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by Gustav Pfarrius (1800 - 1884)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Das Irrlicht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Irrlichtchen fein und klein,
Kannst nicht gefährlich sein,
Bist lustig anzuschau'n, --
Doch will ich dir nicht trau'n.

Irrlichtchen, wie du hüpfst,
Durch Busch und Gräser schlüpfst! --
Mir ist des Baches Rand
Und Wies' und Wald bekannt.

Irrlichtchen, wie du lockst,
Bald eilst, bald wieder stockst! --
Ich halte fest den Pfad,
Auf dem ins Thal ich trat.

Irrlichtchen, bist getreu,
Ich seh' dich ohne Scheu,
Wer trüg'risch dich genannt,
Dem fehlte der Verstand.

Irrlichtchen bist -- o weh,
Im Unkensumpf ich steh'!
Verwirrung, Nacht und Graus!
Wer hilft mir hier heraus?

Confirmed with Gustav Pfarrius, Die Waldlieder, Köln: Verlag der M. DuMont-Schonberg'schen Buchhandlung, 1850, page 13


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):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "Will-o'-the-wisp", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2011-07-17
Line count: 20
Word count: 89

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Little will-o'-the-wisp, delicate and small,
You cannot be dangerous,
You are delightful to watch, ---
But I shall not trust you.

Little will-o'-the-wisp, how you leap about,
Through bush and grasses you slip! --
I am familiar with the edge of the brook
And the meadow and the woods.

Little will-o'-the-wisp, how you entice me,
Now you hurry, now again you stay put! --
I stick firmly to the path
Upon which I entered the valley.

Little will-o'-the-wisp, you are faithful,
I look upon you without hesitation,
Whoever called you deceitful
Must not have had all his wits about him.

Little will-o'-the-wisp, -- oh woe
I’m standing in the toad-swamp!
Confusion, night and horror!
Who shall help me out of here?


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 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: 2017-05-04
Line count: 20
Word count: 118