by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Lawrence Snyder

Wirkung in die Ferne
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Die Königin steht in hohen Saal,
Da brennen der Kerzen so viele;
Sie spricht zum Pagen: »Du läufst einmal
Und holst mir die Beutel zum Spiele.
Er liegt zur Hand
Auf meines Tisches Rand.«
Der Knabe, der eilt so behende,
War bald an [des]1 Schloßes Ende.

Und neben der Königin schlürft' zur Stund
Sorbet die schönste der Frauen.
Da brach ihr die Tasse so hart an dem Mund,
Es war ein Greuel zu schauen.
Verlegenheit! Scham!
Ums Prachtkleid ist's getan!
Sie eilet und fliegt so behende
Entgegen des Schloßes Ende.

Der Knabe zurück zu laufen kam
Entgegen der Schönen in Schmerzen.
Es wußt es niemand, doch beide zusamm,
Sie hegten einander im Herzen.
Und o des Glücks,
Des günstigen Geschicks!
Sie warfen mit Brust sich zu Brüsten
Und herzten und küßten nach Lüsten.

Doch endlich beide sich reißen los;
Sie eilt in ihre Gemächer,
Der Page drängt sich zur Königin groß
Durch alle dir Degen un Fächer.
Die Fürstin entdeckt
Das Westchen befleckt:
Für sie war nichts unerreichbar,
Die Königin von Saba vergleichbar.

Die Hofmeisterin sie rufen läßt:
»Wir kamen doch neulich zu Streite
Und ihr behauptet steif und fest,
Nicht reiche der Geist in die Weite.
Die Gegenwart nur,
Die laße wohl Spur;
Doch niemand wirk in die Ferne,
Sogar nicht die himmlishcen Sterne.

Nun seht! Soeben ward mir zur Seit
Der geistige Süßtrank verschüttet,
Und gleich darauf hat er dort hinten so weit
Dem Knaben die West zerrüttet.
Besorg sie dir neu!
Und weil ich mich freu,
Daß sie mir zum Beweise gegolten,
Ich zahl sie! sonst wirst du gescholten.«

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Loewe.

Authorship

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 (Lawrence Snyder) , "Effect from afar", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Effet à distance", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Lawrence Snyder

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:30
Line count: 48
Word count: 262

Effect from afar
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The Queen stands in the lofty hall
Which is lit with so many candles.
She says to the page: "Run once more
And fetch to me the bag with our games.
It lies close at hand
On my table's edge."
The boy was so fleet of foot,
He was soon at the back of the castle.

And drinking next to the Queen at that moment
Was Sorbet, the most beautiful of women.
She struck her mouth so hard with her glass
It was ghastly to behold.
Embarrassment! Shame!
Wine all over her best dress!
She hurries and flies swiftly
To the back of the castle.

The page began running back
Towards the beauty in torment;
No one except the two of them knew
They cherished each other in their hearts.
And, oh, what luck,
What providence!
They threw themselves into embrace,
And carressed and kissed to their heart's desire.

But finally they tear themselves free
And she hurries to her chamber.
The page makes his way to the great Queen
Through all the fans and sabres.
The Queen notices
His stained doublet:
Nothing escaped her understanding,
Just like the Queen of Sheba.

Their hostess summoned them to her presence:
"We just recently had an argument,
And you stubbornly maintained
That the spirit reaches nothing over distance.
That only the present
Leaves a trace,
But no one affects anything outside space or time,
Not even the heavenly stars.

Now look! Just now at my side
Was spilled this ghostly sweet drink.
And at the same moment, so far away,
It spoiled the young man's doublet.
You must trouble yourself to get a new one!
And since I'm so pleased
That the doublet provided my proof,
I'll pay for it! or else you'll be scolded."

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Lawrence Snyder, (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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Based on

 

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:30
Line count: 48
Word count: 293