by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by T. P. (Peter) Perrin

Wie anders, Gretchen, war dir's
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ITA
Dom. Amt, Orgel und Gesang. Gretchen unter
vielem Volke. Böser Geist hinter Gretchen.
 
Böser Geist
 Wie anders, Gretchen, war dir's,
 Als du noch voll Unschuld
 [Hier]1 zum Altar trat'st,
 Aus dem vergriffnen Büchelchen
 Gebete lalltest,
 Halb Kinderspiele,
 Halb Gott im Herzen!
 Gretchen!
 Wo steht dein Kopf?
 In deinem Herzen,
 Welche Missethat?
 Bet'st du für deiner Mutter Seele, die
 Durch dich zur langen, langen Pein hinüberschlief?
 Auf deiner Schwelle wessen Blut?
 - Und unter deinem Herzen
 Regt sich's nicht quillend schon,
 Und [ängstet]2 dich und sich
 Mit ahnungsvoller Gegenwart?

Gretchen
 Weh! Weh!
 Wär' ich der Gedanken los,
 Die mir herüber und hinüber gehen
 Wider mich!

Chor
 Dies irae, dies illa
 Solvet saeclum in favilla.

Böser Geist
 Grimm faßt dich!
 Die Posaune tönt!
 Die Gräber beben!
 Und dein Herz,
 Aus Aschenruh'
 Zu Flammenqualen
 Wieder [aufgeschaffen]3,
 Bebt auf!

Gretchen
 Wär' ich hier weg!
 Mir ist als ob die Orgel mir
 Den Athem versetzte,
 Gesang mein Herz
 Im Tiefsten lös'te.

Chor
 Judex ergo cum sedebit,
 Quidquid latet adparebit,
 Nil inultum remanebit.

Gretchen
 Mir wird so [eng]4!
 Die [Mauern-Pfeiler]5
 Befangen mich!
 Das Gewölbe
 Drängt mich! - Luft!

Böser Geist
 Verbirg dich! Sünd' und [Schande]6
 Bleibt nicht verborgen.
 Luft? Licht?
 [Weh]7 dir!

Chor
 Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
 Quem patronum rogaturus?
 Cum vix justus sit securus.

Böser Geist
 Ihr Antlitz wenden
 Verklärte von dir ab.
 Die Hände dir zu reichen,
 [Schauert's]8 den Reinen.
 Weh!

Chor
 Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
[ 
Gretchen
 Nachbarin! Euer Fläschchen! --
 
Sie fällt in Ohnmacht.]9

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke, Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand, Zwölfter Band, Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cottaschen Buchhandlung, 1828, pages 199-201, and with Faust. Eine Tragödie von Goethe, Tübingen, in der J.G.Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1808, pages 252-255.

1 Schumann: "Her"
2 Schubert: "ängstigt"
3 Schubert: "aufgeschreckt"
4 Schubert: "bang"
5 Schubert: "Mauerpfeiler"
6 Schumann: "Schand'"
7 Schubert: "Wehe"
8 Schubert (2nd version only): "Schaudert's"
9 Schubert: replaced by "Quem patronum rogaturus?"

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Scène uit 'Faust' ("Wie anders, Gretchen, was dir's")", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (T. P. (Peter) Perrin) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Henri Blaze de Bury) , first published 1859
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Come tutto era diverso, Gretchen", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 75
Word count: 243

How different, Gretchen, it once was
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Cathedral. Sung Mass with Organ.
Gretchen in the midst of the congregation.

Evil Spirit:
 How different, Gretchen, it once was,
 when you, then wholly innocent,
 came before this altar,
 lisped your prayers
 from the well-worn little book,
 half child's-play,
 half heart-felt devotion.
 
 Gretchen!  Where are your thoughts?
 What bad deed is in your mind?
 Do you pray for your mother's soul
 who, because of you, passed through
 to long long torment?
 Whose blood stains your threshold?
 -- And is not something stirring,
 already growing deep in your heart,
 filling it and you with terror
 by its ominous presence?
 
Gretchen:
 Woe!  Woe!
 If only I were free
 from thoughts that whirl back and forth
 against me.
 
Choir [in Latin]
 Dreaded day, that day of ire,
 When the world shall melt in fire,
 
Evil Spirit:
 Fury seizes you!
 The trumpet sounds!
 Graves start to quake.
 And your heart, from sleep's cinders,
 quickens, trembling, to fresh
 flames of torture!
 
Gretchen:
 Would I were elsewhere!
 I feel as if the organ
 robbed me of breath,
 the chant tore out
 my inmost heart.
 
Choir:
 When the Judge His seat shall gain,
 All that's hidden shall be plain,
 Nothing shall unjudged remain.
 
Gretchen:
 I feel so confined!
 The pillars imprison me!
 The dome presses down on me!  Air!

Evil Spirit:
You'd hide?  Sin and shame
cannot stay hidden.
Air?  Light?  Woe to you.
 
Choir:
 Wretched one, what can I plead?
 Whom to ask to intercede?
 When the just much mercy need?
 
Evil Spirit:
 From you, the blessed
 turn away their faces.
 The pure shrink back from reaching
 out their hands to you.
 Woe!
 
Choir:
 Wretched one, what can I plead?
 Whom to ask to intercede?
 
Gretchen:
 Neighbor!  Your smelling bottle!
 
(She falls unconscious.)

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 by T. P. (Peter) Perrin, (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

 

This text was added to the website: 2010-10-26
Line count: 69
Word count: 286