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Wie die Nacht mit heil'gem Beben

Language: German (Deutsch)

Wie die Nacht mit heil'gem Beben
Auf der stillen Erde liegt!
Wie sie sanft der Seele Streben,
Üpp'ge Kraft und volles Leben
In den süßen Schlummer wiegt.

   Aber mit ewig neuen Schmerzen
   Regt sich die Sehnsucht in meiner Brust.
   Schlummern auch alle Gefühle im Herzen,
   Schweigt in der Seele Qual und Lust: -
   Sehnsucht der Liebe schlummert nie,
   Sehnsucht der Liebe wacht spät und früh.

Leis', wie Äols-Harfentöne
Weh't ein sanfter Hauch mich an,
Hold und freundlich glänzt Selene,
Und in milder geist'ger Schöne
Geht die Nacht die stille Bahn.

   [Aber auf kühnen stürmischen Wegen
   [Führt]1 die Liebe den trunkenen Sinn.
   Wie alle Kräfte gewaltig sich regen!]2
   Ach! und die Ruhe der Brust ist dahin:
   Sehnsucht der Liebe schlummert nie,
   Sehnsucht der Liebe wacht spät und früh.

Tief, im süßen heil'gen Schweigen
Ruht die Welt, und athmet kaum.
Und die schönsten Bilder steigen
Aus des Lebens [bunten]3 Reigen,
Und lebendig wird der Traum.

   Aber auch in des Traumes Gestalten
   Winkt mir die Sehnsucht, die schmerzliche, zu,
   Und ohn' Erbarmen, mit tiefen Gewalten
   Stört sie das Herz aus der wonnigen Ruh:
   Sehnsucht der Liebe schlummert nie,
   Sehnsucht der Liebe wacht spät und früh.

So entschwebt der Kreis der Horen,
Bis der Tag im Osten graut.
Da erhebt sich, neugeboren,
Aus des Morgens Rosen-Thoren,
Glühendhell die Himmels-Braut.

   Aber die Sehnsucht [in meinem]4 Herzen
   Ist mit dem Morgen nur stärker erwacht.
   Ewig verjüngen sich meine Schmerzen,
   Quälen den Tag, und quälen die Nacht:
   Sehnsucht der Liebe schlummert nie,
   Sehnsucht der Liebe wacht spät und früh.

Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG FRE

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Confirmed with Knospen von Theodor Körner. Leipzig bei Georg Joachim Göschen. 1810, pages 108-110; with Theodor Körner's Gedichte. [Erster Theil.] Neueste Auflage. Wien 1815. Bey B. Ph. Bauer, pages 81-83; and with Theodor Körners vermischte Gedichte und Erzählungen (poetischer Nachlass). Wien, 1815. In der Haasschen Buchhandlung, pages 44-46.

1 Zumsteeg: "Führet"
2 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe):
Aber ein kühnes, stürmisches Leben
Schenket die Liebe dem trunkenen Sinn,
Deutlicher seh' ich dein Bild mir entschweben,
3 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe): "buntem"
4 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe): "nach dir im"

Submitted by Richard Morris 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)

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Desig d’amor", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Liefdeshonger", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Longing of love", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Love's longing", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Désir d'amour", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-06-23 06:02:14
Line count: 44
Word count: 252

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Love's longing

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

How the night makes a holy trembling
As it lies on the quiet Earth!
How gently it takes the soul's striving,
Sumptuous strength and full life
And rocks it into a sweet sleep!
But with endlessly new pains
Longing stirs in my breast.
Even if all feelings are asleep in the heart,
And if agony and joy are silent in the soul:

Love's longing never sleeps,
Love's longing is awake late and early.

Quietly, like the notes of an Aeolian harp,
A gentle breath is blowing towards me.
Selene shines sweetly and in a friendly way,
And in gentle, spiritual beauty
Night goes on its quiet way.
But a bold, stormy life
Is what love gives to a drunken mind.
More clearly I can see your image floating away from me.
Oh! and the calm of my breast has gone!
Love's longing never sleeps,
Love's longing is awake late and early.

Deep in sweet, holy silence
The world is at rest and hardly breathes,
And the most beautiful images rise
Out of life's bright dances,
And the dream comes alive.
But even in the forms of dreams,
Longing, so painful, signals to me,
And without mercy, with deep force,
It disturbs the heart, pulling it out of its blissful peace.
Love's longing never sleeps,
Love's longing is awake late and early.

Thus the cycle of the hours floats by
Until day dawns with a grey light in the East.
There emerges, new born,
Out of the morning's rose-pink gates,
The bride of heaven, glowing brightly.
But longing for you in my heart
Has awoken even more strongly with the morning;
My pains are eternally rejuvenated,
Tormenting me by day, tormenting me by night.
Love's longing never sleeps,
Love's longing is awake late and early.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Malcolm Wren, (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 (Karl) Theodor Körner (1791 - 1813), "Sehnsucht der Liebe", written 1808-09, appears in Knospen, first published 1810 CAT DUT FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Constantin Decker, Friedrich Knuth, Franz Peter Schubert, Emilie Zumsteeg. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2016-09-10.
Last modified: 2016-09-10 12:10:01
Line count: 44
Word count: 294