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

Drei Zigeuner fand ich einmal
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE POR
Drei Zigeuner fand ich einmal
Liegen an einer Weide,
Als mein Fuhrwerk mit müder Qual
Schlich durch sandige Heide.

Hielt der eine für sich allein
In den Händen die Fiedel,
Spielt', umglüht vom Abendschein,
Sich ein [feuriges]1 Liedel.

Hielt der zweite die Pfeif' im Mund,
Blickte nach seinem Rauche,
Froh, als ob er vom Erdenrund
Nichts zum Glücke mehr brauche.

Und der dritte behaglich schlief,
Und sein Zymbal am Baum hing;
Über die Saiten der Windhauch lief,
Über sein Herz ein Traum ging.

An den Kleidern trugen die drei
Löcher und bunte Flicken;
Aber sie boten trotzig frei
Spott den Erdengeschicken.

Dreifach haben sie mir gezeigt,
Wenn das Leben uns nachtet,
Wie man's [verraucht, verschläft]2, vergeigt,
Und es dreifach verachtet.

Nach den Zigeunern [lang']3 [noch schaun
Mußt ich]4 im Weiterfahren,
Nach den Gesichtern dunkelbraun,
[Den]5 schwarzlockigen Haaren.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Gund, Liszt, Shoeck: "lustiges" (from another version of Lenau)
2 Gund, Liszt, Schoeck: "verschläft, verraucht"
3 Edelmann, Gund, Schoeck,: "lange"
4 Gund, Liszt, Schoeck: "noch/ Mußt ich schaun"
5 Gund, Liszt, Schoeck: "Nach den"


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 (Emily Ezust) , "The three Gypsies", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Walter A. Aue) , "The Three Gypsies", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Arthur Westbrook) , "The three gypsies"
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Les trois tsiganes", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Margarida Moreno) , "Os três ciganos", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 137

The three Gypsies
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Three Gypsies I found once
lying by a willow,
as my cart with weary torture
crawled over the sandy heath.

One, for himself alone, was holding 
his fiddle in his hands,
playing, as the sunset glow surrounded him,
a merry little tune.

The second held a pipe in his mouth
and watched his smoke
with cheer, as if from the world
he required nothing more for his happiness.

And the third slept comfortably:
from the tree hung his cymbalom;
over its strings the wind's breath ran;
in his heart a dream was playing.

On the clothing those three wore
were holes and colorful patches;
but, defiantly free, they made
a mockery of earthly fate.

Trebly they showed me
how, when life grows dark for us,
one can smoke, sleep or play it away,
and thus trebly to scorn it.

At the Gypsies, longer yet
I had to gaze in passing,
at their dark brown faces,
at their black-locked hair.


  • 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


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 159