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Johanna Sebus

Language: German (Deutsch)

     Der Damm zerreißt, das Feld erbraust,
     Die Fluthen spülen, die Fläche saust.
»Ich trage dich, Mutter, durch die Fluth,
Noch [reicht]1 sie nicht hoch, ich wate gut.« -
»Auch uns bedenke, bedrängt wie wir sind,
Die Hausgenossin, drey arme Kind!
Die schwache Frau! ... [Du gehst davon!« -
Sie trägt die Mutter durchs Wasser schon.]2
»Zum Bühle da rettet euch! harret derweil;
Gleich kehr' ich zurück, uns allen ist Heil.
Zum Bühl ist's noch trocken und wenige Schritt;
Doch nehmt auch mir meine Ziege mit!«

     Der Damm zerschmilzt, das Feld erbraust,
     Die Fluthen wühlen, die Fläche saust.
Sie setzt die Mutter auf sichres Land,
Schön Suschen, gleich wieder zur Fluth gewandt.
»Wohin? Wohin? Die Breite schwoll,
Des Wassers ist hüben und drüben voll.
Verwegen in's Tiefe willst du hinein!« -
»Sie sollen und müssen gerettet seyn!«

     Der Damm verschwindet, die Welle braust,
     Eine Meereswoge, sie schwankt und saust.
Schön Suschen schreitet gewohnten Steg,
Umströmt auch gleitet sie nicht vom Weg,
Erreicht den Bühl und die Nachbarin;
Doch der und den Kindern kein Gewinn!

     Der Damm verschwand, ein Meer erbraust's,
     Den kleinen Hügel im Kreis umsaust's.
Da gähnet und wirbelt der schäumende Schlund
Und ziehet die Frau mit den Kindern zu Grund;
Das Horn der Ziege faßt das ein',
So sollten sie alle verloren seyn!
Schön Suschen steht noch strack und gut:
Wer rettet das junge, das edelste Blut!
Schön Suschen steht noch wie ein Stern;
Doch alle Werber sind alle fern.
Rings um sie her ist Wasserbahn,
Kein Schifflein schwimmet zu ihr heran.
Noch einmal blickt sie zum Himmel hinauf,
Da nehmen die schmeichelnden Fluthen sie auf.

     Kein Damm, kein Feld! Nur hier und dort
     Bezeichnet ein Baum, ein Thurn den Ort.
Bedeckt ist alles mit Wasserschwall;
Doch Suschens Bild schwebt überall. -
Das Wasser sinkt, das Land erscheint,
Und überall wird schön Suschen beweint. -
Und dem sey, wer's nicht singt und sagt,
Im Leben und Tod nicht nachgefragt!


Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
Beneath the title: "Zum Andenken der Siebzehnjährigen Schönen Guten aus dem Dorfe Brienen, die am 13. Januar 1809 bei dem Eisgange des Rheins und dem großen Bruche des Dammes von Cleverham Hülfe reichend unterging."

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke. Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand. Zweyter Band. Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cotta'schen Buchhandlung. 1827, pages 37-39; and with Heidelberger Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1810. Herausgegeben von A. Schreiber. Zweiter Jahrgang. Mannheim bei Tobias Löffler, pages 8-11.

1 Schubert: "ist"
2 Schubert: "sie eilt davon, / Sie trägt die Mutter durchs Wasser schon.«"

Submitted by Martin-Beatus Meier 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) , "Joanna Sebus", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Johanna Sebus", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Thomas A. Gregg) , "[To] Johanna Sebus", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "À Johanna Sebus", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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

Last modified: 2018-07-27 10:46:27
Line count: 48
Word count: 321

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[To] Johanna Sebus

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

  The dam bursts, the field is noisy,
  The waves lap, the plains roar.
"I will carry you, mother, through the flood,
It is not yet high, I can easily wade."
"Remember us, distressed as we are,
Your housemate and three poor children!
The trembling woman! -- you are going away!"
She already carries her mother through the water.
"On the hill there you are safe! Wait there;
Soon I will return, and we will all be safe.
On the hill it is still dry and a few steps away;
But also take my goat with you."

  The dam crumbles, the field is noisy,
  The floods roll, the plains roar.
She sets her mother on solid ground,
Pretty Susie immediately returns to the flood.
"Where, where? The distance increases,
The water is deep on both sides.
Bold one! Into the deep will you go?"
"They must and shall be saved!"

  The dam disappears, the waters burst
  In an ocean billow, it heaves and howls.
Pretty Susie retraces her steps,
Even upstream she doesn't lose her way;
She reaches the hill and her neighbor,
But she and her children are lost.

  The dam disappeared, the sea is noisy,
  The little hills are encircled.
There groans and swirls the foaming abyss,
And pulls the woman and her children to the ground,
The horn of the goat held by one,
But must they all be lost?
Pretty Susie stands yet strong and well;
Who rescues the young one, the noblest blood?!
Pretty Susie stands yet like a star,
But all helpers are gone.
All around her is a waterway,
No little boat floats up to her,
Again she looks up to heaven,
Then the coaxing waves took her away.

  No dam! No Field! Only here and there 
  a tree is noted, a tower marking the place.
Everything is covered with water;
Yet Susie's image hovers over it all,
The water sinks, the land appears,
And everywhere was pretty Susie mourned.
And those who will not sing nor tell this story,
In life and death will not be remembered!


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.

The poem is dedicated to Johanna Sebus; its subtitle can be translated "To the memory of an excellent and beautiful girl of 17, belonging to the village of Brienen, who perished on the 13th of January, 1809, whilst giving help on the occasion of the breaking up of the ice on the Rhine, and the bursting of the dam of Cleverham." (from an anthology translated by Bowring)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2007 by Thomas A. Gregg, (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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Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), "Johanna Sebus", written 1809, first published 1809 CAT DUT FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Franz Peter Schubert, Karl Friedrich Zelter. Go to the text.

 

Text added to the website: 2007-11-07.
Last modified: 2017-08-09 13:44:30
Line count: 48
Word count: 344