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The LiederNet Archive

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Der gefangene Admiral

Language: German (Deutsch)

's sind heute dreiunddreißig Jahr,
daß ich kein Segel sah, 
es steht der Turm unwandelbar,
die Kett' ist ewig da.

Sie haben gemauert mich, den Delphin,
in lichtlos Felsgestein,
und unerreichbar über ihn
ein kleines Fensterlein.

Nicht daß ich fern von Licht und Tag,
macht mir das Herz so schwer, 
als daß ich dich nicht zu schauen vermag,
du heil'ges blaues Meer!

Ich höre nicht wie die Brandung rollt
und keiner Möve Geschrill,
und wenn die Kette nicht rasseln wollt',
wär' alles grabesstill.

Sie bauten fern vom Meer den Turm,
wo keine Woge prallt,
kein Bootsmann pfeift und pfeift kein Sturm,
kein Schuß den Sturm durchschallt.

Nicht daß man in schweigende Nacht mich warf,
macht mir das Herz so schwer,
als daß ich dich nicht hören darf,
du tiefaufdonnerndes Meer.

Mein greises Gebein ist schwer und leer,
mein Leib wird nimmer heil,
die Faust schwingt keine Lunte mehr
und nimmer das Enterbeil.

Die große Flagge auf den Mast!
die Breitseit' laßet seh'n!
und Jungens, wen auf's Korn ihr faßt,
der Teufel hole den.

Nicht daß ich verwelk' in Haft und Bann,
macht mir das Herz so schwer,
als daß ich auf dir nicht fechten kann,
du kampferschüttertes Meer!

Drauf und dran geentert keck,
und feuert noch einmal!
He, Schiff an Schiff und Deck an Deck,
und ich der Admiral!

O fiel' ich doch im Kugelgezisch!
Hier lieg' ich siech und wund,
hinschmachtend wie im Sand ein Fisch
und sterbend wie ein Hund!

Nicht daß ich sterbe Zoll unm Zoll,
macht mir das Herz so schwer,
als daß ich auf dir nicht sterben soll,
du oft bezwungenes Meer.

Die Flügel hängt das Schiff im Leid,
ein schwarzverwitwetes Weib,
die Flagge deckt als Sterbekleid
den toten Heldenleib.

Er sinkt ins Meer vom Schiffesrand,
das bebt voll heil'ger Scheu,
mich aber scharren sie in den Sand 
und schießen nicht 'mal dabei!

Nicht daß mein Leben hier verrann,
macht mir das Herz so schwer,
als daß ich in dir nicht schlafen kann,
du Heldengrab, o Meer.

Translation(s): ENG FRE ITA

List of language codes

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Iain Sneddon) , "The Captured Admiral", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "L'amiral emprisonné", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "L'ammiraglio prigioniero", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:51

Line count: 60
Word count: 332

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The Captured Admiral

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

It was thirty-three years ago today,
since I saw any sail,
the tower is unchanged,
the chain is always there.

They have imprisoned me like a Dolphin,
in a lightless, dark-stoned cell
and, unreachable high above,
a tiny window.

It is not that I'm far from light and day
that makes my heart so heavy
but that I cannot see you;
sacred blue sea!

I do not hear the rolling breakers
and no seagull cries,
and if the chain didn’t rattle,
it would be as silent as the grave.

They built the tower far from the sea,
where no waves crash,
no boatswain whistles and no whistling storm,
no gunshot resounds through the storm.

It is not that you threw me into this silent night,
that makes my heart so heavy
but that I may not hear you;
deep-thunderous sea.

My old bones are heavy and hollow,
my body will never heal,
this fist shall swing a fuse no more
and never more the boarding axe.

Hoist the main flag on the mast!
let’s see the broadside!
and boys, on whom you fix your aim
send them down to the devil.

It is not that I write in captivity
that makes my heart so heavy
but that I cannot fight on you;
battle-shaken sea!

Aft and forward, board them boldly
and open fire again!
Hey! Ship against ship and deck to deck,
and me the Admiral!

Oh, if only I fell amongst hissing bullets!
Here I lie, sick and sore,
beached like a fish on the sand
and dying like a dog!

It is not that I'm going to die bit by bit
that makes my heart so heavy
but that I should not die on you;
frequently conquered sea.

The sails hang sorrowfully from the ship,
like a black-clothed widow,
the flag, as a shroud, covers
the hero's dead body.

From the side of the ship he sinks into the sea,
which trembles with holy modesty,
but they will bury me in the sand
and will not fire a salute.

It is not that my life is passing here
that makes my heart so heavy
but that I cannot sleep in you;
O sea, a hero's grave.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 by Iain Sneddon, (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: 2019-05-10 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2019-05-10 10:44:26

Line count: 60
Word count: 368