by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

Crazy Jane talks with the Bishop
Language: English 
Available translation(s): GER GER
I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
"Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty."

"Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul," I cried.
"My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily [lowliness]1
And in the heart's pride.

"A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent."

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Grill: "loneliness"


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):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Die verrückte Jane spricht mit dem Bischof", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "De narrische Jane sogds dem Bischof eihne", Viennese dialect, copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2009-01-03
Line count: 18
Word count: 105

Die verrückte Jane spricht mit dem Bischof
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Ich traf den Bischof auf der Straß',
Viel sprachen ich und er:
"Die Adern trocknen Dir ja schon,
Die Brüste hängen leer;
Drum leb' Du in der Kirche Haus
Und nicht im Schweinsstall mehr!"

Ich schrie: "Das Reine braucht den Dreck,
Die beiden sind verwandt.
Die Freund' sind weg, doch Wahrheit ist's,
Wohl Grab, wohl Bett bekannt,
Aus Körpers Niedrigkeit erlernt
Und Herzensstolz erkannt.

"Ein Weib kann stolz und steifer stehn,
Wenn Liebe in ihr brennt;
Doch Liebe hat ihr Haus gebaut
Im Grund von Exkrement;
Und nichts kann ganz und einig sein,
Es sei denn erst getrennt."


  • Singable 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.

    Walter A. Aue.  Contact: waue (AT) dal (DOT) ca

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This text was added to the website: 2010-03-26
Line count: 18
Word count: 98