by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

An die bretterne Schiffswand
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
An die bretterne Schiffswand,
Wo mein träumendes Haupt liegt,
Branden die Wellen, die wilden Wellen;
Sie rauschen und murmeln
Mir heimlich ins Ohr:
"Betörter Geselle!
Dein Arm ist kurz, [und der Himmel ist weit]1
Und die Sterne [droben sind festgenagelt]2
Mit goldnen Nägeln -
Vergebliches Sehnen, vergebliches Seufzen,
Das beste wäre, du schliefest ein."

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Franz: "der Himmel so weit"
2 Franz: "da droben sind fest geschmiedet"


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):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 11
Word count: 54

By the sea
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
At the other side of the wooden wall of the ship
where my dreaming head is lying
the waves are surging, the wild waves; 
they are roaring and murmuring
secretly into my ear,
"You bewitched lad.
Your arm is short [the sky so wide]
and the stars [are fastened so securely up there]
with golden nails --
pointless longing, pointless sighing,
it would be best if you fell asleep."


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2005 by Malcolm Wren, (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: 2005-04-11
Line count: 11
Word count: 68