by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation by H. Stevens

The captive
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Tell me, Heart, what means this sorrow
That oppresseth thee so sore?
Changed art thou by all this trouble,
And I hardly know thee 'more!

All is gone that gave thee gladness,
All is gone that brought thee sadness.
Gone thy zeal and all thy peace-
Tell me now the cause of this!

Doth the charm of youth allure thee?
Lovely form and beauteous face?
Doth a smile, a glance so tender
Win thee by its wondrous grace?

To avoid her I endeavour,
And resolve the bond to sever;
In a moment yet I'm fain
To return to her again

With her magic spell around me
That to break I need the skill
Doth the heartless maiden bind me
Ever fast against my will;

Captive in her magic bower
Now she holds me in her power,
Ah!, how great the change in me!
Mighty Love, O set me free!

Note: adapted from H. Stevens' translation in the Augener edition (No. 8806) of 67 Beethoven songs.


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2006-10-11
Line count: 24
Word count: 149