by Matthias Claudius (1740 - 1815)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Seht meine lieben Bäume an
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG FRE
Seht meine lieben Bäume an,
Wie sie so herrlich stehn,
Auf allen Zweigen angethan
Mit Reiffen wunderschön!

Von unten an bis oben 'naus,
Auf allen Zweigelein,
Hängts weis und zierlich, zart und kraus,
Und kann nicht schöner seyn;

Und alle Bäume rund umher,
All' alle weit und breit,
Stehn da, geschmückt mit gleicher Ehr,
In gleicher Herrlichkeit.

Und sie beäugeln und besehn
Kann jeder Bauersmann,
Kann hin und her darunter gehn,
Und freuen sich daran.

Auch holt er Weib und Kinderlein
Vom kleinen Feuerheerd,
Und Marsch mit in den Wald hinein!
Und das ist wohl was werth.

Einfältiger Natur-Genuß,
Ohn' Alfanz drum und dran,
Ist lieblich, wie ein Liebeskuß
Von einem frommen Mann.

Ihr Städter habt viel schönes Ding,
Viel Schönes überall,
Credit und Geld und golden Ring,
Und Bank und Börsensaal;

Doch Erle, Eiche, Weid' und Ficht'
Im Reiffen nah und fern -
So gut wirds Euch nun einmal nicht,
Ihr lieben reichen Herr'n!

Das hat Natur, nach ihrer Art
Gar eignen Gang zu gehn,
Uns Bauersleuten aufgespart,
Die anders nichts verstehn.

Viel schön, viel schön ist unser Wald!
Dort Nebel überall,
Hier eine weiße Baumgestalt
Im vollen Sonnenstrahl

Lichthell, still, edel, rein und frey,
Und über alles fein! -
O aller Menschen Seele sey
So lichthell und so rein!

Wir sehn das an, und denken noch
Einfältiglich dabey:
Woher der Reif, und wie er doch
Zu Stande kommen sey?

Denn gestern Abend, Zweiglein rein!
Kein Reiffen in der That! -
Muß einer doch gewesen seyn,
Der ihn gestreuet hat!

Ein Engel Gottes geht bey Nacht,
Streut heimlich hier und dort,
Und wenn der Bauersmann erwacht,
Ist er schon wieder fort.

Du Engel, der so gütig ist,
Wir sagen Dank und Preis.
O mach' uns doch zum heil'gen Christ
Die Bäume wieder weis!

F. Schubert sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with ASMUS omnia sua SECUM portans, oder Sämmtliche Werke des Wandsbecker Bothen, IV. Theil. Beym Verfasser, und in Commißion bey Friedrich Perthes in Hamburg. [1782], pages 7-10.

Poem headed with:

   d.d. den 7. December 1780. Wandsbeck

   Sirach C. 43. v. 21.
   Er schüttet den Reiffen
   auf die Erde wie Salz.


Authorship

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Het lied van de rijp", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "A Song of Frost", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-02-15 02:37:55
Line count: 60
Word count: 294

Look at my beloved trees
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Look at my beloved trees,
How majestically they are standing,
All their branches having been spread
With stunningly beautiful hoar frost!

From top to bottom,
On all the twigs,
It is hanging white and delicate, tender and twisted,
And it couldn't be more beautiful;

And all the trees round about,
Absolutely all of them as far as the eye can see,
Are standing there adorned with the same glory,
In the same majesty.

They can be seen and gaped at
By any of the farm-workers,
He can go up and down
And take pleasure in them.

He even brings his wife and kids
Away from the fire-side,
And they process together into the woods!
And that is well worth doing.

Simple enjoyment of nature,
With no complicated ins and outs,
Is lovely, like a loving kiss 
From a pious man.

You townspeople have lots of beautiful things,
A great deal that is beautiful in general,
Credit and money and golden rings,
And banks and stock exchanges;

But alder trees, oaks, pastures and spruce trees
Covered in hoar frost near and far - 
You don't have anything as good as that
You dear rich lords!

That is something that nature, in its own way
And following its own path,
Has reserved for us farming people
Who understand nothing else.

So very beautiful, our woods are so very beautiful!
Over there mist is everywhere,
Here there is the shape of a white tree
In full sunlight

Bright light, quiet, noble and free,
And, on top of everything, refined! - 
May all human souls be
As brightly lit and as pure!

We look on that and we think
About it in a simple way:
Where did the frost come from, and how
Did it come to be like that?

Because yesterday evening, pure twig!
There was no sign of any frost! -
There must have been someone 
Who scattered it!

One of God's angels goes around at night
Secretly scattering here and there,
And when the farm labourer wakes up
He has already gone away.

You angel, who are so good,
We offer you our thanks and praise.
Oh, for the sake of the blessed Christ, just make
The trees white again!

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Frühlingslied eines Landmannes" = "Spring song of a worker on the land"
"Das Lied vom Reifen" = "The song of frost"
"Ein Lied vom Reiffen" = "A song of frost"


Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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.
    Contact: 

Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2018-03-16 00:00:00
Last modified: 2018-03-16 18:03:58
Line count: 60
Word count: 369