by Georg Scheurlin (1802 - 1872)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Der Tannenbaum
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der Tannenbaum steht schweigend,
Einsam auf grauer Höh';
Der Knabe schaukelt im Nachen
Entlang dem blauen See.

Tief in sich selbst versunken
Die Tanne steht und sinnt,
Der Knabe kos't der Welle,
Die schäumend vorüberrinnt.

"Du Tannenbaum dort oben,
Du alter finstrer Gesell,
Was schaust du stets so trübe
Auf mich zu dieser Stell'?"

Da rühret er mit Trauern
Der dunklen Zweige Saum,
Und spricht in leisen Schauern,
Der alte Tannenbaum:

"Daß schon die Axt mich suchet
Zu deinem Todenschrein,
Das macht mich stets so trübe,
Gedenk' ich Knabe, dein."


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 (Malcolm Wren) , "The fir-tree", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 90

The fir‑tree
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The fir-tree stands silent,
alone on a grey eminence;
the boy sails in a boat
across the blue lake.

Deeply absorbed in itself
the fir-tree stands and thinks,
the boy caresses the waves
as they foam past.

"You fir-tree up there
you dark old lad,
why do you always look so bitterly
on me down here?"

Mournfully it moves
the edge of its dark branches
and with a quiet shudder
the old fir-tree says,

"Because soon the axe will be looking for me
to make your coffin,
that's what always makes me so bitter,
lad, when I think of you."


  • 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: 20
Word count: 100