Translation © by David Wyatt

Als ich ein junger Geselle war
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ITA
Als ich ein junger Geselle war, 
lustig und guter Dinge,
da hielten die Maler offenbar 
mein Gesicht für viel zu geringe;
dafür war mir manch schönes Kind
dazumal von Herzen treu gesinnt.

Nun ich hier als Altmeister sitz', 
rufen sie mich aus auf Straßen und Gaßen,
zu haben bin ich, wie der alte Fritz, 
auf Pfeifenköpfen und Tassen.
Doch die schönen Kinder die bleiben fern.
O Traum der Jugend! O goldner Stern!

About the headline (FAQ)


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 (David Wyatt) , "Old Goethe", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "Il vecchio Goethe", copyright © 2006, (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: 12
Word count: 72

Old Goethe
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
When I was a young companion,
A jolly and good thing,
Then artists obviously held
My face of no great value.
But then, I had many pretty girls
Around, all with true hearts.
Now I sit here as an old master
They call out to me in the streets and lanes,
I am to be painted, like old Fritz,
With pipes and cups.
But the pretty girls, they stay away...
O dream of youth! O golden stars!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2007 by David Wyatt, (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: 2007-11-15
Line count: 12
Word count: 77