by Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Sie konnte mir kein Wörtchen sagen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Sie konnte mir kein Wörtchen sagen,
Zu viele Lauscher waren wach,
Den Blick nur durft ich schüchtern fragen,
Und wohl verstand ich, was er sprach.
Leis [komm']1 ich her in deine Stille,
Du schön belaubtes [Buchenzelt]2,
Verbirg in deiner grünen Hülle
Die Liebenden dem Aug' der Welt!

Von ferne mit verworrnem Sausen
Arbeitet der geschäft'ge Tag,
Und durch der Stimmen hohles Brausen
Erkenn' ich schwerer Hämmer Schlag.
So sauer ringt die kargen Loose
Der Mensch dem harten Himmel ab,
Doch leicht erworben, aus dem Schooße
Der Götter fällt das Glück herab.

Daß ja die Menschen nie es hören,
Wie treue Lieb' uns still beglückt!
Sie können nur die Freude stöhren,
Weil Freude nie sie selbst entzückt.
Die Welt wird nie das Glück erlauben,
Als Beute [wird es nur]3 gehascht,
Entwenden mußt du's oder rauben,
Eh dich die Mißgunst überrascht.

Leis auf den Zähen kommt's geschlichen,
Die Stille liebt es und die Nacht,
Mit schnellen Füßen ist's entwichen,
Wo des Verräthers Auge wacht.
O schlinge dich, du sanfte Quelle,
Ein breiter Strom um uns herum,
Und drohend mit empörter Welle
Vertheidige dieß Heiligthum.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Friederich Schiller, Erster Theil, Leipzig, 1800, bey Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, pages 15-16; and with Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1798. herausgegeben von Schiller. Tübingen, in der J.G.Cottaischen Buchhandlung, pages 299-300.

1 Schiller (Musenalmanach): "schleich"
2 Schubert (D. 250, Neue Gesamtausgabe): "Buchengrün"
3 Schubert (D. 793): "nur wird es"

See also Zelter's Im Garten which uses some pieces from this poem.


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) , "El secret", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De geheime schuilplaats", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "The secret", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le secret", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Ulrich Eisenlohr , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-02-24 12:29:54
Line count: 32
Word count: 182

The secret
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
She couldn't even say the smallest word to me,
Too many listeners were paying attention;
I could only shyly question her look,
And I clearly understood what that was saying.
I have come here softly into your silence,
You beautifully leaved tent of beech trees,
In your green covering, hide
The lovers from the eyes of the world!

From afar, with a confused roar,
Busy day is at work,
And within the noises of hollow roaring
I recognise the beating of heavy hammers.
Wrestling their meagre lot is so bitter
For humans taking on the harsh will of heaven;
However, easily won, from the lap
Of the gods happiness descends on us.

Let us hope that other people will never hear
How secretly happy we are made by devoted love!
They can only disturb the joy
Since they have never been delighted by joy themselves.
The world will never permit happiness,
It will just be hunted as prey,
You will have to steal it or commit robbery,
Before you are overtaken by envy.

It slips in gently on tiptoe,
It loves quietness and the night,
It runs off on quick feet,
Wherever a traitor's eye is keeping watch.
Oh gentle fountain, throw out
A wide stream around us,
And threatening with rising waves,
Defend this sanctuary.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 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.
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Text added to the website: 2016-08-29 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-08-29 11:20:27
Line count: 32
Word count: 216