by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Die Spinnerin
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Als ich still und ruhig spann,
Ohne nur zu stocken,
Trat ein schöner junger Mann
Nahe mir zum Rocken.

Lobte, was zu loben war,
Sollte das was schaden?
Mein dem Flachse gleiches Haar,
Und den gleichen Faden.

Ruhig war er nicht dabei
Ließ es nicht beim Alten;
Und der Faden riß entzwey,
Den ich lang' erhalten.

Und des Flachses Stein-Gewicht
Gab noch viele Zahlen;
Aber, ach ich konnte nicht
Mehr mit ihnen prahlen.

Als ich sie zum Weber trug
Fühlt' ich was sich regen,
Und mein armes Herze schlug
Mit geschwindern Schlägen.

Nun, beim heißen Sonnenstich,
Bring' ich's auf die Bleiche,
Und mit Mühe bück' ich mich
Nach dem nächsten Teiche.

Was ich in dem Kämmerlein
Still und fein gesponnen,
Kommt - wie kann es anders seyn? -
Endlich an die Sonnen.

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke, Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand, Erster Band, Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cottaschen Buchhandlung, 1827, pages 202-203; and with Göthe's neue Schriften. Siebenter Band. Berlin. Bei Johann Friedrich Unger. 1800, pages 63-64.


Authorship

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La filadora", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De spinster", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "The spinner", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La fileuse", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2017-06-19 05:55:26
Line count: 28
Word count: 132

The spinner
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
As I still und calmly spun,
Without even stopping,
A handsome young man
Approached me at my distaff.

He praised me, as praise was due;
Could that do any harm?
On my flaxen hair, matching [the thread],
And on the flaxen thread.

But he wasn’t content with that,
And wouldn’t let well enough alone;
And the thread snapped into,
Which I had been working on for a long time.

And the flax’s stone-weight
Produced many more threads;
But, alas! I could no longer
Boast about them.

When I took them to the weaver,
I felt something stir,
And my poor heart beat
With a quicker pulse.

Now, in the scorching sun,
I bring out my work to bleach it,
And in pain, I bend myself
Over the nearest pool.

What I, in my little room,
Spun so quietly and finely,
Will see - how can it be otherwise? -
Finally the light of day.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (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.
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Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2016-02-08 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-02-08 09:49:23
Line count: 28
Word count: 154