by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation by Leonard J[ordan] Lehrman (b. 1949)

At mother's
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
And then my dear mother caught sight of me  --  
with shock I wondered whether 
she'd faint: "My little boy!" 
and in her joy clapped her hands together:

"My little boy, it's thirteen years  --  
and you have gotten thinner!
You must be tired and hungry too!  
What would you like for dinner?

I've got some fish and oranges 
and lovely goose I've roasted."
"So let's have fish and oranges 
and the lovely goose you've roasted.
And when my dear mother saw how I ate, 
it pleasured her so, my digestion.
She asked me this, she asked me that, 
with more than one ticklish question:

"My little boy! And now that you live 
far from home, how's it looking:
Your wife, does she keep accounts for you? 
And how is her mending and cooking?"

"O Mother dear, the fish is good.  
But let me be silent while eating.
You don't want bones getting caught in my throat.  
We'd best to hold off speaking."

As soon as I'd finished the fish, 
there came the goose that she had made me.
My mother again asked me this and that  --  
tough questions to answer she bade me:

"My little boy! What country 
is better to live today in? 
France? Or in your homeland? 
And in which one have the more people say in?"

"O Mother dear, the oranges are good, 
and I'd love to continue
To savor them in all their juice.  
But a few I shall not get into."


Based on

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

Researcher for this text: Leonard Lehrman

This text was added to the website: 2010-09-13
Line count: 37
Word count: 246