Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Idens Schwanenlied
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Wie schaust du aus dem Nebelflor,
O Sonne, bleich und müde!
Es schwirrt der Heimchen heis'rer Chor
Zu meinem Schwanenliede.

Es girrt die scheidende Natur
Ihr Lebewohl so traurig;
Es stehen Busch und Wald und Flur
So trostlos und so schaurig.

Entblättert steht der Erlenhayn,
Entlaubt der [traute]1 Garten,
Wo Er und ich im Mondenschein
Einander bang' erharrten;

Wo Er und ich im Mondenblitz,
Im Schirm der Linde saßen,
Und auf des Rasens weichem Sitz
Der öden Welt vergaßen;

Wo ich, gelehnt an seine Brust,
In süße Träume nickte,
Und holder Wahn, und Edens Lust
Die Träumende durchzückte.

Und schimmerte des Aufgangs Glanz
Durch die verschwiegnen Linden,
Pflegt' ich den schönsten Rosenkranz
Ihm um den Hut zu winden.

Doch, keine Kränze wird hinfort
Dein Mädchen, Freund, dir winden.
Denn unsre Blumen sind verdorrt,
Entlaubt sind unsre Linden.

Ihr Rosen, die der rauhe Ost
In ihrem Knospen pflückte;
Ihr Nelken, die der frühe Frost
Halbaufgeschlossen knickte;

Ist euer Loos nicht auch mein Loos?
Seyd ihr nicht, was ich werde?
Entkeimt' ich nicht, wie ihr, dem Schooß
Der mütterlichen Erde?

Ist nicht mein Halm so jugendlich,
So schlank emporgeschossen?
Hat meiner Blüthen Knospe sich
Nicht drängend aufgeschlossen?

Weckt meiner Augen blaues Licht,
Die Rose meiner Wangen,
Die frische meiner Lippen nicht
Der Jünglinge Verlangen?

Ach, klagt um eure Schwester, klagt
Ihr Rosen und ihr Nelken!
Wie bald, und hin ist meine Pracht,
Und meine Blüthen welken!

Verstreut ist all mein grünes Laub,
Geknickt mein schlanker Stengel,
Mein Staub gebettet in den Staub,
Mein Geist gereift zum Engel!

Der Wandrer, der in meiner Zier,
In meiner Schönheit Schimmer
Mich schaute, kommt und forscht nach mir,
Und sieht mich nimmer, nimmer!

Es kommt der Traute, den ich mir
Erkohren einzig habe. -
[Ach fleuch, Geliebter, fleuch]2 von hier;
Dein Mädchen schläft im Grabe.

[Ach traure, Theurer]3, traure nicht!
Des Grabes Dunkel schwindet,
Und [himmlisch und]4 unsterblich Licht
Glänzt dem, der überwindet.

Triumph! [auf]5 Herbstesdämmerung
[Folgt]6 milder Frühlingsschimmer.
Auf Trennung folgt Vereinigung,
Vereinigung auf immer!

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with L.T.Kosegarten's Poesieen, Neueste Auflage, Zweyter Band, Berlin 1803, pages 126-129; and with Kosegarten's Dichtungen. Siebenter Band. Lyrischer Gedichte Siebentes, achtes, neutes Buch. Greifswald, gedruckt beym Königl. Directeur J.H. Eckhardt. 1813, pages 102-106.

Note: An earlier, substantially different version appeared with the title Ellwieens Schwanenlied in Schiller's Musenalmanach of 1796, with 12 instead of 17 stanzas. Stanzas 3 to 7 have been added in this later version; for the initial version see below. Kosegarten's editions from 1812 on have the shorter title Schwanenlied.

1 later editions (since 1812), and marked as misprint in the Leipzig 1802 edition, also Schubert (Neue Gesamtausgabe, mistakenly): "graue"
2 later editions (since 1812): "Fleuch, süßer Freund, fleuch schnell"
3 later editions (since 1812): "Doch traure, Trauter"
4 later editions (since 1812): "Himmelsglanz,"
5 later editions (since 1812): "Nach"
6 later editions (since 1812): "Sprießt"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Another version of this text exists in the database.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El cant del cigne d'Ida", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Ida's zwanenzang", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Ida's swansong", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Chant du cygne d'Ida", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 68
Word count: 330

Ida's swansong
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
You are looking out from behind the veil of mist
So pale and tired, o sun!
The hoarse chorus of the crickets is buzzing
To accompany my swan song.

Departing nature is cooing
Such a sad farewell;
The bushes, forest and fields are standing there
So inconsolable and so terrifying.

The grove of alders finds itself stripped of its leaves,
The grey garden has lost its leaves,
Where, in the moonshine, he and I
Anxiously used to wait for each other;

Where, in shafts of moonlight, he and I
Would sit under the canopy of the lime tree,
And on the soft seat of the lawn
We forgot the bleak world.

Where I, leaning on his breast
Used to nod off into sweet dreams,
And beautiful illusions and the delight of Eden
Would be summoned up as I dreamt.

And if a glow of sunrise shimmered
Through the secluded lime trees,
I would set about making the most beautiful garland of roses
So that I could wrap it around his hat.

But from now on there will be no garlands
Wrapped around you by your girl, friend.
For our flowers have withered,
Our lime trees have shed their foliage.

You roses, which the rough easterly wind
Plucked while you were still buds;
You carnations, which an early frost
Snapped off while still half closed;

Is your fate not also my fate?
Are you not what I am going to be?
Did I not spring, like you, from the womb
Of mother Earth?

Did not my stem, so youthful,
Spring up so thin?
Didn't the petals of my bud
Burst out so urgently?

Is not the blue light of my eyes woken up,
The roses of my cheeks,
The freshness of my lips, are these not awakened
By desire for that young man?

Oh, lament to your sisters, lament
You roses and you carnations!
How quickly my splendour has gone
And my blossoms wither!

All my green leaves are scattered,
My thin stem has snapped,
My dust is embedded in that dust,
My spirit has matured and become an angel!

The traveller who once saw me fully adorned,
Shimmering in my beauty,
He once beheld me thus but now searches for me
And never, never will he see me!

The familiar one comes, he whom I
Chose to have as my only one . . .
Oh fly away, beloved, fly away from here!
Your girl is asleep in the grave.

Oh, do not mourn, dear one, do not mourn!
The dark of the grave will disappear
And heavenly and undying light
Will shine on those who overcome.

Triumph! After the dusk of autumn
The gentle glow of spring follows,
Separation is followed by reunion,
Reunion for ever!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 by Malcolm Wren, (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: 2017-07-11
Line count: 68
Word count: 457