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by Eduard Mörike (1804 - 1875)
Translation © by Peter Palmer

An Philomele
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Tonleiterähnlich steiget dein Klaggesang
Vollschwellend auf, wie wenn man Bouteillen füllt:
    Es steigt und steigt im Hals der Flasche -
        Sieh, und das liebliche Naß schäumt über.

O Sängerin, dir möcht ich ein Liedchen weihn,
Voll Lieb und Sehnsucht! aber ich stocke schon;
    Ach, mein unselig Gleichnis regt mir
        Plötzlich den Durst und mein Gaumen lechzet.

Verzeih! im Jägerschlößchen ist frisches Bier
Und Kegelabend heut: ich versprach es halb
    Dem Oberamtsgerichtsverweser,
        Auch dem Notar und dem Oberförster.

T. Hiller sets stanzas 1-2; stanza 3 is spoken


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 (Peter Palmer) , "To Philomele", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "À Philomèle", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2007-06-24
Line count: 12
Word count: 77

To Philomele
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Your song of lament, like a rising scale,
Swells up as though filling up bottles:
   It rises and rises in the neck of the vessel --
      Look how the lovely liquid foams over.

Oh songstress, how I'd like to devote an air to you,
Full of love and longing! but words fail me;
   Tut, my unfortunate simile has awakened      
      My thirst all of a sudden, and my mouth is parched.

Forgive me! but there's fresh beer at the hunting lodge
And skittles this evening: I half promised
   The senior district prosecutor,
      The notary and the chief forest ranger.


  • 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: 2009-10-19
Line count: 12
Word count: 97