zelter. You'll find this song in many traditional songbooks today as it is quite famous. It was one of the first songs I sang within my classical voice training and I love it. To break the song's content down to a few sentences: It is about a king in Thule who receives a golden cup (or goblet) from his dying lover. He keeps this cup as a keepsake from his beloved one until he tosses it into the sea a short time before he dies himself- so not necessarily a happy song. ;)
Es war ein König in Thule (Goethe/Zelter), instrumental on mandolin and tenor guitar
mj10008 on YouTube: Having already recorded this piece on solo tenor guitar, I have now made a somewhat fuller arrangement, played as a duet of mandolin (melody) and tenor guitar (harmony). The instruments used are my 1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin and my Ozark tenor guitar, tuned GDAE.
This is one of several musical settings of a poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1774. This particular tune was written in 1814 by Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832). The poem attracted high caliber composers: there are other musical settings for the same words by Schubert, Berlioz, Liszt and Schumann, among others. Nevertheless, Zelter's tune is the best-known one and is still widely sung as a folk song in Germany.