by Friedrich Rückert (1788 - 1866)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

O süße Mutter
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE ITA
O süße Mutter,
Ich kann nicht spinnen,
Ich kann nicht sitzen
Im Stüblein innen,
Im engen Haus;
Es stockt das Rädchen,
Es reißt das Fädchen,
O süße Mutter,
Ich muß hinaus.
Der Frühling gucket
Hell durch die Scheiben,
Wer kann nun sitzen,
Wer kann nun bleiben
Und fleißig sein?
O laß mich gehen,
[O]1 laß mich sehen,
Ob ich kann fliegen
[Wie]2 Vögelein.
O laß mich sehen,
O laß mich lauschen,
Wo Lüftlein wehen,
Wo Bächlein rauschen,
Wo Blümlein blühn.
Laß mich sie pflücken
Und schön mir schmücken
Die braunen Locken
Mit buntem Grün.
Und kommen Knaben
[Im]3 wilden Haufen,
So will ich traben,
So will ich laufen,
Nicht stille stehn;
Will hinter Hecken
Mich [hier]4 verstecken,
Bis sie mit Lärmen
Vorüber gehn.
Bringt aber Blumen
Ein frommer Knabe,
Die ich zum Kranze
Just nötig habe,
Was soll ich tun?
Darf ich wohl nickend,
Ihm freundlich blickend,
O süße Mutter,
Zur Seit' ihm ruhn?

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Wolf: "Und"
2 Wolf: "Wie's"
3 Wolf: "In"
4 Reinecke: "still"


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 (Sharon Krebs) , "Oh sweet mother", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , "O dearest Mother"
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "O dolce madre", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: John Versmoren , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 45
Word count: 154

Oh sweet mother
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Oh sweet mother,
I cannot spin;
I cannot sit indoors
In the little room,
In the confining house;
The spinning-wheel halts,
The thread tears.
Oh sweet mother,
I must get out!
Spring is peeping
Brightly through the window-panes;
Who can then sit
And stay put now
And be industrious?
Oh let me go,
[Oh]1 let me see
If I can fly
Like [the little birds]2.
Oh let me go,
Oh let me listen
Where the breezes are blowing,
Where the streams are rushing,
Where the flowers are blooming.
Let me pick [the flowers]
And adorn my brown curls beautifully,
Oh sweet mother,
With vivid green.
And if boys come along
In a wild horde,
I will run,
I will hurry,
I will not stand still;
Behind the hedges
I will hide myself [here]3
Until they have
Noisily passed by.
But if a good lad
Brings flowers
That are just what I need
For my wreath,
What shall I do?
May I, nodding
And gazing at him in a friendly manner,
Oh sweet mother,
Rest at his side?

View original text (without footnotes)
Translated titles:
O süße Mutter = Oh sweet mother
O süsse Mutter, ich kann nicht spinnen = Oh sweet mother, I cannot spin
Die Spinnerin = The spinning girl
1 Wolf: "And"
2 Wolf: "a little bird"
3 Reinecke: "quietly"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2008 by Sharon Krebs, (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: 2008-03-26
Line count: 45
Word count: 177