by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)
Translation by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)

I asked nothing from thee
Language: English  after the Bangla (Bengali) 
Available translation(s): GER
I asked nothing from thee; 
I uttered not my name to thine ear. 
When thou took'st thy leave I stood silent. 
I was alone by the well 
where the shadow of the tree fell aslant, 
and the women had gone home 
with their brown earthen pitchers full to the brim. 
They called me and shouted, 
'Come with us, the morning is wearing on to noon.' 
But I languidly lingered awhile 
lost in the midst of vague musings.

I heard not thy steps as thou camest. 
Thine eyes were sad when they fell on me; 
thy voice was tired as thou spokest low - 
'Ah, I am a thirsty traveller.' 
I started up from my day-dreams 
and poured water from my jar 
on thy joined palms. 
The leaves rustled overhead; 
the cuckoo sang from the unseen dark, 
and perfume of babla flowers 
came from the bend of the road.

I stood speecess with shame 
when my name thou didst ask. 
Indeed, what had I done for thee 
to keep me in remembrance? 
But the memory that I could give water to thee 
to allay thy thirst will cling to my heart 
and enfold it in sweetness. 
The morning hour is late, 
the bird sings in weary notes, 
neem leaves rustle overhead 
and I sit and think and think.

About the headline (FAQ)


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)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Dutch (Nederlands), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Frans Louis Wiemans.
  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by André Gide (1869 - 1951) , no title, appears in Gitanjali (L'Offrande lyrique), first published 1914 ; composed by Elsa Barraine.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Das welterfüllende Licht", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2010-11-03
Line count: 33
Word count: 217