by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Lied vom Meer
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Uraltes Wehn vom Meer,
Meerwind bei Nacht:
  du kommst zu keinem her;
wenn einer wacht,
so muß er sehn, wie er
dich übersteht:
  uraltes Wehn vom Meer,
welches weht
[nur wie]1 für Ur-Gestein,
lauter Raum
reißend [von]2 weit herein . . .

O wie fühlt dich ein
treibender Feigenbaum
oben im Mondschein.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Gedichte, Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag, 1997, pages 546-547.

1 Jarnach: "wie nur"
2 Apostel, Paulsen: "wie"


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) , "Song of the Sea", subtitle: "Capri. Piccola Marina", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 52

Song of the Sea
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Ancient wafting from the sea,
sea-wind at night:
  you come to no one;
when someone keeps watch,
he must see to it that
he survives you:
  ancient wafting from the sea,
which blows
only as if for ancient rocks,
tearing hence pure expanses
[from]1 afar. . .

O how a budding fig tree
feels you
above in the moonlight.

Subtitle: "Capri. Piccola Marina"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Apostel, Paulsen: "as if from"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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: 2018-11-09
Line count: 14
Word count: 59