Translation © by John H. Campbell

Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht,
  Das in die Lüfte scholl?
Der Frühling fand's in lauer Nacht,
  Das Herz von Wonne voll;
Er sang es früh im Fliederbaum
  Und schlug den [Tact]1 dazu:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

Da kamen Mück' und Käferlein,
  Waldvöglein [sonder]2 Zahl;
[Die]3 übten sich die Weise ein,
  Wohl an die tausend Mal.
Sie trugen's durch den Himmelsraum
  Und durch die Waldesruh:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

Mir sang's am Bach die Nachtigall,
  Da ward mir wonnig weh;
Nun folgt das Lied mir überall
  Durch [Duft]4 und Blütenschnee.
Ich pflück' den Zweig vom Fliederbaum
  Und sing' es immerzu:
"O Maienzeit, o Liebestraum,
  Was ist so süß wie Du?"

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Die Gartenlaube. Illustrirtes Familienblatt, Band XXVII, Nr. 23 (1879), page 386.

1 Abt, Busoni: "Takt"
2 Abt: "ohne"
3 Busoni: "Sie"
4 Busoni: "Luft"

Authorship

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 (John H. Campbell) , "Who invented the first song", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: John H. Campbell , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-12-10 22:08:02
Line count: 24
Word count: 122

Who invented the first song
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Who devised the first song,
that into the air did resound?
Spring found it in the balmy night,
filling hearts with joy.
He sang it first in the lilacs
and the rhythm puls'd to it:
O May!  the time of love-dreams,
what is as sweet as you!

Then, little gnats and beetles came,
Forest birds marked the tune,
they practiced the style,
and by thousandfold;
they carried it thru' the heavens
and in all the forest is peace:
O Maytime joy, o time of love-dreams,
what is as sweet as you!

The nightingale sang to me by the brook,
and a sweet sadness o'er came me!
Now, the song follows me everywhere
through the air and snow-white blooms.
From the lilacs I gather a bouquet
and I always sing:
O Maytime, o time of love-dreams,
what is as sweet as you!
what is as sweet as you!

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by John H. Campbell, (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.
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Based on

 

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:22
Line count: 25
Word count: 147