by Eduard Mörike (1804 - 1875)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Am Waldsaum kann ich lange Nachmittage
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Am Waldsaum kann ich lange Nachmittage,
Dem Kuckuck horchend, in dem Grase liegen;
Er scheint das Tal gemächlich einzuwiegen
Im friedevollen Gleichklang seiner Klage.

Da ist mir wohl, und meine schlimmste Plage,
Den Fratzen der Gesellschaft mich zu fügen,
Hier wird sie mich doch endlich nicht bekriegen,
Wo ich auf eigne Weise mich behage.

Und wenn die feinen Leute nur erst dächten,
Wie schön Poeten ihre Zeit verschwenden,
Sie würden mich zuletzt noch gar beneiden.

Denn des Sonetts gedrängte Kränze flechten
Sich wie von selber unter meinen Händen,
Indes die Augen in der Ferne weiden.

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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) , "By the forest", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "En forêt", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2004-04-21
Line count: 14
Word count: 95

By the forest
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
At the edge of the forest, listening to the cuckoo,
I can spend many a long afternoon lying in the grass. 
[The cuckoo] seems to lull the valley to sleep
With the peaceful repetitiousness of his lament.

I feel well there, and my worst vexation,
That of conforming to the grotesque demands of society,
Finally cannot make war upon me there,
Where I enjoy myself in my own way.

And if those cultivated people only knew
How beautifully poets waste their time,
In the end they would be jealous of me.

For under my hands the sonnet's dense wreaths
Almost seem to weave themselves,
While my eyes feast on [the scene in] the distance.


  • 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: 2008-09-03
Line count: 14
Word count: 114