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Die Meerfey

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Wie lieblich summt auf Jura's Höh'
Die Biene in dem Blütenwald! 
Wie hold klagt der Delphin sein Weh',
Das von der Woge wiederhallt!

Das leichtgewund'ne Ruder schlägt
Zu weißem Schaum die See,
Und Echo zu den Felsen trägt
Die Melodie von Colonsay.

Das Mondlicht wiegt sich auf der Flut,
Die Ruder blinken feucht,
Und auf der weißen Woge ruht
Ein weiblich Wesen leicht.

Sie zog hervor den Perlenkamm,
Und strählt' ihr gold'nes Haar,
Ihr Auge, süß in Liebesgram,
War wie der Mond so klar.

Wie Glockenton, den fern und lies
Der Liebende entdeckt
Im Traume, den die Seele weiß,
Doch der das Ohr nicht weckt[,]1

So zog die süße Melodie
Hin durch die lauschend stille See,
Sprich! hörtest du die Weise nie?
Es ist das Lied von Colonsay.

Auf schwellend leiser Woge schwebt
Sie zu dem Schiffer her,
Und siehe! sich der Jüngling hebt,
Und stürzt sich in das Meer.

Und immer wenn das Jahr erfüllt,
Wie Glöckchen aus der See,
Es klingend durch die Woge quilt,
Die Melodie von Colonsay.

Doch süßer noch und holder klingt
Das Lied der Meerfee auf der See.
Wenn sie die Flut zur Ruhe singt
Dort vor dem Riff von Colonsay.

Translation(s): ENG

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View original text (without footnotes)
Note: The first three and a half stanzas are a translation of stanzas 1, 7, 16, and 31 (first two lines) of the poem by Sir Walter Scott; the remainder of the text appears to have been written by the translator.
1 incorrectly given as a period or full stop in the Droste score

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]


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)

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The sea-fairy", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2004-08-16.
Last modified: 2017-02-06 13:23:32
Line count: 36
Word count: 197

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The sea‑fairy

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

How mellifluously upon Jura’s heights
Hums the bee in the blossom grove!
How lovely is the lament of the dolphin,
Which echoes from the wave!

The gently-spiralled oar beats
The sea into white foam,
And Echo carries to the rocks
The melody of Colonsay.

Moonlight plays upon the flood,
The oars sparkle with water,
And upon the white wave lightly rests
A womanly creature.

She took out her pearly comb
And combed her golden hair,
Her eyes, shining sweetly with the grief of love,
Were as clear as the moon.

Like the sound of bells, which a lover
Discerns -- soft and distant --
In a dream; which the soul knows,
But which does not awaken the ear[,]1

Thus the sweet melody travelled on
Through the hearkening, quiet sea,
Speak! have you never heard the lay?
It is the song of Colonsay.

Upon the swelling silent wave
It wafts toward the sailor,
And lo! the youth rises up
And throws himself into the sea.

And ever when the year’s gone by,
From the sea like little bells
Ringing, it bubbles through the wave,
The melody of Colonsay.

But sweeter yet and more lovely sounds
The song of the sea-fairy upon the sea,
When she sings the floodwaters to rest
There before the reefs of Colonsay.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 incorrectly given as a period or full stop in the Droste score


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 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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Based on
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Text added to the website: 2017-02-06.
Last modified: 2017-02-16 14:15:08
Line count: 36
Word count: 213