by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Knut W. Barde

Ich armer Teufel, Herr Baron
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE GRE ITA
Ich armer Teufel, Herr Baron,
Beneide Sie um Ihren Stand,
Um Ihren Platz so nah dem Thron
Und um manch schön' Stück Ackerland,
Um Ihres Vaters festes Schloß,
Um seine Wildbahn und Geschoß.

Mich armen Teufel, Herr Baron,
Beneiden Sie, so wie es scheint,
Weil die Natur vom Knaben schon
Mit mir es mütterlich gemeint.
Ich ward, mit leichtem Mut und Kopf,
Zwar arm, doch nicht ein armer Tropf.

Nun dächt ich, lieber Herr Baron,
Wir ließen's bleiben wie wir sind:
Sie blieben des Herrn Vaters Sohn,
Und ich blieb' meiner Mutter Kind.
Wir leben ohne Neid un Haß,
Begehren nicht des andern Titel,
Sie keinen Platz auf dem Parnaß,
Und keinen ich in dem Kapitel.

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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 (Knut W. Barde) , "Poor devil that I am, my Baron", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Chanson satirique de Wilhelm Meister", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GRE Greek (Ελληνικά) [singable] (Christakis Poumbouris) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Io povero diavolo, mio signor barone", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:30
Line count: 20
Word count: 116

Poor devil that I am, my Baron
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Poor devil that I am, my Baron,
I envy you your rank,
Your place so close to the throne
And your several good fields,
Your father's strong castle,
His hunting grounds and rifle.

Of me, poor devil, so it seems,
My Baron you are envious,
Because nature has blessed me like a mother
Since I was a lad.
With my heart and head unburdened
I became poor, but not a case of pity.

Methinks, dear Baron, Sir,  
We should leave us as we are:
You would remain your father's son,
And I my mother's child.
We live without envy and hate,
And do not covet the other's station,
You'll forgo a place on Mount Parnassus,
And I won't ask for a place on [your] council.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Knut W. Barde, (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


Text added to the website: 2006-04-25 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:18
Line count: 20
Word count: 125