Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
   Ich möchte gerne klagen,
Wie alle Sinne glühen;
Ich weiß es nicht zu sagen,
Die Töne alle fliehen.
   Zerrissen find die Saiten
Auf meiner treuen Laute,
Kein Wort will sich bereiten,
Das dieses anvertraute.
   Gedanken sind Gestalten,
Ich möchte sie euch mahlen,
Doch etwas wird mich halten:
Wer kann das Leben mahlen?
   Auch führt' ich nie den Pinsel,
Ihr würdet nichts verstehen,
Verstehet mein Gewinsel
Und laßt mich hier nicht stehen.
   Doch fremd ist meine Sprache,
Versteht ihr auch nicht Blicke?
Ihr fühlt nur, wenn ich lache,
Und gebt nur das zurücke.
                      Der Grieche Iliades.


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

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Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), [adaptation] ; composed by Bettina von Arnim, née Brentano.

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Poet’s pain", subtitle: "The poet in a foreign land", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]
Poet’s pain
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
   I would dearly love to lament
How all my senses are burning;
I know not how to express it,
For all tones are fleeing from me.
   The strings upon my
Faithful lute are broken,
No words can be formed
That would convey this.
  Thoughts are figures,
I would like to paint them for you,
But something shall hold me back:
Who can paint life?
   Also, I never used a paintbrush,
You would understand nothing,
Comprehend my whimpering
And do not leave me standing here.
   But foreign is my language,
Do you not understand glances either?
You only feel it when I laugh,
And only give that [laughter] back to me.
                      The Greek Iliad.

Subtitle: "The poet in a foreign land"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 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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