by Nikolaus Lenau (1802 - 1850)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Ach wärst du mein, es wär' ein schönes...
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG FRE
[Ach]1 wärst du mein, es wär' ein schönes Leben!
So aber ists Entsagen nur und Trauern,
[Und]2 ein verlornes Grollen und Bedauern;
Ich kann es meinem Schicksal nicht vergeben.

Undank tut wohl und jedes Leid der Erde;
Ja! meine [Freund']3 in Särgen, Leich' an Leiche,
Sind ein gelinder Gram, wenn ichs vergleiche
Dem Schmerz, daß ich dich nie besitzen werde.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "O"
2 Strauss: "Nur"
3 Strauss: "Freud' "


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) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "To *", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "A *", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2004-05-08 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:05
Line count: 8
Word count: 60

To *
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
[Ah]1 if you were mine, it would be a finer life,
But instead it is only renunciation and grief,
[And]2 wasted lament and regret.
I cannot forgive my fate.

Ingratitude is good, and all the sorrow on earth;
Yes, my [friends]3 in coffins, corpse upon corpse -
All these are small griefs when I compare them to
The agony that I will never possess you.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "Ah"
2 Strauss: "only"
3 Strauss: "joys"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:38
Line count: 8
Word count: 65