by Paul Heyse (1830 - 1914)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Und wollen mich die klugen Leute fragen
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Und wollen mich die klugen Leute fragen,
Von wem ich es gelernt, in Versen sprechen:
Im Herzen muß ich jene Gluten tragen,
Die klingend, singend dann zu Tage brechen.
Am Tag, wo Nena mir zuerst begegnet,
Da ward mit Versen mir der Geist gesegnet.
Am Tag, [wo]1 Nena's Lächeln mich [ließ]2 hoffen,
Sah ich die Thür des Paradieses offen,
Und heut, [wo]1 Nena's Herz in Flammen steht,
Bin ich ein großer König und Poet.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

In a footnote to Line 5 Heyse informs readers that "Nena" is a short form of "Maddalena" ("Abkürzung von Maddalena").

Confirmed with Paul Heyse, Italienisches Liederbuch, Berlin: Verlag von Wilhelm Hertz (Bessersche Buchhandlung), 1860, page 3.

1 Marx: "da"
2 Marx: "hieß"


Based on

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 (Sharon Krebs) , "The poet", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le poète", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2010-01-28
Line count: 10
Word count: 74

The poet
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
And if the clever people wish to ask me
From whom I learned to speak in verses:
In my heart I must carry those glowing embers
That resoundingly, singingly break forth to the light of day.
The day upon which I first met Nena
My spirit was blessed with verses.
The day upon which Nena's smiles first [let]1 me hope
I saw the door of Paradise open,
And today when Nena's heart is completely engulfed in flames [of love],
I am a great king and poet.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Marx: "bade"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2013 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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This text was added to the website: 2013-12-06
Line count: 10
Word count: 86