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Am Runenstein in der Sommernacht

Language: German (Deutsch)

Am Runenstein in der Sommernacht
Da spielen die Wasserfrauen;
Das Wasser klingt, es singt die Luft,
Der Mond steht hoch im Blauen.

Das plätschert und lacht, das wogt und taucht
Wie Lilien auf und nieder,
Es schwimmt auf der Flut das goldne Haar,
Es schimmern die weißen Glieder.

Mit schilfigem Bart der Meermann bläst
Die gewundene Muschelposaune,
Die Nixen schlingen den Reigen dazu,
Sie sind in der besten Laune.

Da schreit die Jüngste und kichert drauf:
Ei seht, was fand ich in der Welle!
Ein blinkendes winkendes Todtengebein,
Wie Silber glänzt es so helle.

Ich stieß mit dem Fuß an's Korallenriff
Beim lustigen Untertauchen,
Da lag's in den Ästen, ich zog es hervor;
Nun sagt, wie können wir's brauchen?"

Neugierig beschaut der Schwarm den Fund,
Die Königin spricht mit Lachen:
"Das beinerne Ding ist hübsch und fein,
Eine Harfe woll'n wir draus machen.

Komm Schilfbart, alter Musikant,
Du weißt von solchen Dingen;
Ich schenk' einen Schwertfisch dir zum Roß,
Kannst du's zu Stande bringen."

Der Meermann kommt, er nimmt das Gebein,
Er fügt es mit langem Geklügel,
Er macht aus den Fingern die Wirbel gut,
Aus dem Brustbein macht er den Bügel.

Er nimmt von der Königin goldenem Haar,
Und spannt es drüber als Saiten;
Ei wie so wundersam durch die Nacht
Die Töne schwellen und gleiten!

Nun schlägt er die Harfe wohl auf und ab,
Da lassen die Wellen das Rauschen,
Der Wind hält leise den Odem an,
Und schlummert ein im Lauschen.

Die Möven setzen sich nieder am Strand,
Goldfischlein steigen vom Grunde,
Es horcht die Luft, es horcht das Meer
Bezaubert in der Runde;

Der Meermann harft und singt darein,
Er fühlt nicht Müh noch Sorgen;
Die Nixen schlingen den Reigen dazu
Bis an den rothen Morgen.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

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Submitted by Harry Joelson


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2008-10-20.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:58
Line count: 48
Word count: 290

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By the runic stone in the summer night

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

By the runic stone in the summer night
The water nymphs play;
The water sounds, the breeze sings,
The moon stands high in the blue heavens.

There is a splashing and laughing, a surging and a diving -
Beings rise and fall like lilies,
Golden hair floats upon the waters,
White limbs shimmer.

With a beard of rushes, the merman blows
His coiled shell trumpet,
The nymphs dance their winding dance to his blowing,
They are in the best of spirits.

With a giggle, the youngest suddenly cries:
"Oh look what I found in the waves!
A shining, beckoning skeleton,
It gleams as brightly as silver.

I bumped against the coral reef with my foot
While I was merrily diving,
There it lay in the branches [of coral], I pulled it out;
Now do tell, what could we do with it?"

With curiosity the swarm [of nymphs] looks at the find,
The queen says with laughter:
"The bony thing is bonny and fair,
Let us make a harp out of it.

Come, Rush-Beard, you old musician,
You are well-versed in such things;
I will bestow a swordfish upon you to use as your steed
If you manage to complete the task."

The merman advances, he takes the skeleton,
He begins to work with it after lengthy deliberation,
From the fingers he makes fine tuning pegs,
From the sternum he fashions the frame.

He takes strands of the queen's golden hair
And stretches them across [the frame] as harp strings;
Oh how wondrously through the night
The musical sounds swell and glide!

Now he strums the harp upward and downward,
The waves cease their roaring,
The wind quietly holds its breath,
And falls asleep while listening.

The seagulls come to rest along the shore,
Little goldfish rise from the depths of the sea,
The very air listens, the sea listens,
Enchanted all about;

The merman plays the harp and sings along,
He feels neither labour nor anxieties;
The nymphs dance the winding round thereto
Until the red light of dawn.

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About the headline (FAQ)


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2011 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: 2011-03-03.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:15
Line count: 48
Word count: 339