Thank you to all the generous supporters who helped us raise $15,792 for our site-renewal project! We can't wait for you to see what we're building! Your ongoing donations are essential for The LiederNet Archive to continue in its mission of providing this unique resource to the world, so if you didn't get a chance to contribute during the overhaul drive, your help in any amount is still valuable.

The LiederNet Archive

Much of our material is not in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
Printing texts or translations without the name of the author or translator is also illegal.
You must use the copyright symbol © when you reprint copyright-protected material.

For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
Please read the instructions below the translations before writing!
In your e-mail, always include the names of the translators if you wish to reprint something.

Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär'

Language: German (Deutsch)

  Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär',
Und auch zwey [Flüglein]1 hätt',
Flög' ich zu dir;
[Weil es]2 aber nicht kann seyn,
Bleib' ich allhier.

  Bin ich gleich weit von dir,
[Bin ich doch]3 im Schlaf bey dir,
Und red' mit dir:
Wenn ich erwachen thu',
Bin ich allein.

  [Es vergeht keine Stund']4 in der Nacht,
Da [mein Herze nicht erwacht,
Und an]5 dich gedenkt,
Daß du mir [viel tausendmal]6 
Dein Herz geschenkt.

Translation(s): DUT ENG FRE IRI ITA POR

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Stimmen der Völker in Liedern. Gesammelt, geordnet, zum Theilübersezt durch Johann Gottfried von Herder, Tübingen, in der J. G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1807, page 482.

Modern spelling would change "zwey" to "zwei", "seyn" to "sein", "bey" to "bei", "thu" to "tu", etc.

Note: the first stanza is quoted by Treitschke in a text set by Beethoven, Ruf vom Berge, WoO. 147

1 Greith: "Flügel"; further changes may exist not shown above.
2 Brahms, Hiller, Schumann: "Weil's"
3 Hiller: "Bin doch"
4 Hiller: "Kein Stunde"; Brahms, Schumann: "Es vergeht kein' Stund' "
5 Hiller: "nicht mein Herz erwacht,/ An"
6 Hiller: "tausendmal, viel tausendmal"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Auditorium du Louvre and Lau Kanen [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):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Als ik een vogel was", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (David K. Smythe) , "If I were a little bird", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Si j'étais un petit oiseau", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Giulio Cesare Barozzi) , "Foss'io un uccellino", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Margarida Moreno) , "Se eu fosse um passarinho", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2019-03-19 12:36:48

Line count: 15
Word count: 72

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust

If I were a little bird

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

 If I were a little bird
 and also had two little wings
 I would fly to you.
 But because that cannot be,
 I remain just here.
 Equally if I am far from you,
 yet I am with you in sleep
 and talk to you.
 When I become awake,
 I am alone.
 There is no hour of the night goes by
 that my heart does not wake
 and is thinking of you,
 that many thousandfold
 you gave your heart to me.

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.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by David K. Smythe, (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) from Volkslieder (Folksongs) , "Der Flug der Liebe", Rheinisch DUT FRE IRI ITA POR
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Waldemar Edler von Baußnern, Franz Behr, Johannes Brahms, Antonie Broich, Heinrich Elkamp, Carl Greith, Georg Christoph Grossheim, Hans Harthan, George Henschel, Ferdinand von Hiller, Wilhelm C. Hollmann, Adolf Jensen, Albert Levinsohn, Ādams Ore, Franz Otto, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Bruno Schmidt, Robert Schumann, Wilhelm Taubert, Carl Maria von Weber, Nicolai von Wilm, Alexander Winterberger. Go to the text.


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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:55

Line count: 15
Word count: 81