by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation by Emma Lazarus (1849 - 1887)

Am Meer, am wüsten, nächtlichen Meer
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): FRE
Am Meer, am wüsten, nächtlichen Meer
Steht ein Jüngling-Mann,
Die Brust voll Wehmut, das Haupt voll Zweifel,
Und mit düstern Lippen fragt er die Wogen:

"O löst mir das Rätsel des Lebens,
Das qualvoll uralte Rätsel,
Worüber schon manche Häupter gegrübelt,
Häupter in Hieroglyphenmützen,
Häupter in Turban und schwarzem Barett,
Perückenhäupter und tausend andre
Arme, schwitzende Menschenhäupter -
Sagt mir, was bedeutet der Mensch?
Woher ist er kommen? Wo geht er hin?
Wer wohnt dort oben auf goldenen Sternen?"

Es murmeln die Wogen ihr ew'ges Gemurmel,
Es wehet der Wind, es fliehen die Wolken,
Es blinken die Sterne, gleichgültig und kalt,
Und ein Narr wartet auf Antwort.

About the headline (FAQ)

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, and transliterations (if applicable):


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2007-10-15 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:29
Line count: 18
Word count: 107

Question
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
By the sea, by the desolate nocturnal sea,
      Stands a youthful man,
His breast full of sadness, his head full of doubt,
And with bitter lips he questions the waves:

"Oh solve me the riddle of life!
   The cruel, world-old riddle,
Concerning which, already many a head hath been racked.
   Heads in hieroglyphic-hats,
   Heads in turbans and in black caps,
   Periwigged heads, and a thousand other
      Poor, sweating human heads.
Tell me, what signifies man?
Whence does he come? whither does he go?
Who dwells yonder above the golden stars?"

The waves murmur their eternal murmur,
The winds blow, the clouds flow past,
      Cold and indifferent twinkle the stars,
         And a fool awaits an answer.

Authorship

Based on

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

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2008-05-08 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:42
Line count: 18
Word count: 115