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Die frühe Liebe

Language: German (Deutsch)

[Schon im bunten Knabenkleide]1,
Pflegten hübsche Mägdelein
Meine liebste Augenweide,
Mehr als Pupp' und Ball, zu sein.

Ich vergaß der Vogelnester,
Warf mein Steckenpferd ins Gras,
Wenn am Baum bei meiner Schwester
Eine schöne Dirne saß;

Freute mich der muntern Dirne,
Ihres rothen Wangenpaars,
Ihres Mundes, ihrer Stirne,
Ihres blonden Lockenhaars;

[Blickt' auf Busentuch und Mieder,
Hinterwärts gelehnt am Baum;
Streckte dann ins Gras mich nieder,
Dicht an ihres Kleides Saum.]2

Was ich weiland that als Knabe,
Werd' ich wahrlich immer thun,
Bis ich werd' im kühlen Grabe
Neben meinen Vätern ruhn.

Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

List of language codes

F. Schubert sets stanzas 1-4

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Ludewig Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Besorgt durch seine Freunde Friederich Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg und Johann Heinrich Voß. Carlsruhe, bey Christian Gottlieb Schmieder, 1784, pages 142-143; and with Poetische Blumenlese für das Jahr 1777. Herausgegeben von Joh. Heinr. Voß. Hamburg, bey Carl Ernst Bohn, page 166.

This is the version of Hölty's poem heavily reworked by Voß. For the original version, with the title Minnehuldigung, see below.

1 Hölty/Voß (Musenalmanach 1777): "Seit dem ersten Flügelkleide"
2 Hölty/Voß (Musenalmanach 1777):
Immer beym Kalmäusern fielen
Mir die Dirnen ein, und frisch
Warf ich Cäsarn und Virgilen
Und den Donat untern Tisch.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]


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

Another version of this text exists in the database.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "L’amor primerenc", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Vroege liefde", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Young love", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Amour précoce", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2017-07-29 01:33:03

Line count: 20
Word count: 92

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Young love

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Even when [I wore] the bright clothes of a boy,
Pretty maidens were
My preferred eye candy,
Rather than dolls or balls.

I forgot [about] bird’s nests,
Threw my stick horse on the lawn,
Whenever a bonny lass sat
Next to my sister, under a tree.

I was thrilled by the merry lass,
By her rosy cheeks,
Her mouth, her forehead,
Her blonde curls.

I would gaze at her blouse and bodice,
As she leaned against the tree;
Then I'd stretch out on the grass,
Close to the hem of her dress.

(What I did in olden times as a boy,
I’d really always [prefer to] do,
Until I find myself in a cold grave
Resting next to my fathers.)

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 © 2015 by Laura Prichard, (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
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty (1748 - 1776), "Die frühe Liebe", written 1773, first published 1777 CAT DUT FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Georg Christoph Grossheim, Antonio Rosetti, né Anton Rösler, as Anton Rösler, Franz Peter Schubert. Go to the text.
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Johann Heinrich Voss (1751 - 1826), "Die frühe Liebe", written 1773, first published 1777 CAT DUT FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Georg Christoph Grossheim, Antonio Rosetti, né Anton Rösler, as Anton Rösler, Franz Peter Schubert. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2015-12-29 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2015-12-29 18:10:24

Line count: 20
Word count: 120