by Eduard Mörike (1804 - 1875)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Auf eine Christblume I
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE FRE ITA
Tochter des Walds, du Lilienverwandte,
so lang von mir gesuchte, unbekannte,
im fremden Kirchhof, öd' und winterlich,
zum ersten mal, o schöne, find' ich dich!

Von welcher Hand gepflegt du hier erblühtest,
ich weiß es nicht, noch Wessen Grab du hütest;
ist es ein Jüngling, so geschah ihm Heil,
ist's eine Jungfrau, lieblich fiel ihr Teil.

Im nächt'gen Hain, von Schneelicht überbreitet,
wo fromm das Reh an dir vorüber weidet,
bei der Kapelle, am krystall'nen Teich,
dort sucht' ich deiner Heimat zauberreich.

Schön bist du, Kind des Mondes, nicht der Sonne,
Dir wäre tödtlich andrer Blumen Wonne,
dicht nährt, den keuschen Leib voll Reif und Duft,
himmlischer Kälte balsam süße Luft.

In deines Busens goldner Fülle gründet
ein Wohlgeruch, der sich nur kaum verkündet;
so duftete, berührt von Engelshand,
der benedeiten Mutter Brautgewand.

Dich würden, mahnend an das heil'ge Leiden,
fünf Purpurtropfen schön und einzig kleiden:
Doch kindlich zierst du, um die Weihnachtszeit,
lichtgrün mit einem Hauch dein weißes Kleid.

Der Elfe, der in mitternächt'ger Stunde
zum Tanze geht im lichterhellen Grunde, 
vor deiner mystischen Glorie steht er scheu 
neugierig still von fern und huscht vorbei.


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "A una flor de Pasqua I", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "To a christmas rose (a hellebore)", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Sur une rose de Noël I", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Stéphane Goldet) (Pierre de Rosamel) , "Sur une rose de Noël I", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "A un elleboro I", copyright © 2008, (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: 28
Word count: 186

To a christmas rose (a hellebore)
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Daughter of the forest, relative of the lily,
I have looked for you for so long, unknown,
and it is in a foreign churchyard, bleak and wintery,
that I have found you, o beauty, for the first time.

Whose caring hand it is that has allowed you to bloom
I don't know. Nor do I know whose grave you are protecting.
If it is a boy's, he has found salvation,
if it is a girl's, her fate was lovely.

It was in a grove at night, covered with light from the snow,
where the gentle deer grazed around you,
by the chapel, next to a crystal pond,
that I looked for your homeland, your magic kingdom.

You are beautiful. You are a child of the moon, not the sun.
What for other flowers brings joy would be deadly for you.
Your chaste body, all frost and scent, is nourished by
the balsam sweet air of heavenly cold.

From the golden fullness of your breast arises
a wonderful fragrance, which barely announces itself.
It recalls the scent, touched by an angel's hand,
of the holy mother's bridal gown.

What would suit you, in memory of the holy passion,
would be five purple drops as your sole beautifying ornament,
but you are childlike in decorating yourself at Christmas time
in a white dress with a hint of light green.

The elf, at midnight,
on his way to dance in a bright clearing,
comes to a standstill before your mystical glory;
he looks at you, fascinated, from afar, and then runs off.


  • 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: 2006-04-07
Line count: 28
Word count: 259