by Heinrich Heine (1797 - 1856)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Oben auf des Berges Spitze
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE ITA SPA
Oben auf des Berges Spitze
Liegt das Schloß in Nacht gehüllt;
Doch im Tale leuchten Blitze,
Helle Schwerter klirren wild.

Das sind Brüder, die dort fechten
Grimmen Zweikampf, wutentbrannt.
Sprich, warum die Brüder rechten
Mit dem Schwerte in der Hand?

Gräfin Lauras Augenfunken
Zündeten den Brüderstreit.
Beide glühen liebestrunken
Für die adlig holde Maid.

Welchem aber von den beiden
Wendet sich ihr Herze zu?
Kein Ergrübeln kann's entscheiden -
Schwert heraus, entscheide du!

Und sie fechten kühn verwegen,
Hieb auf Hiebe niederkracht's.
Hütet euch, ihr wilden Degen.
[Böses Blendwerk schleicht des]1 Nachts.

Wehe! Wehe! blut'ge Brüder!
Wehe! Wehe! blut'ges Tal!
Beide Kämpfer stürzen nieder,
Einer in des andern Stahl. -

Viel Jahrhunderte verwehen,
Viel Geschlechter deckt das Grab;
Traurig von des Berges Höhen
Schaut das öde Schloß herab.

Aber nachts, im Talesgrunde,
Wandelt's heimlich, wunderbar;
Wenn da kommt die zwölfte Stunde,
Kämpfet dort das Brüderpaar.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Schumann: "Grausig Blendwerk schleichet"


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 © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De vijandige broers", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The hostile brothers", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Deux frères", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "I fratelli nemici", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Saúl Botero Restrepo) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 145

The hostile brothers
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 Up on the summit of the mountain
 the castle stands shrouded in night;
 but in the valley, lightning blazes
 and bright swords clash savagely.
 It is brothers fencing
 a grim duel there, enraged with anger.
 Tell me, why are brothers fighting
 with sword in hand?
 Countess Laura's sparkling eyes
 ignited the brothers' strife:
 both smoulder, intoxicated with love,
 for the noble, lovely maid.
 But to which of the two
 does her heart lean?
 No musing can decide it;
 so out comes the sword - you shall decide!
 And they fight on keenly, foolhardily,
 blow upon blow cracking down.
 Beware, you savage swordsmen.
 Grisly illusion creeps about in the night.
 Woe! Woe! Bloody brothers!
 Woe! Woe! Bloody valley!
 Both fighters fall,
 each upon the other's steel.
 Many centuries drift past,
 graves cover many generations;
 mournfully from the heights of the mountain
 the deserted castle looks down.
 But at night, in the depths of the valley,
 something is moving secretly, wondrously:
 when the twelfth hour arrives,
 the pair of brothers are fighting there.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 172