Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Oft sinn' ich hin und wieder
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Oft sinn' ich hin und wieder:
Was treibt mich zu ihr hin?
Sind's ihre süßen Lieder,
[Oder ist's]1 ihr froher Sinn?

Was hält mich so gefangen
Wenn ihre Stimme schallt?
Ist's unbewußt Verlangen,
Ist's ihres Aug's Gewalt?

's ist nicht der Wuchs, der schöne,
Und nicht des Auges Strahl,
Auch nicht die süßen Töne;
's ist Alles allzumal!

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Confirmed with Ausgewählte Dichtungen von Friedrich Bodenstedt, Zweite Auflage, Berlin: Verlag der Königlichen Geheimen Ober-Hofbuchdruckerei (R.v. Decker), 1864, page 263.

1 Humperdinck: "Ist es"


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 (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2022, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2008-03-31
Line count: 12
Word count: 58

Often my pondering thoughts move back...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Often my pondering thoughts move back and forth:
What drives me to her?
Is it her sweet songs,
[Or is it]1 her joyful spirit?

What holds me captive thus
When her voice sounds?
It is unconscious yearning,
Is it the power of her eyes?

It is not her stature, her lovely stature,
And not the beams of her eyes,
Also not the sweet sounds;
It is everything all at the same time!

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Translations of title(s):
"Oft sinn' ich hin und wieder" = "Often my pondering thoughts move back and forth "
"Was hält mich so gefangen" = "What holds me captive thus"

1 Humperdinck: "Is it"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2022 by Sharon Krebs, (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.

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This text was added to the website: 2022-05-03
Line count: 12
Word count: 72