by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Du braunes Holz, behutsam leg'
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Du braunes Holz, behutsam leg'
Ich meine Hand an deine Wände,
Und prüfe Wirbel, Brett und Steg,
Ob ich kein neu Geheimnis fände.

Oft, wenn du glänzend von der Wand
Mich anblickst, scheint in dir zu rasten
Ein Ton, den noch mein Spiel nicht fand,
Den Menschenhände niemals faßten.

Oft auch beginnst du heimlich zart
In meinem Griffe zu erwarmen,
Als läg ein Freund seltsamer Art,
Ein Lieblingsfreund mir in den Armen.

Komm her! Sei noch einmal dem Drang
Der Schwermut so wie einst zu Willen,
Da du mir tröstend nächtelang
Die heiße Jugend halfest stillen!

Da war mein ängstlich fernes Ziel:
So, wie ich's heut' vermag, zu geigen . . .
O wäre mir und meinem Spiel
Noch jene keusche Jugend eigen!

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, pages 48-49.


Authorship:

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) , "To my violin", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2009-05-03
Line count: 20
Word count: 123

To my violin
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
You brown wood, carefully
I lay my hand upon your body
And examine pegs, fingerboard and bridge,
[To see] whether I can find a new secret.

Often when, shining, you gaze at me
From the wall, it seems that within you rests
A sound that my playing has not yet found,
That has never been grasped by human hands.

Often, too, you seem secretly, gently
To warm within my grasp,
As if a friend of unusual kind,
A favourite friend lay in my arms.

Come here!  Let the compulsion of melancholy
Have its way with you as formerly,
When comfortingly, nights on end
You helped me calm youth's hot fervour.

Then my anxious, faraway goal was:
To play the violin as I am able to do today. . .
Oh would that I and my playing
Still possessed that morally pure youthfulness!

Authorship:

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 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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Based on:

 

This text was added to the website: 2014-02-17
Line count: 20
Word count: 142