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