by Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804 - 1877)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Language: Swedish (Svenska) 
Available translation(s): ENG FIN FRE
Jag vandrar fram på skogens ban,
Och blickar opp i tall och gran,
Och ofta nog jag fåglar ser,
Men ingen flyger ner.

Och var och en tycks fly den stråt,
Där jag har utsatt mitt försåt,
Och lika tomhänt, som jag kom,
Jag måste vända om.

Jag borde se med sorg och ångst
På min bedragna fågelfångst,
Men huru felt det än må slå,
Är jag förnöjd ändå.

Jag har en snara kvar till slut,
Som aldrig lämnats tom förut,
Dit fågeln lika gärna går,
Som jag densamma får.

Och när jag kommer hem igen,
Jag gillrar än i afton den,
Och flicka lyder fågelns namn,
Och snaran är min famn.


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 (Laura Prichard) , "The birdcatcher", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Linnustaja", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le chasseur d'oiseaux", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: John Versmoren

This text was added to the website: 2004-07-05
Line count: 20
Word count: 112

The birdcatcher
Language: English  after the Swedish (Svenska) 
I wander along the paths of the forest,
And glance up into the pines and firs,
And often enough I see birds,
But none fly near me.

And each one seems to shun the path
Where I have set out my snare,
And equally empty-handed, as [when] I came,
I must turn back.

I should look with sorrow and angst
Upon my being cheated out of catching a bird,
But however wrong it may be,
I’m nevertheless content.

I have one snare left to finish the job,
Which has never been left empty before,
Where the bird is as likely to go,
As would I [to catch it].

And when I come home again,
I set [the snare] at night,
And “flicka” is the bird’s name,
And the snare is my bosom.

Translator's note for line -2: "Flicka" means girl or “she” and here could refer either to a daughter or to a lover.


  • Translation from Swedish (Svenska) to English copyright © 2019 by Laura Prichard, (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: 2019-01-05
Line count: 20
Word count: 132