by Johann Heinrich Voss (1751 - 1826)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Der Maiabend
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG FRE
Umweht von Maiduft, unter des Blütenbaums 
Helldunkel [sahn]1 wir Abendgewölk verglüh'n,
  Des vollen Mond's Aufgang erwartend,
    Und Filomelengesäng' im Thalbusch.

Lau war die Dämmrung, traulicher scherzten wir
Mit nachgeahmter Fröhlichkeit. Bald verstummt
  In holdem Tiefsinn, saß das Mägdlein,
    [Stammelte:]2 wollen wir gehn? und ging nicht.

Die Hand in meiner zitterte. Bleib, o bleib!
Kaum athmend lallt' ich's. Wonne! da fügten wir,
  Nach manchem Freundschaftskuss, den Brautkuss,
    Nicht Filomela noch Mond bemerkend.

F. Mendelssohn-Hensel sets stanzas 1-2

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Sämtliche Gedichte von Johann Heinrich Voß, Th. 3. Oden und Elegien, Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius 1802, page 83f.

1 Mendelssohn-Hensel: "sehn"
2 Mendelssohn-Hensel: "flüsterte"


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "The May evening", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Le soir de Mai", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , title 1: "De Meiavond", copyright © 2017, (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: 12
Word count: 71

The May evening
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Fanned by the scents of May, beneath the light shade of the blossoming tree,
we see the evening clouds dying away
and await the rising of the full moon
and Philomel's song in the valley bush.
Mild was the twilight; we jested familiarly
with mimicking jollity, but soon we fell silent.
Deep in lovely thought sat the maiden,
and we whispered, should we go? but we did not leave.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 8
Word count: 69