by Emanuel von Geibel (1815 - 1884)
Translation © by David Kenneth Smith

Die Liebe saß als Nachtigall
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FIN FRE
Die Liebe saß als Nachtigall
Im Rosenbusch und sang,
Es flog der wundersüße Schall
Den grünen Wald entlang.

Und wie er klang, da stieg im Kreis
Aus tausend Kelchen Duft,
Und alle Wipfel rauschten leis',
Und [leise]1 ging die Luft;

Die Bäche schwiegen, die noch kaum
Geplätschert von den Höh'n,
Die Rehlein standen wie im Traum
Und lauschten dem Getön.

Und hell und immer heller floß
Der Sonne Glanz herein,
Um Blumen, Wald und Schlucht ergoß
Sich [goldig rother]2 Schein.

Ich aber zog den Weg entlang
Und hörte auch den Schall --
Ach, was seit jener Stund' ich sang,
War nur sein Wiederhall.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Emanuel Geibel, Gedichte, Vierte Auflage, Berlin: Verlag von Alexander Duncker, 1845, page 72.

1 C. Schumann: "leiser"
2 Backer-Grøndahl: "goldigrother"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Danish (Dansk), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Agathe Ursula Backer-Grøndahl.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (David Kenneth Smith) , no title, copyright © 1996, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Rakkauden taikaa", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Magie de l'amour", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 102

Now Love once like a nightingale
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Now Love once like a nightingale
in rosebush perched and sang;
with sweetest wonder flew the sound
along the woodland green.

And as it rang, there rose a scent
from ring of thousand buds,
and all the treetops rustled soft,
and softer blew the air;

The brooklets silenced, scarcely come
by splashing from the heights,
the fawns stood still as if in dream
and listened to the tone.

And bright and ever brighter flowed
the sunbeams down inside,
'round blossoms, wood and gorge it gushed
with golden red sunshine.

I walked along the path that day
and also heard that sound.
Alas! what ever since I've sung
was just its echo faint.

About the headline (FAQ)

Title "Waldesgesang" = "Forest song"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 1996 by David Kenneth Smith, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., please ask the copyright-holder(s) directly.

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Based on:


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 112