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