by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Mit Mädeln sich vertragen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG FRE ITA
Mit [Mädeln]1 sich vertragen,
Mit Männern 'rumgeschlagen,
Und mehr Credit als Geld;
So kommt man durch die Welt.

Mit vielem läßt sich schmausen;
Mit wenig läßt sich hausen;
Daß wenig vieles sey,
Schafft nur die Lust herbei.

Will sie sich nicht bequemen,
So müßt ihr's eben nehmen.
Will einer nicht vom Ort,
So jagt ihn g'rade fort.

Laßt alle nur mißgönnen,
Was sie nicht nehmen können,
Und seid von Herzen froh;
Das ist das A und O.

So fahret fort zu dichten,
Euch nach der Welt zu richten.
Bedenkt in Wohl und Weh
Dieß goldne A B C.

F. Schubert sets stanzas 1-2

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke, Vollständige Ausgabe lezter Hand, Zehnter Band, Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1827, pages 217-218; and with Goethe's Werke, Erster Band. Gedichte. Erster Theil, mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen von G. von Loeper, Zweite Ausgabe. Verlag von Gustav Hempel, Berlin, 1882, page 83 (Gesellige Lieder).

See also the text from the first version of Claudine von Villa Bella, which shares the first four lines.

1 Schubert, Wolf: "Mädchen"


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):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De meisjes laten lachen", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Cheeky and cheerful", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "S'entendre avec les filles", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Alle ragazze fare la corte", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 98

Cheeky and cheerful
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Getting on with girls,
Kicking about with men,
Having more credit than cash:
That's how you get by in the world.

With a lot you can indulge yourself,
With a little you can live;
Making a little be a lot
Can create pleasure.

Even if you can't bring yourself to do it,
you just have to get on with it.
If somebody doesn't want to move,
just get him out of the way.

Let others begrudge
what they can't attain,
and be cheerful at heart;
that is the alpha and omega

So carry on as a poet
taking your bearings from the world.
Remember in joy and misery
this golden A B C.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 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: 2006-03-01
Line count: 20
Word count: 113