by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

Who never choked on tear‑stained bread
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Who never choked on tear-stained bread,
who never spent his nights in sorrow,
but weeping on his sleepless bed,
knows naught of Gods that shape tomorrow.

Who never ate with tears his bread,
who never wailed away till morrow
deprived of sleep upon his bed:
he knoweth not ye Gods of sorrow:

You lead the human into life
you let the poor soul fail, God-fashion,
then leave him to his pain and strife:
for punished must be each transgression!

You force a man into his life,
you let the poor man sin in passion,
then let him suffer hurt and strife,
aware that pain rewards aggression!

You stain a man with guilt's impression,
and then abandon him to pain:
For life avenges all transgression!

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: this is a free singable translation of the Schubert song with its repeats (but not with the same English words repeated). Text mit Wiederholungen wie in Franz Schuberts dritter Version dieses Liedes. See for some interesting notes.


  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English 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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This text was added to the website: 2010-03-26
Line count: 19
Word count: 124