by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation © by Peter Palmer

Zu fragmentarisch ist Welt und Leben?
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE
Zu fragmentarisch ist Welt und Leben?
Ich will mich zum deutschen Professor begeben.
Der weiß das Leben zusammenzusetzen,
und er macht ein verständlich System daraus;
mit seinen Nachtmützen und Schlafrockfetzen
stopft er die Lücken des Weltenbaus.

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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 (Emily Ezust) , "The German Professor", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Emma Lazarus) , appears in Poems and Ballads of Heinrich Heine, first published 1881
  • ENG English [singable] (Peter Palmer) , "From Die Heimkehr", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2009, (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: 6
Word count: 36

From Die Heimkehr
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
A proper puzzle is God's Creation!
I'll go to a German professor's oration.
He knows the whys and the wherefores of matters,
And what's more, he can quote you chapter and verse;
With night-caps all screwn-up, night-gowns in tatters
Stopping the gaps in the universe.

Note: this is a revised American version of the one published with the David Blake setting.


  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2009 by Peter Palmer, (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: 2009-06-10
Line count: 6
Word count: 45