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by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Keinen Reimer wird man finden
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Keinen Reimer wird man finden
Der sich nicht den besten hielte,
Keinen Fiedler, der nicht lieber
Eigne Melodien spielte.

Und ich konnte sie nicht tadeln;
Wenn wir andern Ehre geben,
Müssen wir uns selbst entadeln;
Lebt man denn, wenn andre leben?

Und so fand ich's denn auch juste
In gewissen Antichambern,
Wo man nicht zu sondern wußte
Mäusedreck von Koriandern.

Das Gewesne wollte hassen
Solche rüstge neue Besen,
Diese dann nicht gelten lassen
Was sonst Besen war gewesen.

Und wo sich die Völker trennen
Gegenseitig im Verachten,
Keins von beiden wird bekennen,
Daß sie nach demselben trachten.

Und das grobe Selbstempfinden
Haben Leute hart gescholten,
Die am wenigsten verwinden,
Wenn die andern was gegolten.

About the headline (FAQ)


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):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "Song of ill humor", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Chant de la mauvaise humeur", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 114

Song of ill humor
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 Not one rhymer can one find
 that does not hold himself the best,
 nor fiddler who would not rather
 play his own melodies.
 And I cannot blame them;
 when we give honor to others
 we must degrade ourselves;
 does one then live, when others live?
 And so I have found recently
 in certain ante-chambers
 where one does not know how to distinguish
 mouse dung from coriander.
 The has-beens would hate
 such active new brooms,
 and these in turn give little weight
 to those who once were brooms.
 And where people disagree
 with contempt,
 neither side will admit
 that they strive for the same thing.
 And this rude self-esteem
 has been condemned the most strongly
 by those who find it most difficult to recover
 when others are successful.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive -- https://www.lieder.net/

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on:


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 128