by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825 - 1898)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
In der Nacht, die die Bäume mit Blüten deckt,
Ward ich von süßen Gespenstern erschreckt,
Ein Reigen schwang im Garten sich,
Den ich mit leisem Fuß beschlich;
Wie zarter Elfen Chor im Ring
Ein weißer, lebendiger Schimmer ging.
Die Schemen hab' ich keck befragt:
Wer seid ihr, luftige Wesen? Sagt!

"Ich bin ein Wölkchen, gespiegelt im See."
"Ich bin eine Reihe von Stapfen im Schnee."
"Ich bin ein Seufzer gen Himmel empor!"
"Ich bin ein Geheimnis, geflüstert ins Ohr!"
"Ich bin ein frommes, gestorbenes Kind."
"Ich bin ein üppiges Blumengewind -"
"Und die du wählst, und der's beschied
Die Gunst der Stunde, die wird ein Lied."


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) , "Souls of song", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Âmes des chansons", copyright © 2011, (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: 16
Word count: 106

Souls of song
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 In the night that covers the trees with blossoms,
 I was frightened by sweet ghosts:
 a row of them danced about the garden,
 into which I was creeping with light feet.
 Like a delicate elven choir in a ring,
 a white, living shimmer passed by.
 The phantoms I boldly asked:
 "Who are you, airy creatures? Tell me!"
 "I am a cloud, reflected in the lake."
 "I am a row of footsteps in the snow."
 "I am a sigh lifted to heaven!"
 "I am a secret, whispered in the ear!"
 "I am a pious, deceased child."
 "I am a lush wreath of flowers."
 "And that which you choose, and to which the Hours 
 show their goodwill, will become a new song."


  • 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: 16
Word count: 121