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Der Vatermörder

Language: German (Deutsch)

Ein Vater starb von [Sohnes]1 Hand.
Kein Wolf, kein Tyger, nein!
Der [Mensch]2, der Thiere Fürst, erfand
Den Vatermord allein.

Der Thäter floh, um dem Gericht
Sein Opfer zu entziehn,
In einen Wald; doch konnt' er nicht
Den innern Richter fliehn.

[Verzehrt]3, und hager, stumm und bleich,
Mit Lumpen angethan,
Dem Dämon der Verzweiflung gleich,
Traf ihn ein Häscher an.

Voll Grimm zerstörte der Barbar
Ein Nest mit einem Stein,
Und mordete die kleine Schaar
Der armen Vögelein.

Halt ein! rief ihm der Scherge zu,
Verruchter [Schadenfroh]4!
Mit welchem Rechte marterst du
Die frommen Thierchen so?

Was fromm, sprach jener, den die Wuth
Kaum hörbar stammeln ließ;
Ich that es, weil die Höllenbrut
Mich Vatermörder hieß.

Der Mann beschaut ihn; seine That
Verräth sein irrer Blick.
Er faßt den Mörder, und das Rad
Bestraft sein Bubenstück.

[Du, heiliges Gewissen, bist
Der Tugend letzter Freund.
Ein schreckliches Triumphlied ist
Dein Donner ihrem Feind.]5

Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

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Confirmed with Poetische Versuche von Gottlieb Conrad Pfeffel. IV. Theil. Wien. Gedruckt und verlegt bey F. A. Schrämbl. 1802, pages 221-222; with Sammlung deutscher Beyspiele zur Bildung des Stils. Erster Band. Wien, gedruckt mit Johann Thomas Edlen von Trattnerschen Schriften. 1806, pages 58-59; and with Poetische Versuche von Gottlieb Conrad Pfeffel. Sechster Theil. Vierte rechtmäßige, verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage. Tübingen in der J. G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung. 1802, pages 65-66.

1 Schubert: "des Sohnes"
2 Schubert: "Mensch allein"
3 Pfeffel (Tübingen edition): "Verzerrt"
4 Schubert: "Bösewicht"
5 Pfeffel (Tübingen edition):
Du, Gottes zweyte Heroldin,
Gewissen, wer ihn nicht
Im Weltbau sieht, der höret ihn
In deinem Strafgericht.

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)

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El parricida", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De vadermoordenaar", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The parricide", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le parricide", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-05-05 12:50:37
Line count: 32
Word count: 152

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The parricide

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

 A father died at his son's hand.
 No wolf, no tiger, no:
 Man alone, the prince of beasts,
 he alone invented patricide.
 The perpetrator fled to take away
 his victim from the Law;
 in the wood, however, he could not
 flee his inner Judge.
 Consumed and gaunt, dumb and pale,
 dressed in rags, 
 like the demon of despair,
 and thus the constable found him.
 Full of fury, the brute broke
 a nest with a stone
 and murdered the small brood
 of poor little birds.
 Stop! cried the constable,
 wicked villain,
 What right do you have to torture
 these poor creatures so?
 The other spoke with such rage
 he could hardly be heard:
 I did it because this brood from hell
 called me parricide!
 The man gazed at him, his deed
 betrayed by his mad face.
 He arrested the murderer, and the wheel
 punished this piece of villainy.
 You, holy conscience, are
 virtue's ultimate friend;
 A terrible song of triumph
 your thunder is to its enemy.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

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Based on


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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:45
Line count: 32
Word count: 166