by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
Translation © by Elisabeth Siekhaus

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE ITA
Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möcht ich sie bei irgendwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.

Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher [Geiger]1 hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Martinsson: "Spieler"


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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Cançó d'amor", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ruth Schonthal) , "Love song", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Elisabeth Siekhaus) , "Love song", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Chant d'amour", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Canto d'amore", copyright © 2008, (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: 13
Word count: 83

Love song
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
How shall I hold my soul, that
It does not touch on yours?  How shall I lift it
Beyond you to other things?
Ah, gladly would I shelter it with something
Lost in the dark.
At a strange quiet place which
Does not co-vibrate when your depths resonate.

But everything that touches us, you and me,
Takes us togther like one draw of a bow
Which pulls one voice from two strings.
On which instrument are we strung?
And what player has us in his hand?
O sweet song.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2008 by Elisabeth Siekhaus, (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: 2008-04-04
Line count: 13
Word count: 89