by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 - 1843)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Die Liebe
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Wenn ihr Freunde vergeßt, wenn ihr die Euren all,
O ihr Dankbaren, sie, euere Dichter schmäht,
  Gott vergeb' es, doch ehret
  Nur die Seele der Liebenden.

Denn o saget, wo lebt menschliches Leben sonst,
Da die knechtische jetzt alles, die Sorge zwingt?
  Darum wandelt der Gott auch
  Sorglos über dem Haupt uns längst.

Doch, wie immer das Jahr kalt und gesanglos ist
Zur beschiedenen Zeit, aber aus weißem Feld
  Grüne Halme doch sprossen,
  Oft ein einsamer Vogel singt,

Wenn sich mählich der Wald dehnet, der Strom sich regt,
Schon die mildere Luft leise [von]1 Mittag weht
  Zur erlesenen Stunde,
  So ein Zeichen [der schönern]2 Zeit,

[Die wir glauben]3, erwächst einzig genügsam noch,
Einzig edel und fromm über dem ehernen,
  Wilden Boden die Liebe,
  Gottes Tochter, von ihm allein.

Sei gesegnet, o sei, himmlische Pflanze, mir
Mit Gesange gepflegt, wenn des ätherischen
  Nektars Kräfte [dich nähren]4,
  Und der schöpf'rische Strahl dich [reift]5.

Wachs und werde zum Wald! eine beseeltere,
Vollentblühende Welt! Sprache der Liebenden
  Sei die Sprache des Landes,
  Ihre Seele der Laut des Volks!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: vom
2 Strauss: schönerer
3 Not set by Strauss
4 Strauss: sich regen
5 Strauss: weiht


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) , "L'amor", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Love", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "L'amour", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Michael Komma

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 174

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
If you forget friends, if you, you grateful ones, revile
All your own, your poets,
   May God forgive it, but [you should] honour
  Only the soul of those who love.

For oh tell, where does human life live otherwise,
When anxiety, the oppressor, now coerces everything?
  Therefore the god, too, walks
  Unconcernedly over our heads for a long time already.

Yet, however cold the year be and songless
At the allotted time, yet from the white field
  Green grass blades sprout after all,
  Often a solitary bird sings,

When the forest gradually expands, the river stirs,
Already the milder air is quietly blown from noon
  At the selected hour,
  Thus a sign of a more beautiful time,

[In which we believe]1, Love still grows
Solely austere, solely noble and pious
  over the immutable, wild terrain,
  God’s daughter, from him alone.

Be blessed, oh be, heavenly plant, nurtured
For me with song, when the powers
  Of the ethereal nectar [are your sustenance]2
  And the creative beam [causes you to ripen]4.

Grow and become a forest! a more soulful
Fully-blossoming world! May the language of lovers
  Be the language of the land,
  Its soul the sound of the people!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Not set by Strauss
2 Strauss: "begins to flow"
3 Strauss: "consecrates you"


  • 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: 2014-06-12
Line count: 28
Word count: 197