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The LiederNet Archive

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Nord oder Süd! Wenn nur im warmen Busen

Language: German (Deutsch)

Nord oder Süd! Wenn nur im warmen Busen
Ein Heiligtum der Schönheit und der Musen,
Ein götterreicher Himmel blüht!
Nur Geistes Armut kann der Winter morden:
Kraft fügt zu Kraft, und Glanz zu Glanz der Norden.
Nord oder Süd, 
Wenn nur die Seele glüht!

Stadt oder Land! Nur nicht zu eng die Räume,
Ein wenig Himmel, etwas grün der Bäume,
Zum Schatten vor dem Sonnenbrand.
Nicht an das ,,Wo`` ward Seligkeit gebunden;
Wer hat das Glück schon ausser sich gefunden!

Stadt oder Land! 
Die Außenwelt ist Tand!
[Herr oder Knecht! und sei es Knecht der Knechte!
Gebeut uns dreist, allein gebeut das Echte! 
Recht der Befehl, und wir gehorchen recht. 
Doch soll kein Hochmuth unfern Dienst verhöhnen; 
Nur Sclavensinn kann fremder Laune fröhnen.
Herr oder Knecht! 
Der Schuft allein ist schlecht.]1

Arm oder reich! Sei's Pfirsich oder Pflaume,
Wir pflücken ungleich von des Lebensbaume,
Dir zollt der Ast, mir nur der Zweig.
Mein leichtes Mahl wiegt darum nicht geringe;
Lust am Genuß bestimmt den Wert der Dinge.
Arm oder reich! 
Die Glücklichen sind reich!

Blaß oder rot! Nur auf den bleichen Wangen
Sehnsucht und Liebe, Zürnen und Erbangen,
Gefühl und Trost für fremde Not.
Es strahlt der Geist nicht aus des Blutes Welle,
Ein andrer Spiegel brennt in Sonnenhelle,
Blaß oder rot! 
Nur nicht das Auge tot!

Jung oder alt! Was kümmern uns die Jahre?
Der Geist ist frisch, doch Schelme sind die Haare;
Auch mir ergraut das Haar zu bald.
Doch eilt nur Locken, glänzend euch zu färben,
Es ist nicht Schande, Silber zu erwerben.
Jung oder alt! 
[Doch]2 erst im Grabe kalt!

Schlaf oder Tod! Willkommen, Zwillingsbrüder!
Der Tag ist hin, ihr zieht die Wimper nieder.
Traum ist der Erde Glück und Not.
Zu kurzer Tag! zu schnell verrauscht das Leben!
Warum so schön und doch so rasch verschweben?
Schlaf oder Tod! 
Hell strahlt das Morgenrot!

Translation(s): DUT ENG FRE FRE

List of language codes

L. Beethoven sets stanzas 1-2, 4-7
R. Schumann sets stanzas 1-3, 6-7

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Schumann:
Knecht oder Herr! Ach, Könige sind Knechte,
Gebeut uns nur, bist du verständiger!
Bist du verständiger, gebeut uns nur!
Doch soll kein Hochmut uns're Brust verhöhnen;
Nur Sklavensinn kann fremden Launen fröhnen!
Knecht oder Herr! Nur keines Menschen Narr!
2 Schumann: "Nur"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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) , "Noord of zuid!", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "North or South", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Nord ou sud", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Nord ou sud", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:38

Line count: 49
Word count: 308

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     - Emily Ezust

North or South

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

North or South! If only in a warm bosom
Flourishes a shrine to beauty and the muses
And a heaven abounding in gods!
Winter can at best kill poverty of mind:
The North adds power to power and radiance to radiance.
North or South! 
If there is only an ardent soul!

Town or country! Just not too confined the spaces,
A glimpse of the sky, some verdure of the trees
To provide shade under a burning sun.
It's not the "Where" to which bliss is tied;
Who has ever found happiness out of himself!
Town or country! 
The outside world is but dross!

Servant or master! Alas, kings are servants,
do command us, if you are more prudent!
If you are more prudent, do command us!
Yet no pride shall ridicule our self-confidence;
only a slave's mindset can indulde in someone else's whims!
Servant or master! 
But never a man's fool!

Poor or rich! Be it a peach or a plum,
Unequally we pick from the tree of life,
You are provided with the bough, for me the twig,
My meagre meal does not weigh less because of that;
It is the relish that sets the value.
Poor or rich! 
The happy ones are rich!
Pale or florid! Just on the pallid cheeks
Yearning and love, anger and worry,
Empathy and consolation to someone else's distress.
The spirit does not express itself in a florid complexion,
A different mirror sparkles in the bright sun,
Pale or florid! 
Just not a lifeless eye!

Young or old! Why worry about the years?
The mind is lively, the hair roguish,
My hair turns grey too soon as well.
Do hurry and dye your lustrous curly hair,
It is not a shame to have silver hair.
Young or old! 
But only cold in grave.   

Sleep or death! Welcome, twin brothers!
The day is done, you weigh the eyelids downward.
Dream is earth's happiness and need.
Too short a day! Too fast life dies away!
Why living so well and yet so fast?
Sleep or death! 
Bright shines the rising sun!

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 © 2005 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Karl Gottlieb Lappe (1773 - 1843), "So oder so" DUT FRE FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Paul Lachner, August Mayer, Robert Schumann. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2005-03-15 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:12

Line count: 49
Word count: 346