by Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 - 1936)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

The donkey
Language: English 
Available translation(s): GER
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.


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):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Esel", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller

This text was added to the website: 2004-02-10
Line count: 16
Word count: 89

Der Esel
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Als flog der Fisch und schritt der Wald
und Feige wuchs am Dorn,
unter der blut'gen Mondsgestalt,
da wurde ich geborn.

Mit Monsterkopf und schrillem Ruf
und Ohren flügelgleich:
die Parodie der Teufel schuf
vom Tetrapodenreich.

Zerlumpt, geächtet rundherum
in falschem Volkes Joch;
Verlacht, verpeitscht mich: Ich bin dumm,
doch stumm verbleib ich noch.

Narr'n! Meine Stunde kam zuvor
mit hellem, holdem Gruß:
Hosannas barsten mir ins Ohr
und Palmen mir zu Fuß.


  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) 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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This text was added to the website: 2008-06-01
Line count: 16
Word count: 73