by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 - 1838)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Der Spielmann
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Danish (Dansk) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE ITA
Im Städtchen gibt es des Jubels viel,
Da halten sie Hochzeit mit Tanz und [mit]1 Spiel.
[Dem]2 Fröhlichen blinket der Wein so rot,
Die Braut nur gleicht dem getünchten Tod.

Ja tot für den, den nicht sie vergißt,
Der doch beim Fest nicht Bräutigam ist:
Da steht er immitten der Gäste im Krug,
Und [streichet]3 die Geige lustig genug.

Er [streichet]3 die Geige, sein Haar ergraut,
Es [springen]4 die Saiten gellend und laut,
Er drückt sie ans Herz und achtet es nicht,
Ob auch sie in tausend Stücken zerbricht.

Es ist gar grausig, wenn einer so stirbt, 
Wenn jung sein Herz um Freude noch wirbt.
Ich mag und will nicht länger es sehn!
Das möchte den Kopf mir schwindelnd verdrehn. --

Wer heißt euch mit Fingern zeigen auf mich?
O Gott - bewahr uns gnädiglich,
Daß keinen der Wahnsinn übermannt;
Bin selber ein armer Musikant.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 : omitted in Fibich
2 : Fibich: "Den"
3 : note: in Fischer-Dieskau's Book of Lieder (1977), this is "streichelt" (for Schumann); however the 1981 edition and all scores consulted appear to have "streichet".
4 Fibich, Schumann: "schwingen"


Based on

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 músic", copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CZE Czech (Čeština) [singable] (Otakar Kučera) , no title
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De speelman", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The fiddler", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le violoneux", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "Il musicante", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-20
Line count: 20
Word count: 144

The fiddler
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
In the little town there is much festivity:
they are holding a wedding there with dance and play.
To the happy man, the wine sparkles so red;
but the bride looks like whitewashed death.

Yes, dead she is to him whom she cannot forget;
he is at the feast but not as the bridegroom.
He stands among the guests at the inn,
bowing his fiddle blithely enough.

He scrapes at his fiddle, his hair turning grey.
The strings resound: shrill and loud;
he presses it to his heart, paying no heed
whether it breaks into a thousand pieces.

It is quite hideous when one dies this way,
his heart young and still striving for joy.
I cannot and will not watch any longer!
It will make my head spin.

Who are you, with your fingers pointing at me?
O God - graciously protect us
from the madness that may overwhelm us.
For I am myself a poor musician.


  • 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 onBased on


This text was added to the website: 2003-11-20
Line count: 20
Word count: 158