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The LiederNet Archive

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I asked nothing from thee

Language: English after the Bangla (Bengali)

I asked nothing from thee; 
I uttered not my name to thine ear. 
When thou took'st thy leave I stood silent. 
I was alone by the well 
where the shadow of the tree fell aslant, 
and the women had gone home 
with their brown earthen pitchers full to the brim. 
They called me and shouted, 
'Come with us, the morning is wearing on to noon.' 
But I languidly lingered awhile 
lost in the midst of vague musings.

I heard not thy steps as thou camest. 
Thine eyes were sad when they fell on me; 
thy voice was tired as thou spokest low - 
'Ah, I am a thirsty traveller.' 
I started up from my day-dreams 
and poured water from my jar 
on thy joined palms. 
The leaves rustled overhead; 
the cuckoo sang from the unseen dark, 
and perfume of babla flowers 
came from the bend of the road.

I stood speecess with shame 
when my name thou didst ask. 
Indeed, what had I done for thee 
to keep me in remembrance? 
But the memory that I could give water to thee 
to allay thy thirst will cling to my heart 
and enfold it in sweetness. 
The morning hour is late, 
the bird sings in weary notes, 
neem leaves rustle overhead 
and I sit and think and think.

Translation(s): DUT FRE GER

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Based on

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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Dutch (Nederlands), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ENG GER ; composed by Frans Louis Wiemans.
  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by André Gide (1869 - 1951) , no title, appears in Gitanjali (L'Offrande lyrique), first published 1914 ENG GER ; composed by Elsa Barraine.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Das welterfüllende Licht", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2010-11-03 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-23 16:31:51

Line count: 33
Word count: 217

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Das welterfüllende Licht

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Nichts habe ich von dir erbeten, 
und meinen Namen bracht’ ich dir nicht zu Gehör.
Als du nahmst Abschied von mir, stand ich stumm.
Ich war allein am Brunnen, 
auf den ein Baum quer seinen Schatten wirft.
Die Frauen waren schon nach Haus gegangen 
mit ihren braunen, irdnen Krügen bis zum Rand gefüllt.
Laut riefen sie mir zu: 
„Komm mit uns! Der Morgen schreitet auf den Mittag zu.“
Doch ich verweilte träg 
in unbestimmter Grübelei verloren.

Ich hörte deinen Schritt nicht, als du nahtest. 
Dein Blick war traurig,
als er auf mich fiel, 
und deine Stimme müde, als du leise sprachst:
„Ein durst’ger Wand’rer bin ich, ach.“ 
Ich fuhr aus meinem Tagtraum hoch,
und über deine Hände goss ich Wasser aus dem Krug.
Ein Säuseln über uns im Laub; 
der Kuckuck sang im dunklen Hain verborgen,
der Duft der Bablablüten kam von dorther, 
wo der Weg sich krümmt.

Beschämt und sprachlos stand ich, 
als nach meinem Namen du mich fragtest.
Was hatt’ ich denn für dich getan, 
dass meiner du gedenkst?
Doch die Erinn’rung, dass ich dir konnt’ Wasser geben,
zu stillen deinen Durst, 
wird sich ins Herz mir schmiegen und liebreich es umfangen.
Es ist schon spät am Morgen, 
ermattet singt der Vogel,
das Laub des Niembaums säuselt über mir, 
ich sitz’ und sinne, sinne.

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 English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2014 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
Based on


Text added to the website: 2014-06-23 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-23 16:34:03

Line count: 33
Word count: 216