by Friedrich Rückert (1788 - 1866)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Gestern war ich Atlas
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Gestern war ich Atlas, der den Himmel trug,
Als der Liebsten Herz auf meinem Busen schlug;
Ihrer Augen Sonnen kreisten über mir
Und wie Äther spielt um mich ihr Atemzug.

O zieh den Liebesknoten fester zu noch!
So lang ich athme fand ich keine Ruh' noch.
Laß mich in dir ausathmen! Mir fehlt etwas,
So lang ich etwas andres bin als du noch.

Mir ist dein Kuß je länger, je lieber,
Dein Arm ist mir je länger, je lieber,
Zwar macht dein Kuß, der lange, mir bange,
Mir [aber ist]1 je bänger, je lieber.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "ist aber"


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) , "Ahir jo era Atlas", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Yesterday I was Atlas", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Hier j'étais Atlas", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Alberto Pedrotti

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 94

Yesterday I was Atlas
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Yesterday I was Atlas, who carried the heavens,
When the heart of my beloved beat against my breast;
The sun of her eyes revolved above me
And like an Aether her breath played about me.

Oh, tighten the knot of Love even more!
As long as I am breathing I do not yet find any rest.
Let me exhale in you!  I lack something
As long as I am yet something other than you.

To me your kiss is the more dear the longer it lasts,
Your arms are the more dear, the longer [they embrace me],
To be sure your kiss, your long kiss, causes me anxiety,
But the more anxiety, the better I like it.


  • 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: 2014-04-15
Line count: 12
Word count: 117