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

Wie kommt's, daß du so traurig bist
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ITA
Wie kommt's, daß du so traurig bist,
Da alles froh erscheint?
Man sieht dir's an den Augen an,
Gewiß du hast geweint.

"Und hab' ich einsam auch geweint,
So ist's mein [eigner]1 Schmerz,
Und Thränen fließen gar so süß,
Erleichtern mir das Herz."

Die frohen Freunde laden dich,
O komm an unsre Brust!
Und was du auch verloren hast,
[Vertraue]2 den Verlust.

"Ihr lärmt und rauscht und ahnet nicht,
Was mich den Armen quält.
Ach nein, verloren hab' ich's nicht,
So sehr es mir auch fehlt."

So raffe dich denn eilig auf,
Du bist ein junges Blut.
In deinen Jahren hat man Kraft
Und zum Erwerben Muth.

"Ach nein, erwerben kann ich's nicht,
Es steht mir gar zu fern.
Es weilt so hoch, es blinkt so schön,
Wie droben jener Stern."

Die Sterne, die begehrt man nicht,
Man freut sich ihrer Pracht,
Und mit Entzücken blickt man auf
In jeder heitern Nacht.

"Und mit Entzücken blick' ich auf,
So manchen lieben Tag;
Verweinen laßt die Nächte mich,
So lang' ich weinen mag."

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View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke, Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand, Erster Band, Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cottaschen Buchhandlung, 1827, pages 96-97, and with Taschenbuch auf das Jahr 1804, Herausgegeben von Wieland und Goethe, Tübingen, in der Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, pages 115-116.

1 Schubert (in the autograph): "eigen"
2 Schubert (Friedlaender edition): "vertraure"


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 Russian (Русский), a translation by Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky (1783 - 1852) ; composed by Nikolay Ivanovich Bakhmetyev, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky, Ivan Ivanovich Ignatiev, Nikolai Alexeyevich Titov, Nikolai Sergeyevich Titov.

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) , "Troost in tranen", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Comfort in tears", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Edgar Alfred Bowring) , "Comfort in tears", appears in The Poems of Goethe, first published 1853
  • FRE French (Français) (Gérard Labrunie) , "Consolation dans les larmes"
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Antonio Zencovich) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 172

Comfort in tears
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Why is it that you are so sad
When everything seems happy?
One can see from your eyes
That you have surely been weeping.

"And if I have been weeping alone,
It is my own sorrow,
And my tears flow so sweetly
That they make my heart light."

Your happy friends invite you,
O come to our bosom!
And whatever you have lost,
Confide in us your loss.

"You make noise and rush about and cannot understand
What it is that torments me, poor me.
And no, I have not lost anything,
Although I also lack it."

Then pick yourself up - hurry,
You are a young fellow.
At your age, one has the strength
And courage to gain what one wishes.

"Alas, no - I can never obtain it;
It is too far from me.
It dwells as high and flashes as beautifully
As that star up there."

One should not covet the stars,
One should merely rejoice in their splendour,
And with delight gaze up
At every serene night.

"And so I gaze up with delight
At so many a lovely day;
Let my nights then be spent in weeping,
So long as I may weep."


  • 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 --

    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: 32
Word count: 198