Translation © by Walter A. Aue

Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG FRE
Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Alles, was ich habe,
Dank' ich, Spaden, dir!
Reich' und arme Leute
Werden meine Beute,
Kommen einst zu mir!

Weiland groß und edel,
Nickte dieser Schädel
Keinem Grusse Dank!
Dieses Beingerippe
Ohne Wang' und Lippe
Hatte Gold und Rang.

Jener Kopf mit Haaren
War vor wenig Jahren
Schön, wie Engel sind!
Tausend junge Fentchen
Leckten ihm das Händchen,
Gafften sich halb blind!

Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Alles, was ich habe,
Dank' ich, Spaden, dir!
Reich' und arme Leute
Werden meine Beute,
Kommen einst zu mir!

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Ludewig Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Besorgt durch seine Freunde Friederich Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg und Johann Heinrich Voß. Hamburg, bei Carl Ernst Bohn. 1783, pages 44-45, with Poetische Blumenlese für das Jahr 1777. Herausgegeben von Joh. Heinr. Voß. Hamburg, bey Carl Ernst Bohn, pages 60-61, and with Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty's Sämtliche Werke kritisch und chronologisch herausgegeben von Wilhelm Michael, Erster Band, Weimar, Gesellschaft der Bibliophilen, 1914, page 195.

Note: Modern spelling would change "Spaden" to "Spaten" (line 1-1) and "Fentchen" to "Fäntchen" (line 3-4)


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Doodgraverslied", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Grave-digger's song", copyright ©
  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Dig! And, Spade, keep diggin'!", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 87

Dig! And, Spade, keep diggin'!
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Dig! And, Spade, keep diggin'!
I owe all my livin',
my good Spade, to Thee!
Rich or poor: all county
shall become my bounty:
all must come to me.

High once, nobly bred,
this saluted head
(never one to thank),
now a bony hollow
- cheekless, lipless, sallow -
held both gold and rank.

And this skull, still hairy,
years ago was very
fair, as angels are.
Thousand young admirers
ran around in gyres,
gawked from near and far.

Dig! And, Spade, keep diggin'!
I owe all my livin',
my good Spade, to thee!
Rich or poor: all county
shall become my bounty:
all must come to me. 

Authorship

  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2008 by Walter A. Aue, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Walter A. Aue.  Contact: waue (AT) dal (DOT) ca

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Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2008-06-01
Line count: 24
Word count: 108