Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht,
  Das in die Lüfte scholl?
Der Frühling fand's in lauer Nacht,
  Das Herz [von]1 Wonne voll;
Er sang es früh im Fliederbaum
  Und schlug den [Tact]2 dazu:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

Da kamen Mück' und Käferlein,
  Waldvöglein [sonder]3 Zahl;
[Die]4 übten [sich die Weise]5 ein,
  Wohl an die tausend Mal.
Sie trugen's durch den Himmelsraum
  Und durch die Waldesruh:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

Mir sang's am Bach die Nachtigall,
  Da ward mir wonnig weh;
Nun folgt das Lied mir überall
  Durch [Duft]6 und Blütenschnee.
Ich pflück' den Zweig vom Fliederbaum
  Und sing' es immerzu:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Die Gartenlaube. Illustrirtes Familienblatt, Band XXVII, Nr. 23 (1879), page 386.

1 Weidt: "vor"
2 Abt, Busoni: "Takt"
3 Abt: "ohne"
4 Busoni: "Sie"
5 Weidt: "ihre Weisen"
6 Busoni: "Luft"

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):

  • ENG English (John H. Campbell) , "Who invented the first song", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , John H. Campbell , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor] , Johann Winkler

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 122

Who devised the first song
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Who devised the first song 
  That rang out into the breezes?
'Twas springtime that found it in the balmy night,
  Its heart full of bliss;
Early on [Spring] sang it to the lilac tree
  And beat time to it:
"Oh May-time, oh Love’s dream,
  What is as sweet as you are?"

Along came mosquitos and little beetles,
  Forest birds without number;
They practised the melody until they knew it,
  Well nigh a thousand times.
They carried it through the expanses of the sky
  And through the peace of the forest:
"Oh May-time, oh Love’s dream,
  What is as sweet as you are?"

A nightingale sang it to me by the brook,
  Thereupon I felt so blissfully heartsore;
Now the song follows me everywhere
  Through [scent]1 and blossom-snow.
I pick a branch from the lilac tree
  And I sing it incessantly:
"Oh May-time, oh Love’s dream,
  What is as sweet as you are?"

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Translations of title(s):
"Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht" = "Who devised the first song"
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum" = "Oh May-time, oh Love’s dream"
"Das erste Lied" = "The first song"
"Maienzeit und Liebestraum" = "May-time and Love’s dream"

1 Busoni: "the air"

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 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.
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Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2019-12-10
Line count: 24
Word count: 152