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

Nicht Gelegenheit macht Diebe
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE ITA
Nicht Gelegenheit macht Diebe,
Sie ist selbst der größte Dieb;
Denn sie stahl den Rest der Liebe,
Die mir noch im Herzen blieb.

Dir hat sie ihn übergeben,
Meines Lebens Vollgewinn,
Daß ich nun, verarmt, mein Leben
Nur von dir gewärtig bin.

Doch ich fühle schon Erbarmen
Im Karfunkel deines Blicks,
Und erfreu in deinen Armen
Mich erneuerten Geschicks.

About the headline (FAQ)


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) , "It isn't opportunity that makes a thief", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Non è l'occasione a fare il ladro", copyright © 2012, (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: 12
Word count: 59

It isn't opportunity that makes a thief
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
It isn't opportunity that makes a thief:
opportunity itself is the greatest thief.
For it stole the rest of the love
that remained in my heart.

It has handed it over to you,
all the profit of my love,
so I now, impoverished, find that my life
depends totally on you.

But at least I find comfort
in the jewel that is your eye,
And in your arms I enjoy
a renewed fortune.


  • 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: 12
Word count: 73