by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

I felt a funeral in my brain
Language: English 
Available translation(s): CAT FRE GER GER ITA
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of [lead]1.
Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.

And then a plank in reason, broke,
And I dropped down and down --
And hit a world at every plunge,
And finished knowing -- then --

A. Copland sets stanzas 1-4

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Copland: "lead, again"


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "J'ai senti un enterrement dans ma tête", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , title 1: "Vaig sentir un funeral al meu cap", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:26
Line count: 20
Word count: 115

Begräbnis fühlt’ ich im Gehirn
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Begräbnis fühlt’ ich im Gehirn:
Trauernde her und hin
bewegten und bewegten sich,
bis sich ergab ein Sinn.

Und als sie Platz genommen,
tönt dumpfer Trommelklang:
es schlug und schlug bis es mir schien,
es raubt mir den Verstand.

Dann hört’ ich, wie ein Sarg sich hob,
wie Stiefelknarren stach
durchs Herze mir, und dann im All
ein voll Geläut anbrach.

Die Himmel nur ein Glockenton,
ein Hören nur mein Sein,
mein Ich, die Ruh ein fremd Geschlecht,
gestrandet und allein.

Dann brach der Dachstuhl der Vernunft
und stürzt’ und stürzt’ hinab,
schlug Sturz um Sturz auf eine Welt
bis all Erkennen schwand.

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  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2015 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

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Text added to the website: 2015-06-10 00:00:00
Last modified: 2015-06-10 10:53:21
Line count: 20
Word count: 103