by Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875)
Translation © by Geoffrey Cooper

Du fatter ej Bølgernes evige Gang
Language: Danish (Dansk) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE GER
Du fatter ej Bølgernes evige Gang,
Ej Aanden, som svulmer i Tonernes Klang,
Ej Følelsen dybt i Blomstens Duft,
Sollysets Flamme mod Storm og Luft,
De Fugles Kviddren af Længsel og Lyst,
Og tror dog, Du fatter en Digters Bryst?

Der svulmer det mer end i Bølgens Gang,
Der findes jo Kilden til hver en Sang,
Der voxer Blomsten med evig Duft,
Der brænder det uden den kjølende Luft,
Der kjæmpe Aander i Længsel og Lyst,
De kjæmpe mod Døden dybt i hans Bryst!

About the headline (FAQ)


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 (Geoffrey Cooper) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Tu ne comprends pas l'éternel mouvement des flots", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Du fasst nicht der Wogen ewigen Gang", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 84

You do not understand the eternal...
Language: English  after the Danish (Dansk) 
You do not understand the eternal movement of the waves
nor the spirit that swells in the sonorous tone
nor feelings deep in a flower's scent
nor sunlight flaming against storm and wind
nor the bird's chirping of longing and pleasure
And so you think you understand a Poet's Breast?

It swells more than the movement of the waves
You find, indeed, the source of every song
The flowers with everlasting fragrance
It burns without a cooling breeze,
Fighting the spirits with longing and pleasure
he fights against death, deep in his breast!

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "En Digters Bryst" = "A poet's breast"


  • Translation from Danish (Dansk) to English copyright © 2017 by Geoffrey Cooper, (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: 2017-10-15
Line count: 12
Word count: 93