by Matthias Claudius (1740 - 1815)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Ich bin vergnügt, im Siegeston
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
    nach der Melodie: My mind a kingdom is,
    in den Reliques of antient Poetry.

Ich bin vergnügt, im Siegeston
Verkünd' es mein Gedicht,
Und mancher Mann mit seiner Kron
Und Scepter ist es nicht.
Und wär' er's auch; nun, immerhin!
Mag [er's]1! so ist er, was ich bin.

Des Sultans Pracht, des Mogols Geld,
Des Glück, wie hieß er doch,
Der, als er Herr war von der Welt,
Zum Mond hinauf sah noch? -
Ich wünsche nichts von alle dem,
Zu lächeln drob fällt mir bequem.

Zufrieden seyn, das ist mein Spruch!
Was hülf mir Geld und Ehr?
Das, was ich hab', ist mir genug,
Wer klug ist wünscht nicht [sehr]2;
Denn, was man wünschet, wenn man's hat,
So ist man darum doch nicht satt.

Und Geld und Ehr ist obendrauf
Ein sehr zerbrechlich Glaß.
Der Dinge wunderbarer Lauf,
(Erfahrung lehret das)
Verändert wenig oft in viel,
Und setzt dem reichen Mann sein Ziel.

Recht thun, und edel seyn und gut,
Ist mehr als Geld und Ehr;
Da hat man immer guten Muth
Und [Freude]3 um sich her,
Und man ist stolz, und mit sich eins,
Scheut kein Geschöpf und fürchtet keins.

Ich bin vergnügt, im Siegeston
Verkünd' es mein Gedicht,
Und mancher Mann mit [einer]4 Kron
Und Scepter ist es nicht.
Und wär' er's auch; nun, immerhin!
Mag [er's]1! so ist er, was ich bin.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with ASMUS omnia sua SECUM portans, oder Sämmtliche Werke des Wandsbecker Bothen, I. und II. Theil. Beym Verfasser, und in Commißion bey Fr. Perthes in Hamburg. [1774], pages 97-99; with ASMUS omnia sua SECUM portans, oder Sämmtliche Werke des Wandsbecker Bothen, Erster und zweiter Theil. Wandsbeck, 1774. Beym Verfasser, pages 60-61; and with Poetische Blumenlese auf das Jahr 1774. Göttingen und Gotha, bey Johann Christian Dieterich, pages 170-171. Here the poem's title is "Zufriedenheit".

Note: First published in Der Wandsbecker Bothe, Ao.1771, No.99. Freytags, den 21. Junius. Here the poem has no title, but an introductory paragraph:

 Das folgende Lied scheint mit einem Liede "my mind a kingdom is etc." 
in den Reliques of ancient Poetry Aehnlichkeit zu haben. Ob es eine freie
Uebersetzung dieses Liedes oder eine sclavische Nachahmung oder ob es nichts 
von beiden sey, das mag der Leser entscheiden, der sie beide gelesen hat.

Two versions of the quoted poem can be found here and here.

1 Schubert (D. 362, and second version of D. 501): "er's doch"
2 Claudius (Wandsbeck 1774 edition): "mehr"
3 Claudius (Musenalmanach): "Freuden"
4 Schubert: "seiner", as in stanza 1

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) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Tevredenheid", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 38
Word count: 227

I am happy, in victorious tones
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I am happy, in victorious tones
My poem declares it,
And many a man with his crown
And scepter is not [happy].
And if he were: well, all the better!
[Let him]1 be! He is as I am [now].

The sultan’s splendor, the mogul’s money,
The luck of what’s-his-name,
Of he who, when he was lord of the world,
Still had his eye on the moon?
I don’t want any of that,
I’m content just to smile at it.

To be content, that is my motto!
[What use to me are money and honor?
That, which I have, is enough for me,
He who is clever doesn’t want more;
As, when one wants that which one already has,
He may still not be satisfied with it.]2

And money and honor are more
Fragile3 than glass.
[This is] the way of wonderful things,
(Experience teaches that)
It evolves slowly but constantly,
And is the goal of the rich man.

Do what is right and noble and good,
As that matters more than money and honor;
As one will always be in good spirits
And be surrounded by joy
And one will be proud of yourself,
Shunnig and fearing no other creature.

I am happy, in victorious tones
My poem declares it,
And many a man with his crown
And scepter is not [happy].
And if he were: well, all the better!
[Let him]1 be! He is as I am [now].

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Translation of title "Lied" = "Song"
1 Schubert: "Just let him"
2 omitted by Schubert.
3 literally, "breakable"

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

 

This text was added to the website: 2016-05-17
Line count: 36
Word count: 239