by Karoline Louise von Klenke (1754 - 1802)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Mirtill! wenn deine Lippen mich berühren
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Mirtill! wenn deine Lippen mich berühren,
Dann will die Lust die Seele mir entführen;
Ich fühl' ein sanftes, namenloses Beben
Den Busen heben.

Mein Auge flammt, und meine Wangen glühen,
[Mein Herze schlägt,]1 und scheint empor zu fliehen,
Die Seele weiß auf trunkner Lippen Stammeln
Sich kaum zu sammeln.

Mein Leben hängt, in einer solchen Stunde,
An deinem feurig nektarvollen Munde,
Und will, bey deinem trauten Armumfassen,
Mich fast verlassen.

O daß es sich nicht ausser sich kann schwingen,
Die Seele ganz in deine Seele dringen!
Daß doch die Lippen, die voll Sehnsucht brennen,
Sich müssen trennen!

Daß meine Seele nicht der Orcus fodert,
Wenn sie voll Gluth auf deinen Lippen lodert,
An deinem Herzen hängt, [das nie]2 auf Erden
[Darf meine]3 werden!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Iris. Des Dritten Bandes zweytes Stück. Düsseldorf, May 1775, pages 104-105; and with Lyrische Anthologie. herausgegeben von Friedrich Matthisson. Eilfter Theil. Zürich 1805. bey Orell Füssli und Compagnie, pages 283-284, with the title Sapphisches Lied.

This is the first version, anonymously published in Iris, of Klenke's poem An Myrtil, see below.

1 Lyrische Anthologie: "Laut schlägt mein Herz"
2 Lyrische Anthologie: "ach! das"
3 Lyrische Anthologie: "Nie mein kann"


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

Set in a modified version by Franz Peter Schubert.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2017-10-01
Line count: 20
Word count: 123

Myrtle, when your lips touch me
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Myrtle, when your lips touch me,
That is when my soul is carried away with pleasure;
Deep down I feel a nameless stirring
As my breast heaves.

My eye blazes, and my cheeks glow,
My heart beats, and appears to fly upwards,
Because of the stammering of my drunken lips my soul barely knows
How to collect itself.
At such a time my life depends
On your fiery, nectar-filled mouth,
And as your arms embrace me intimately my life 
Almost wants to leave me.

Oh! how awful that my life cannot fly out of itself,
My whole soul is forcing itself in your soul!
How awful that these lips, which are burning with longing,
Have to separate!

May Orcus never demand my soul 
When it locks itself onto your lips with such fire,
And onto your heart, which on Earth can never
Be mine!

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"An Myrtill" = "To Myrtle"
"Sapphische Ode" = "Sapphic Ode"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 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: 2020-05-22
Line count: 20
Word count: 144