by John Donne (1572 - 1631)
Translation © by Daniel Johannsen

Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
Oh my blacke Soule! now thou art summoned
By sicknesse, death's herald, and champion;
Thou art like a pilgrim,  which abroad hath done
Treason, and durst not turne to whence hee is fled,
Or like a thiefe, which till death's doome be read,
Wisheth himselfe deliver'd from prison;
But dam'd and hal'd to execution,
Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned.
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lacke;
But who shall give thee that grace to beginne?
Oh make thyselfe with holy mourning blacke,
And red with blushing, as thou are with sinne;
Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might
That being red, it dyes red soules to white.

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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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Daniel Johannsen) , copyright © 2020, (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: 14
Word count: 114

O meine schwarze Seele, nun bist du...
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
O meine schwarze Seele, nun bist du befallen
von Krankheit, dem Boten und Verfechter des Todes;
bist wie ein Pilger, der in der Fremde Verrat beging
und nicht wagt, dorthin zurückzukehren, von wo er floh,
oder wie ein Dieb, dem sein Todesurteil verkündet wird
und der sich aus dem Kerker sehnt;
aber verdammt und zur Hinrichtung geschleppt,
wünscht er sich, lieber eingesperrt zu sein.
Doch welche Gnade — wenn du bereust, kannst du nicht fehlgehen;
wer aber wird dir jene Gnade erweisen, damit zu beginnen?
O mach dich mit heiliger Klage schwarz
und rot vor Scham, wie du es vor lauter Sünden bist;
oder wasch dich in Christi Blut, das solche Macht hat,
dass es — wenngleich auch rot — rote Seelen weiß färbt.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "Oh my blacke Soule!" = "O meine schwarze Seele"


  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2020 by Daniel Johannsen, (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.

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This text was added to the website: 2020-10-17
Line count: 14
Word count: 124