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Die Nonne

Language: German (Deutsch)

Es liebt' in Welschland irgendwo
Ein schöner junger Ritter
Ein Mädchen, das der Welt entfloh,
Troz Klosterthor und Gitter;
Sprach viel von seiner Liebespein,
Und schwur, auf seinen Knieen,
Sie aus dem Kerker zu [befreyn]1,
Und stets für sie zu glühen.
 
"Bey diesem Muttergottesbild,
Bey diesem Jesuskinde,
Das ihre Mutterarme füllt,
Schwör' ich's dir, o Belinde!
Dir ist mein ganzes Herz geweiht,
So lang ich Odem habe,
Bei meiner Seelen Seligkeit!
Dich lieb' ich bis zum Grabe."
 
Was glaubt ein armes Mädchen nicht,
Zumal in einer Zelle?
Ach! sie vergaß der Nonnenpflicht,
Des Himmels und der Hölle.
Die, von [den Engeln]2 angeschaut,
Sich ihrem Jesu weihte,
Die reine schöne Gottesbraut,
Ward eines Frevlers Beute.
 
Drauf wurde, wie die Männer sind,
Sein Herz von Stund' an lauer,
Er überließ das arme Kind
Auf ewig ihrer Trauer,
Vergaß der alten Zärtlichkeit
Und aller seiner Eide,
Und flog, im bunten Gallakleid,
Nach neuer Augenweide;
 
Begann mit andern Weibern Reihn,
Im kerzenhellen Saale,
Gab andern Weibern Schmeichelein,
Beim lauten Traubenmahle.
Und rühmte sich des Minneglücks
Bei seiner schönen Nonne,
Und jedes Kusses, jedes Blicks
Und jeder andern Wonne.
 
Die Nonne, voll von welscher Wuth,
Entglüht' in ihrem Muthe,
Und sann auf nichts als Dolch und Blut,
Und [schwamm in lauter]3 Blute.
Sie dingte plözlich eine Schaar
Von wilden Meuchelmördern,
Den Mann, der treulos worden war,
Ins Todtenreich zu fördern.
 
Die bohren manches Mörderschwert
In seine schwarze Seele;
Sein schwarzer, falscher Geist entfährt,
Wie Schwefeldampf der Höhle;
Er wimmert durch die Luft, wo sein
Ein Krallenteufel harret.
Drauf ward sein blutendes Gebein
In eine Gruft [verscharret]4.
 
Die Nonne flog, wie Nacht begann,
Zur kleinen Dorfkapelle,
Und riß den wunden Rittersmann
Aus seiner Ruhestelle,
Riß ihm das Bubenherz heraus,
[Recht ihren Zorn zu büßen,
Und trat es, daß das Gotteshaus
Erschallte, mit den Füßen.]5
 
Ihr Geist soll, wie die Sagen gehn,
In dieser Kirche weilen,
Und, bis im Dorf die [Hahnen]6 krähn,
Bald wimmern und bald heulen.
Sobald der [Seiger]7 zwölfe schlägt,
Rauscht sie, an Grabsteinwänden,
Aus einer Gruft empor, und trägt
Ein blutend Herz in Händen.
 
Die tiefen hohlen Augen sprühn
Ein düsterrothes Feuer,
Und glühn, wie Schwefelflammen glühn,
Durch ihren weißen Schleyer.
Sie gafft auf das zerrißne Herz,
Mit wilder Rachgeberde,
Und hebt es dreymal himmelwärts,
Und wirft es auf die Erde;
 
Und rollt die Augen voller Wuth,
Die eine Hölle blicken,
Und schüttelt aus dem Schleyer Blut,
Und stampft das Herz in Stücken.
Ein [dunkler]8 Todtenflimmer macht
Indeß die Fenster helle.
Der Wächter, der das Dorf bewacht,
Sah's [oft in der Kapelle]9.


Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty's Sämtliche Werke kritisch und chronologisch herausgegeben von Wilhelm Michael, Erster Band, Weimar, Gesellschaft der Bibliophilen, 1914, pages 134-137; with Gedichte von Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen herausgegeben von Karl Halm, Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus, 1870, pages 22-24; with Gedichte von Ludewig Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Besorgt durch seine Freunde Friederich Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg und Johann Heinrich Voß. Hamburg, bei Carl Ernst Bohn. 1783, pages 60-64; and with Poetische Blumenlese Auf das Jahr 1775. Göttingen und Gotha bey Johann Christian Dieterich, pages 186-190.

