Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Mit silberweißem Haar, die Augen halb geschlossen,
   Sitz' ich in stiller Burg, ein alter Troubadour.
   Umsonst erneut sich mir die bunte Maienflur,
   Umsonst hat Strom und Bach kristallhell sich ergossen.
Wohin, o Freudigkeit, aus Lieb' und Leid entsprossen[,]
   Wohin entschwandest du? Irr such' ich deine Spur.
   Ein farbig wirres Meer, zeigt mir Erinn'rung nur,
   Und aller Blumen Bild ist formlos drin zerflossen.
Vergeblich sinnend Haupt, laß ab von solchem Tand,
   Auch die Vergangenheit will nicht mehr Rosen bringen;
   Zum Schlummer stütze dich, auf diese welke Hand.
O Gott, was fühl' ich da! der Narbe tiefes Band!
   Montalto habe Dank! Nun kann ich wieder singen;
   Isula ist mein Lied, auch noch an Grabes Rand.

Confirmed with Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, "Folko und Isula. Lieder eines Troubadours," Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1814. Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet, herausgegeben von Dr. St. Schütze, Frankfurt am Mayn: bei Friedrich Wilman, [1814], page 102


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):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "Looking back", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2016-03-30
Line count: 14
Word count: 113

Looking back
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
With silver-white hair, my eyes half closed,
   I sit in the quiet castle, an old troubadour.
   For naught the colourful May meadow renews itself,
   For naught has river and brook poured forth its waters crystal clear.
Whither, oh happiness, sprung forth from love and sorrow[,]
   Whither have you vanished?  Maniacally I seek your trace.
   A colourful chaotic sea is all that memory shows me,
   And the image of every flower has dissolved formlessly within it.
Vainly pondering head, leave off such nonsense,
   The past, too, no longer wishes to bring you roses;
   Lean yourself, ready for slumber, upon this withered hand.
Oh God, what do I feel there! the scar’s deep cord!
   Montalto, my thanks to you!  Now I can sing once more;
   Isula is my song, even at the edge of the grave.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Sharon Krebs, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2016-03-30
Line count: 14
Word count: 134