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Möcht wissen, was sie schlagen

Language: German (Deutsch)

Möcht wissen, was sie schlagen
So schön bei der Nacht,
's ist in der Welt ja doch niemand,
Der mit ihnen wacht.

Und die Wolken, die reisen,
Und das Land ist so blaß,
Und die Nacht [wandert]1 leise
Durch den Wald übers Gras.

Nacht, Wolken, wohin sie gehen,
Ich weiß es recht gut,
Liegt ein Grund hinter den Höhen,
Wo meine Liebste jetzt ruht.

Zieht der Einsiedel sein Glöcklein,
Sie höret es nicht,
Es fallen ihre Löcklein
Übers ganze Gesicht.

Und daß sie niemand erschrecket,
Der liebe Gott hat sie hier
Ganz mit Mondschein bedecket,
Da träumt sie von mir.

Translation(s): ENG ENG FRE

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 some versions of Eichendorff (and Franz and Pfitzner): "wandelt"

Submitted by Jakob Kellner


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):

  • ENG English (Jakob Kellner) , "I would like to know what they sing", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (John Glenn Paton) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Les rossignols", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-10-19 23:40:50
Line count: 20
Word count: 100

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I would like to know what they sing

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

I would like to know what they sing
so beautifully at night,
though it is no one in the world
who watches with them.

And the clouds, they travel,
and the land is so pale,
and the night wanders silent
through the forest over grass.

Night, clouds, where they go to,
I know it quite well,
there lies a ground behind the Heights,
where my love now rests. 

The hermit rings his bell,
she cannot hear it,
her locks fall
whole over her face.

And lest anyone startle her,
God has covered her 
full with moonlight;
there she dreams of me.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Jakob Kellner, (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 Josef Karl Benedikt von Eichendorff (1788 - 1857), "Die Nachtigallen", appears in Gedichte, in 5. Totenopfer FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Heinrich Bellermann, Elise Breiderhoff, née Frey, August Bungert, Alexander von Fielitz, Robert Franz, Gustav Hasse, Heinrich , Freiherr von Herzogenberg, Egon Kornauth, Henry Mansfeldt, Hans Erich Pfitzner, Karl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke, Karl Gottlieb Reissiger, J. H. Stuckenschmidt, Julius Weismann, Moritz Weyermann. Go to the text.


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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:27
Line count: 20
Word count: 101