by Johannes Martin Miller (1750 - 1814)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Es war einmal ein Gärtner
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
  Es war einmal ein Gärtner,
Der sang ein [traurigs]1 Lied.
Er that in seinem Garten
Der Blumen fleißig warten,
Und all sein Fleiß gerieth.
Und all sein Fleiß gerieth.
  Er sang in trübem Muthe
Viel liebe Tage lang.
Von Thränen, die ihm flossen,
Ward manche Pflanz begossen.
Also der Gärtner sang!
Also der Gärtner sang!
  "Das Leben ist mir traurig,
Und gibt mir keine Freud!
Hier schmacht' ich wie die Nelken,
Die in der Sonne welken,
In bangem Herzeleid,"
In bangem Herzeleid.
  "Ey du, mein Gärtnermädchen,
Soll ich dich nimmer sehn?
Du [must[sic]]2 in dunkeln Mauren
Den schönen May vertrauren?
[Must[sic]]2 ohne mich vergehn,
Ach, ohne mich vergehn?"
  "Es freut mich keine Blume,
Weil du die schönste bist.
Ach, dürft ich deiner warten,
Ich liesse meinen Garten,
Sogleich zu dieser Frist,
Sogleich zu dieser Frist!"
  "Seh' ich die Blumen sterben,
Wünsch ich den Tod auch mir.
Sie sterben ohne Regen,
So sterb' ich deinetwegen.
Ach wär' ich doch bey dir!
Ach wär' ich doch bey dir!"
  "Du liebes Gärtnermädchen:
Mein Leben welket ab.
Darf ich nicht bald dich küssen,
Und in den Arm dich schliessen,
So grab' ich mir ein Grab.
So grab' ich mir ein Grab."

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Johann Martin Miller, Siegwart. Eine Klostergeschichte, Faksimiledruck nach der Ausgabe von 1776, mit einem Nachwort von Alain Faure, Zweiter Band, Stuttgart: J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1971, pages 1004-1005

1 von Paradis: "traurig"
2 Türk, von Paradis: "musst"
3 von Paradis: "musst"


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) , 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

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2009-02-03
Line count: 42
Word count: 198

Once there was a gardener
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
  Once there was a gardener
Who sang a sad song.
In his garden he tended
The flowers faithfully,
And all his diligence was rewarded.
And all his diligence was rewarded.
He sang in a gloomy mood
Many long days.
With the tears that flowed from his eyes
Many a plant was watered.
Thus the gardener sang!
Thus the gardener sang!
  "Life is sad for me
And gives me no joy!
Here I languish like the carnations
That wilt in the sun,
In anxious heartache,"
In anxious heartache.
  "Ah you, my gardener-maiden,
Am I never to see you more?
In stony, dark walls
You must mourn away the beautiful May?
Must perish without me,
Ah, perish without me?"
  "No flower pleases me
Because you are the most beautiful [flower].
Ah, if I could take care of you
I would leave my garden,
  "When I see the flowers dying,
I wish myself death as well.
They die without rain,
Thus I die for [love of] you.
Ah, were I but with you!
Ah, were I but with you!"
  "You dear gardener-maiden:
My life withers away.
If I am not soon permitted to kiss you,
And to clasp you in my arms,
I shall dig myself a grave.
I shall dig myself a grave."

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Das Gärtenliedchen aus dem Siegwart" = "The song of the gardener from `Siegwart'"


  • 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.

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This text was added to the website: 2016-05-27
Line count: 42
Word count: 214