by Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

I felt a funeral in my brain
Language: English 
Available translation(s): CAT FRE GER GER ITA
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of [lead]1.
Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.

And then a plank in reason, broke,
And I dropped down and down --
And hit a world at every plunge,
And finished knowing -- then --

A. Copland sets stanzas 1-4

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1 Copland: "lead, again"


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "J'ai senti un enterrement dans ma tête", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , title 1: "Vaig sentir un funeral al meu cap", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:26
Line count: 20
Word count: 115

Ich fühlt' Begräbnis im Gehirn
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Ich fühlt' Begräbnis im Gehirn
Und Trauergäste - her
Und hin - die trampelten und trampelten
In meinem Kopfe schwer.

Und als sie endlich saßen,
Die Andacht, trommelgleich,
sie hört nicht auf zu schlagen, schlagen,
Und schlug das Hirn mir weich.

Ich hört' sie heben meinen Sarg
Und durch die Seele dann
Mit Eisenstiefeln knirschend gehn...
Bis Raumgeläut begann.

Da war'n die Himmel Glocken nur,
Und Ohr nur war mein Sein,
Und Ich und Ruh war'n Fremde hier,
Gescheitert und allein.

Zuletzt des Denkens Boden brach
Und, Sturz um Sturz entlang,
Fiel ich von Welt zu Welt, bis ich
Des Wissens Ende fand.

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  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2010 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.

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Text added to the website: 2010-01-12 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:30
Line count: 20
Word count: 103