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Die Ulme zu Hirsau

Language: German (Deutsch)

Zu Hirsau in den Trümmern 
Da wiegt ein Ulmenbaum
Frisch grünend seine Krone 
Hoch überm Giebelsaum.

Er wurzelt tief im Grunde 
Vom alten Klosterbau;
Er wölbt sich statt des Daches 
Hinaus in Himmelsblau.

Weil des Gemäuers Enge 
Ihm Luft und Sonne nahm,
So trieb's ihn hoch und höher, 
Bis er zum Lichte kam.

Es ragen die vier Wände, 
Als ob sie nur bestimmt,
Den kühnen Wuchs zu schirmen, 
Der zu den Wolken klimmt.

Wenn dort im grünen Tale 
Ich einsam mich erging,
Die Ulme war's, die hehre, 
Woran mein Sinnen hing.

Wenn in dem dumpfen, stummen 
Getrümmer ich gelauscht,
Da hat ihr reger Wipfel 
Im Windesflug gerauscht.

Ich sah ihn oft erglühn 
Im ersten Morgenstrahl;
Ich sah ihn noch erleuchtet, 
[Wann]1 schattig rings das Tal.

Zu Wittenberg im Kloster 
Wuchs auch ein solcher Strauß
Und brach mit Riesenästen 
Zum Klausedach hinaus.

O Strahl des Lichts, du [dringest]2
Hinab in jede Gruft.
O Geist der Welt, du ringest 
Hinauf in Licht und Luft.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "wenn"
2 Strauss: "dringst"

Submitted by Alberto Pedrotti


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title 1: "L'orme d'Hirsau", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "The elm of Hirsau", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:52
Line count: 36
Word count: 162

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The elm of Hirsau

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

In the ruins at Hirsau
The crown of an elm tree,
Fresh with new green, sways
High above the margin of the gables.

The elm is rooted deep in the earth
Of an old abbey;
In place of an abbey roof it arches
Itself out into the blue of heaven.

Because the constraints of the masonry
Robbed [the elm] of air and sunshine,
It was driven high and higher,
Until it reached the light.

The four walls stand
As if they were solely destined
To protect the valiant growth [of the elm]
That aspires to the clouds.

When there in the green valley
I roamed on my solitary walks,
It was the elm, the noble one,
On which my thoughts dwelt.

When in the gloomy, mute
Ruins I [sat and] listened,
Then its animated treetop
Soughed in the wake of the wind.

I often saw it beginning to glow
In the first sunbeams of morning;
I saw it still illumined
When the valley round about was already in shadow.

In Wittenberg in the abbey
There, too, grew such a tree
And with its giant branches
It broke through the ceiling of its cell.

Oh beam of light, you penetrate
Down into every dark place.
Oh spirit of the world, you struggle
Upward toward light and air.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on


Text added to the website: 2014-05-26.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:34
Line count: 36
Word count: 216