by John Henry Mackay (1864 - 1933)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Der Tag, der schwüle,
  verblaßt, und [nun]1
in dieser Kühle
  [begehrt]2 zu ruh'n,
was sich ergeben
  dem Fest der Lust --
Nun schmiegt mit Beben
  sich Brust an Brust...

Es hebt der [Nachthauch]3
  die Schwingen weit:
"Wer liebt, der wacht auch
  zu dieser Zeit . . ."
Er küßt die Welle,
  und sie ergibt
sich ihm zur Stelle,
   weil sie ihn liebt . . .

O großes Feiern!
  O schönste Nacht!
Nun [wird]4 entschleiern
  [sich]5 alle Pracht,
die Tags verborgen
  in Zweifeln lag,
in Angst und Sorgen --
  [Jetzt]6 wird es Tag!

Still stößt vom Strande
  ein schwankes Boot --
Verläßt die Lande
  der Mörder Tod?
Er ward vergebens
  hierher bestellt:
der Gott des Lebens
  beherrscht die Welt! . . .

Welch stürmisch Flüstern
  den Weg entlang?
Was fleht so lüstern?
  Was seufzt so bang?
Ein Nie-Gehörtes
  hört nun dein Ohr --
Wie Gift betört es:
  was geht hier vor?!

Der Sinn der Töne
  ist mir bekannt,
Drum gieb, [du]7 Schöne,
  mir deine Hand:
Der ich zu rühren
  dein Herz verstand,
ich will dich führen
  ins Wunderland . . .

Mit süßem Schaudern
  reißt du dich los.
Was hilft dein Zaudern?
  Dir fiel dein Loos!
Die Stimmen schweigen.
  Es liebt, wer wacht!
Du wirst mein eigen
  noch diese Nacht!

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with John Henry Mackay, Gedichte, Treptow bei Berlin: B. Zack, 1909, pages 86-88.

1 omitted by Strauss
2 Strauss: "begehrt nun"
3 Strauss: "Nachtwind"
4 Strauss "wird sich"
5 omitted by Strauss
6 Strauss: "Nun"
7 Strauss: "o"


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Seducció", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Verleiding", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Seduction", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Séduction", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 56
Word count: 205

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The day, the humid [day],
 grows pale and now
in this coolness
  desire to rest
Those who gave themselves
  over to the festival of pleasure --
now with trembling
  breast nestles up to breast . . .

The night [breeze]1
  spreads its wings wide:
"Whoever loves, is also awake
  at this time . . ."
He kisses the wave
  and it succumbs
to him at once,
  because it loves him . . .

Oh great celebration!
  Oh most beautiful night!
Now all the splendour,
  shall reveal itself,
[the splendour] that was hidden by day,
  in doubting,
in anxiety and worry --
  Now day is breaking!

Silently from the shore
  a rocking boat casts off --
Is that murderer Death
  leaving the country?
He was summoned here
  in vain:
the God of Life
   rules the world! . . .

What is that stormy whispering
  along the path?
What pleads so yearningly?
  What sighs so anxiously?
Something never before heard
  Your ear now hears --
It beguiles like poison:
  what is happening here?

The sense of the sounds
  is known to me,
Therefore, [you]2 Beautiful One,
  give me your hand:
I, who understood how to
  move your heart,
I wish to lead you
  into Wonderland . . .

With sweet shuddering
  you tear yourself away.
Of what use is your hesitation?
  Your lot has been cast!
The voices fall silent.
  Whoever is awake, loves!
You shall become my own
  this night yet!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "wind"
2 Strauss: "oh"


  • 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2014-03-31
Line count: 56
Word count: 236