by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 - 1838)
Translation © by Rufus Hallmark

Was ist's, o Vater, was ich verbrach?
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Was [ist's]1, o Vater, was ich verbrach?
Du brichst mir das Herz und fragst nicht darnach.

Ich hab ihm entsagt nach deinem Befehl,
Doch nicht ihn vergessen, ich hab es nicht Hehl.

Noch lebt er in mir, ich [selbst]2 bin tot,
Und über mich schaltet dein strenges Gebot.

[Wann]3 Herz und Wille gebrochen sind
Bittet um eins noch dein armes Kind.

[Wann]3 bald mein müdes Auge sich schließt,
Und Tränen vielleicht das deine vergeißt;

An der Kirchwand dort, beim Hollunderstrauch,
Wo die Mutter liegt, da lege mich auch.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 May: "ist es"; further changes may exist not shown above.
2 de Lange: "selber"
3 Moszkowitz: "Wenn"

Authorship

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 Czech (Čeština), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ENG ENG ENG FRE ; composed by Zdenko Antonín Václav Fibich.

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

  • ENG English (Rufus Hallmark) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Lewis Novra)
  • ENG English [singable] (Virginia Woods, Mrs. John P. Morgan)
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Peter Donderwinkel

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:24
Line count: 12
Word count: 88

What is it, Father, than I have done...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
What is it, Father, than I have done wrong?
You're breaking my heart and don't care about it.
 
I have renounced him, according to your order,
But have not forgotten him, I make no secret of that.
 
He lives in me still, I myself am dead,
And your strict command holds sway over me.
 
Now that heart and will are broken,
Your poor child asks just one more thing.
 
When my weary eye soon closes,
And tears perhaps flow from yours;
 
Beside the church wall there, by the elder bush,
Where mother lies, there lay me, too.

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: Translation written with assistance from Harald Krebs.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2011 by Rufus Hallmark, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Rufus Hallmark.  Contact: hallmark (AT) rci (DOT) rutgers (DOT) edu

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Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2011-02-06 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:14
Line count: 12
Word count: 97