by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer (1787 - 1836)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Der Knabe seufzt übers grüne Meer,
Vom fernenden Ufer kam er her.
Er wünscht sich mächtige Schwingen:
Die sollten ihn ins heimische Land,
Woran ihn ewige Sehnsucht mahnt,
Im rauschenden Fluge bringen.

»O Heimweh! unergründlicher Schmerz,
Wie folterst du das junge Herz;
Kann Liebe dich nicht verdrängen?
So willst du die Frucht, die herrlich reift,
Die Gold und flüssiger Purpur streift,
Mit tödtlichem Feuer versengen?

Ich liebe, ich rase -ich hab' sie gesehn.
Die Lüfte durchschnitt sie im Sturmeswehn
Auf löwengezogenem Wagen,
Ich mußte flehn: o nimm mich mit!
Mein Leben ist düster und abgeblüht;
Wirst du meine Bitte versagen?

Sie schaute mit gütigem Lächeln zurück;
Nach Thracien zog uns das Löwengespann,
Da dien' ich als Priester, ihr eigen.
Den Rasenden kränzt ein seliges Glück:
Der Aufgewachte schaudert zurück -
Kein Gott will sich hülfreich erzeigen.

Dort, hinter den Bergen, im scheidenden Strahl
Des Abends, entschlummert mein väterlich Thal;
O wär' ich jenseits der Wellen!«
Seufzet der Knabe, doch Cymbelgetön
Verkündet die Göttin; er stürzt von Höh'n
In Gründe und waldige Stellen.

Note: Schubert received Mayrhofer's texts generally in handwriting; the printed edition of Mayrhofer's poems appeared much later and presents the texts usually in a revised version.

Note: In the poem by Catullus, he is metamorphosed by Cybele into a fir-tree.


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

Another version of this text exists in the database.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Atis", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Atys", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Atys", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Atys", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-09-15
Line count: 30
Word count: 172

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The youth sighs, gazing out across the green sea:
from a far-off shore he came here;
he yearns for powerful wings
to take him to the homeland
for which he eternally longs,
bringing him there in a rushing flight.

"Oh homesickness! bottomless pain,
why do you torture this young heart?
Can Love not suppress you?
This fruit that ripens so gloriously,
 striped with gold and flowing purple,
will you then scorch it with your deadly fire?

"I love, I rage, I have seen her;
She cut through the air in a stormy whirl,
On a chariot drawn by lions;
I had to beg her - oh, take me with you!
My life is gloomy and faded;
Will you ignore my plea?

She gazed at me with a kindly smile;
To Thrace the lions took us,
and there I serve her as a priest.
The madman is crowned with blissful happiness,
but the lucid man recoils:
no God will lend him aid.

"There, beyond the mountain, in the departing ray
of evening, slumbers my native valley.
Oh that I were on the other side of this water!"
sighs the youth. But the clang of cymbals
announces the Goddess; he tumbles from the heights
and into the floor of the forest.*


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on:


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 30
Word count: 209