1 Schubert: "befreien"
2 Schubert (Neue Gesamtausgabe): "dem Engel"
3 Voß' editions, and Schubert: "träumte nur von"
4 Schubert: "verscharrt"
5 Voß' editions since 1804, and Schubert:
Und warf's, den Zorn zu büßen,
Daß dumpf erscholl das Gotteshaus,
Und trat es mit den Füßen.
6 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe): "Hähne"
7 Schubert: "Hammer"
8 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe): "bleicher"
9 Michael's edition 1914: "in der Landcapelle"

Submitted by Richard Morris and Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor] and Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Authorship

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) , "La monja", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De non", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The nun", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La nonne", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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

Last modified: 2018-02-05 07:59:45
Line count: 88
Word count: 419

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The nun

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Somewhere in Italy
A handsome young knight loved
A maiden who escaped from the world,
[Loved her] despite the cloister’s gate and grille;
He spoke much of his love-agony,
And upon his knees he vowed
To free her from the prison
And always to love her fervently.
 
By this image of the Madonna,
By this Christchild,
Who fills her motherly arms,
I swear to you, oh Belinda:
My entire heart is dedicated to you
As long as there is breath in my body;
By the salvation of my soul,
I shall love you unto the grave!“
 
What all will a maiden not believe,
Particularly when locked in a cell?
Alas, she forgot her duty as a nun,
Forgot heaven and hell;
She, who, watched by the angels
Had dedicated herself to her Jesus,
The pure, beautiful bride of God,
Became a malefactor's victim!
 
Thereupon, as is the wont of men, his heart
Became lukewarm from that hour onward,
He left the poor creature
Forever to her grief.
He forgot the old tenderness
And all of his vows,
And in a colourful gala raiment
He took himself off to other beauties;
 
Began to dance with other women
In the brightly candle-lit hall,
To other women he proffered flatteries
At the noisy wine banquet,
And boasted of his luck in love
To his beautiful nun,
And of every kiss, every glance
And every other pleasure.
 
The nun, full of Italian rage,
Became enflamed in her spirit,
And thought of nothing but daggers and blood,
And [was immersed in thoughts of pure]1 blood;
She suddenly hired a swarm
Of wild assasins,
To dispatch the man who had become faithless
Into the realm of death.
 
They sank many a murderous sword
Into his black soul:
His black, false spirit flies forth
Like a sulphurous mist from hell;
His whimpering sounds through the air
Where a claw-footed devil awaits him;
Thereupon his bleeding bones
Were buried in a crypt.
 
As night fell, the nun fled
To the little village chapel,
And pulled the wounded knight
From out his resting place.
She tore out his knavish heart
[In order to give full vent to her rage,
And trod upon it so that the church
Rang with the sounds of her feet.]2
 
Her spirit, as the legend goes,
Lurks in this church,
Now wailing, now howling
Until the cocks crow in the village.
As soon as the [clock-hand reaches]3 twelve
She rushes forth from a crypt
Along the wall of gravestones and carries
A bleeding heart in her hands.
 
Her deep, hollowed eyes spew forth
A dismally red fire
And glow, as sulphurous flames glow,
Through her white veil;
She stares at that torn heart
With a wild revengeful gesture,
And lifts it three times toward heaven
And throws it to the ground;
 
And she rolls her anger-filled eyes,
Which gaze upon a hell,
And shakes blood out of her veil,
And stomps the heart into pieces.
A pale deathly glow therewhile
Brightens the windows;
The watchman who guards the town
Has often seen it in the chapel.


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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Schubert: "dreamt only of"
2 Schubert: "And threw it down, to assuage her rage / So that the church rang dully, / And trod upon it with her feet."
3 Schubert: "clock strikes"

Authorship

  • 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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Text added to the website: 2017-02-06.
Last modified: 2017-02-06 12:46:29
Line count: 88
Word count: 511