by Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Laura am Klavier
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Wenn dein Finger durch die Saiten meistert -
Laura, izt zur Statue entgeistert,
  Izt entkörpert steh ich da.
Du gebietest über Tod und Leben,
Mächtig wie von tausend Nervgeweben
  Seelen fordert Philadelphia; -

Ehrerbietig leiser rauschen
Dann die Lüfte, dir zu lauschen
  Hingeschmidet zum Gesang
  Stehn im ewgen Wirbelgang,
Einzuziehn die Wonnefülle,
Lauschende Naturen stille,
  Zauberin! mit Tönen, wie
  Mich mit Blicken, zwingst du sie.

Seelenvolle Harmonieen wimmeln,
  Ein wollüstig Ungestüm,
Aus den Saiten, wie aus ihren Himmeln
  Neugebohrne Serafim;
Wie des Chaos Riesenarm entronnen,
Aufgejagt vom Schöpfungssturm die Sonnen
  Funkend fuhren aus der Finsternuß,
  Strömt der goldne Saitenguß.

Lieblich izt wie über bunten Kieseln
Silberhelle Fluten rieseln, -
  Majestätisch prächtig nun
  Wie des Donners Orgelton,
Stürmend von hinnen izt wie sich von Felsen
Rauschende schäumende Gießbäche wälzen,
  Holdes Gesäusel bald,
    Schmeichlerisch linde,
  Wie durch den Espenwald
    Buhlende Winde,
Schwerer nun und melancholisch düster
Wie durch todter Wüsten Schauernachtgeflüster,
  Wo verlornes Heulen schweift,
  Thränenwellen der Kozytus schleift.

Mädchen sprich! Ich frage, gieb mir Kunde:
Stehst mit höhern Geistern du im Bunde?
  Ists die Sprache, lüg mir nicht,
  Die man in Elysen spricht?

Von dem Auge weg der Schleyer!
  Starre Riegel von dem Ohr!
Mädchen! Ha! schon athm' ich freier,
Läutert mich ätherisch Feuer?
  Tragen Wirbel mich empor? - -

Neuer Geister Sonnensize
Winken durch zerrißner Himmel Rize -
  Ueberm Grabe Morgenroth!
Weg, ihr Spötter, mit Insektenwize!
  Weg! Es ist ein Gott - - - -

Confirmed with Anthologie auf das Jahr 1782, anonymously edited by Schiller with the fake publishing information "Gedrukt in der Buchdrukerei zu Tobolsko", actually published by Johann Benedict Metzler in Stuttgart; pages 19-21.

This is the initial version of the poem which has two more stanzas, which were suppressed by Schiller in later editions, see below.


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

    [ None yet in the database ]

Set in a modified version by Franz Peter Schubert.

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

  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Laura at the keyboard", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2017-07-21
Line count: 50
Word count: 235

Laura at the keyboard
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
When your fingers take control of the strings,
Laura, I am at the same time turned into a lifeless statue
And a spirit outside of its body as I stand there.
You command both death and life,
You are powerful, like [Jacob] Philadelphia
Demanding a thousand souls woven from nerves!

They are more gentle as they show homage, those rustling
Breezes, so that they can listen to you;
Welded to the song
The eternal turmoil stands still,
Breathing in the fullness of joy,
Listening nature is quiet.
Sorceress! You use notes, in the same way
That you use glances on me, to control them.

Soulful harmonies are bursting out,
A voluptuous impetuosity
Comes out of those strings, like
Newborn Seraphim coming out of their heaven;
As, having escaped the giant arms of Chaos,
Driven away by the storm of creation, the suns
Went off shining out of the darkness,
Similarly the golden greeting of the strings streams forth.

Lovingly now, as over bright pebbles
Silver-bright waters trickle,
Now majestically splendid,
Like the tone of an organ, like thunder,
Pouring down now, as if over a cliff,
Like rushing, frothing torrents, rolling,
Suddenly a beauteous murmuring,
Flatteringly gentle,
Like seductive winds blowing through
Aspen woods,
Heavier now, and more serious and melancholy,
Like terrifying night whispering through dead wastelands
Where lost howling souls wander,
Where Cocytus drags its waves of tears.

Girl, speak! I beg you, let me know:
Are you in league with higher spirits?
Don't lie to me, is that the language
That they speak in Elysium?

Take the veil from your eyes!
The rigid plugs out of your ears!
Girl! Ha! I am already breathing more freely,
Are you going to purify me with ethereal fire?
Is a tornado going to carry me away?

The sunny seats of new spirits
Are beckoning to me through the gaps in the sky - 
There is dawn over the grave!
Begone, those of you who mock, with your insect wits!
Begone! There is a God - -


  • 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.

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This text was added to the website: 2017-07-31
Line count: 50
Word count: 336