by Theobald Rehbaum (1835 - 1918)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Die Perle
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ich bin des Meeres zartweiße Tochter,
Es war die Muschel
Die mich gebar.
Dort in der Enge meiner dunkeln Wiege
Friedlich ich liege,
Sicher vor Gefahr.

Zärtlich am Busen die Mutter mich heget;
Treulich sie pfleget
Und schirmet sie mich.
Habe nach Luft nicht, nach Licht kein Verlangen,
Bin nicht gefangen,
Nein, frei bin ich.

Weh! wenn gewaltsam aus Mutterarmen
Man ohne Erbarmen
Grausam mich doch
Entführen könnte zum Licht dem grellen
Aus blauen Wellen
Ins Sklavenjoch!

Wenn auf dem Markt ich wäre zu sehen,
Verkauft zu gehen
Von Hand zu Hand,
Nur an die Reichen, die kaum mich achten,
Mich nur betrachten
Als Spiel und Tand.

Endlich wohl fügte man fast wie zum Hohne
In eine Krone
Von Dornen mich.
Gleich einer Träne dann aus wundem Herzen
In Trennungsschmerzen
Dort glänzte ich.


Based on

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: "The pearl", 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: 2011-05-01
Line count: 30
Word count: 133

The pearl
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I am the delicately white daughter of the sea,
It was the mollusk
That gave birth to me.
There in the confines of my dark cradle
I lie peacefully,
Safe from harm.
My mother holds me tenderly to her breast;
Faithfully she cares for
And protects me.
I have no desire for air or for light,
I am not imprisoned,
No, I am free.
Woe! if from my mother’s arms, forcefully,
Without mercy,
Horribly, one could
Abduct me into the glaring light,
From the blue waves
Into the yoke of slavery!
If I were to be on view in the marketplace,
Sold, to be passed
From hand to hand,
Only to the rich, who hardly pay me mind,
Who see me only
As sport and frippery.
Finally, almost as a mockery, one might well fasten me
Into a crown
Of thorns.
There, like a tear then from a wounded heart,
In the throes of the pain of separation
I would gleam.


  • 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: 2016-10-01
Line count: 30
Word count: 161