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by Felix Ludwig Julius Dahn (1834 - 1912)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Der beste Vogel, den ich weiß, der hat...
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der beste Vogel, den ich weiß, der hat kein bunt Gefieder, 
Sein Kleid ist schlicht, sein Ton ist leis, doch süß sind seine Lieder.
Der Vogel fliegt am Bache nicht, sitzt nicht auf grünen Weiden,
Er wohnet nicht im Buchwald dicht, streicht nicht auf grauer Heiden[.]
Er singt -- ist doch kein Nachtigall! -- bei Mondlicht und bei Sternen:
Er hat allein so süßen Schall, kein andrer kann ihn lernen: 
Er hat nur einen einz'gen Laut für alle Lust und Schmerzen 
Und hat sein kleines Nest gebaut in meines Liebchens Herzen.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Felix Dahn's Sämtliche Werke poetischen Inhalts, Band XVI, Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1898, page 66.


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 (Sharon Krebs) , "The bird-nest", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-12-22
Line count: 8
Word count: 89

The bird‑nest
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The best bird that I know, it has no colourful plumage,
Its garb is simple, its voice is soft, but sweet are its songs.
The bird does not fly along the brook, does not sit in green willows,
It does not live in the dense beech forest, does not range about on the grey heath[.]
It sings -- yet it's not a nightingale! -- in the moonlight and when there are stars:
It alone has such a sweet sound, no one else can learn it:
It has only a single tone for all joys and sorrows
And it has built its little nest in the heart of my beloved.


  • 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2019-12-22
Line count: 8
Word count: 107