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

Ich hab ihn im Schlafe zu sehen gemeint
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Ich hab ihn im [Schlafe]1 zu sehen gemeint,
Noch sträubt vor Entsetzen mein Haar sich empor,
O hätt ich doch schlaflos die Nacht durchweint,
Wie manche der Nächte zuvor!

Ich sah ihn verstört, [zerrissen]2 und bleich,
Wie er in den Sand zu schreiben schien,
Er schrieb unsre Namen, ich kannt es gleich,
Da hab ich wohl laut [geschrien]3.

Er fuhr zusammen, [vom]4 Schrei erschreckt
Und blickte mich an verstummt wie das Grab,
Ich hielt ihm die Arme entgegengestreckt,
Und er -- er wandte sich ab.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 de Lange: "Traume"
2 Mandyczewski: "verrissen"
3 Bergh: "geschrieen"
4 Mandyczewski: "von" (typo in score?)


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):

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

Researcher for this text: Peter Donderwinkel

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 84

I thought I saw him in my sleep
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I thought I saw him in my sleep,
From dread my hair still stands on end;
Oh if only I had cried sleeplessly through the night,
                As on many a previous night.
I saw him troubled, worried and pale,
As he appeared to write in the sand;
He wrote our names, I knew it straightway,
                And I cried out loudly.
He started, horrified by my cry,
And looked at me, silent as the grave,
I held my arms out to him,
                And he-- he turned away.

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: Translation written with assistance from Harald Krebs.


  • 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

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2011-02-06
Line count: 12
Word count: 86