by Gottfried Keller (1819 - 1890)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Du milchjunger Knabe
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE TUR
Du milchjunger Knabe,
Wie siehst du mich an?
Was haben deine Augen
Für eine Frage getan!

Alle Ratsherrn in der Stadt
Und alle Weisen der Welt
Bleiben stumm auf die Frage,
Die deine Augen gestellt!

Ein leeres Schneckhäusel,
Schau, liegt dort im Gras:
Da halte dein Ohr dran,
Drin brümmelt dir was!


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Set in a modified version by Johannes Brahms.

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • TUR Turkish (Türkçe) (Gül Sabar) , title 1: "Sen toy delikanlı", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "You barely-weaned boy", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Toi, garçon à peine sevré", published 1892, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-02-16
Line count: 12
Word count: 52

You barely‑weaned boy
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
You barely-weaned boy,
How do you look at me?
What sort of a question
Have your eyes asked!

All the councilmen of the town
And all the wise men of the world
Remain mute before the question
That your eyes have posed!

An empty snail shell,
Look, is lying in the grass over there:
Hold your ear against that,
Inside you will hear something droning!


  • 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: 2014-10-27
Line count: 12
Word count: 65