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Liebes, leichtes, luft'ges Ding

Language: German (Deutsch)

  Liebes, leichtes, luft'ges Ding, 
Das da über Blumen schwebet,
Nur von Tau und Blüten lebet,
Blüte selbst, ein fliegend Blatt,
Das mit welchem Rosenfinger!
Wer bepurpurt hat.

  War's ein Sylphe, der dein Kleid
So bestreut?
Dich aus Morgenduft gewebet,
Nur auf Tage dich belebet?
Seelchen, und dein kleines Herz
Pocht da unter meinem Finger,
Fühlet Todesschmerz.

  Fleuch dahin, o Seelchen, sei 
Froh und frei,
Mir ein Bild, was ich sein werde,
Wenn die Raupe dieser Erde
Auch wie du ein Zephyr ist,
Und in Duft und Tau und Honig
Jede Blüte küßt.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Herders Volkslieder, ed. Carl Redlich, Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1885, page 348.

Submitted by John H. Campbell and Sharon Krebs [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):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-08-09 20:21:53
Line count: 21
Word count: 94

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Dear, light, airy thing

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

  Dear, light, airy thing, 
That hovers there above the flowers,
Living only on dew and blossoms,
Itself a blossom, a flying leaf,
That, with what a rosy finger!
Someone has crimsoned.

  Was it a sylph, who sprinkled 
Your dress thus?
Who wove you from the scent of morning,
Who only gave you a lifespan of days?
Dear soul, and your little heart
Pulses there under my finger,
Feels the pain of death.

  Fly thence, oh dear soul, be 
Joyful and free!
For me an image of that which I shall become,
When the caterpillar of this earth
Like you, is a zephyr,
And in scent and dew and honey
Kisses every blossom.

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.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Das Lied vom Schmetterlinge" = "The song about the butterfly"
"Die Sylphide" = "The sylph"
"Der Schmetterling" = "The butterfly"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Johann Gottfried Herder (1744 - 1803), "Das Lied vom Schmetterlinge"
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Johann Karl Gottfried Loewe, Karl Guido Nakonz, Wilhelm Pohl, Johann Xaver Sterkel. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-08-09.
Last modified: 2018-08-09 18:47:16
Line count: 21
Word count: 114