by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 - 1843)
Translation © by John Glenn Paton

Ihr wandelt droben im Licht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG ENG ITA
Ihr wandelt droben im Licht
  Auf weichem Boden, selige Genien!
    Glänzende Götterlüfte
      Rühren euch leicht,
        Wie die Finger der Künstlerin
          Heilige Saiten.

Schicksallos, wie der schlafende
  Säugling, atmen die Himmlischen;
    Keusch bewahrt
      In bescheidener Knospe,
        Blühet ewig
          Ihnen der Geist,
            Und die seligen Augen
              Blicken in stiller
                Ewiger Klarheit.

Doch uns ist gegeben,
  Auf keiner Stätte zu ruh'n;
    Es schwinden, es fallen
      Die leidenden Menschen
        Blindlings von einer
          Stunde [zur]1 andern,
            Wie Wasser von Klippe
              Zu Klippe geworfen,
                Jahrlang in's Ungewisse hinab.

F. Cerha sets stanza 3

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Confirmed with Friedrich Hölderlin's Sämmtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Christoph Theodor Schwab, Erster Band: "Gedichte und Hyperion", Stuttgart und Tübingen, J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag, 1846, pages 122-123; note: the indentation shown above doesn't appear in this edition, but occurs in later editions.

Note: Hyperion is the title character of an unfinished novel in which Hölderlin wrote about the Greek struggle for independence from the Turks.

1 Cerha: "zu"

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Cançó del destí", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Hyperions noodlotslied", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , no title, copyright © 1995
  • ENG English (John Glenn Paton) , "Hyperion's Song of Fate", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Hyperion's Song of Fate", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Canto del destino di Iperione", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-08-12 13:24:41
Line count: 24
Word count: 82

Hyperion's Song of Fate
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
You walk up there in the light
on soft ground, blessed spirits!
Gleaming, divine breezes
touch you lightly,
as a female musician's fingers touch
holy strings.

As fateless as a sleeping
infant, the Heavenly Ones breathe.
Chastely guarded,
as in a modest bud,
eternally bloom
their spirits,
and their blessed eyes
gaze in calm,
eternal clarity.

But it is our fate
to have no rest anywhere.
Vanishing, falling,
suffering human beings
go blindly from one
hour to the next
like water from cliff
to cliff, thrown
downward for years long into Uncertainty.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by John Glenn Paton, (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: 2004-05-26 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:06
Line count: 24
Word count: 92