by Nikolaus Lenau (1802 - 1850)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Traurige Wege
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Bin mit dir im Wald gegangen;
Ach! wie war der Wald so froh!
Alles grün, die Vögel sangen,
Und das scheue Wild entfloh.

Wo die Liebe frei und offen
Rings von allen Zweigen schallt,
Ging die Liebe ohne Hoffen
Traurig durch den grünen Wald.

Bin mit dir am Fluß gefahren;
Ach! wie war die Nacht so mild!
Auf der Flut, der sanften, klaren,
Wiegte sich des Mondes Bild.

Lustig scherzten die Gesellen;
Unsre Liebe schwieg und sann,
Wie mit jedem Schlag der Wellen
Zeit und Glück vorüberrann.

Graue Wolken niederhingen,
Durch die Kreuze strich der West,
Als wir einst am Kirchhof gingen;
Ach! wie schliefen sie so fest!

An den Kreuzen, an den Steinen
Fand die Liebe keinen Halt;
Sahen uns die Toten weinen,
Als wir dort vorbeigewallt?


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):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Sad paths", copyright © 2015
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Tristes chemins", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 128

Sad paths
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I walked with you in the wood;
Ah, how lovely were the woods!
All was green, the birds were singing,
And the shy creatures fled from us.

Where Love freely and openly
Echoed from every branch,
Our love moved without hope,
Mournfully through the green woods.

I went with you to the river;
Ah, how mild was the night!
On the waters, gentle and clear,
Rocked the reflection of the moon.

Our friends jested merrily;
But our love was mute and could feel
How with every slap of the waves
Time and happiness were slipping away.

Grey clouds hung low,
The West Wind streaked through the crosses
When we passed the graveyard once;
Ah, how fast asleep they were!

Beside the crosses, beside the stones,
Love could find no foothold;
Did the dead see us weeping
As we passed by them there?


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2015 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: 2015-12-01
Line count: 24
Word count: 142