Translation © by Emily Ezust

Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG ENG FRE
Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Alles, was ich habe,
Dank' ich, Spaden, dir!
Reich' und arme Leute
Werden meine Beute,
Kommen einst zu mir!

Weiland groß und edel,
Nickte dieser Schädel
Keinem Grusse Dank!
Dieses Beingerippe
Ohne Wang' und Lippe
Hatte Gold und Rang.

Jener Kopf mit Haaren
War vor wenig Jahren
Schön, wie Engel sind!
Tausend junge Fentchen
Leckten ihm das Händchen,
Gafften sich halb blind!

Grabe, Spaden, grabe!
Alles, was ich habe,
Dank' ich, Spaden, dir!
Reich' und arme Leute
Werden meine Beute,
Kommen einst zu mir!

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Ludewig Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Besorgt durch seine Freunde Friederich Leopold Grafen zu Stolberg und Johann Heinrich Voß. Hamburg, bei Carl Ernst Bohn. 1783, pages 44-45, with Poetische Blumenlese für das Jahr 1777. Herausgegeben von Joh. Heinr. Voß. Hamburg, bey Carl Ernst Bohn, pages 60-61, and with Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty's Sämtliche Werke kritisch und chronologisch herausgegeben von Wilhelm Michael, Erster Band, Weimar, Gesellschaft der Bibliophilen, 1914, page 195.

Note: Modern spelling would change "Spaden" to "Spaten" (line 1-1) and "Fentchen" to "Fäntchen" (line 3-4)


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 © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Doodgraverslied", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Grave-digger's song", copyright ©
  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Dig! And, Spade, keep diggin'!", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 87

Grave‑digger's song
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Dig, spade, dig!
Everything that I have
I thank you for, spade!
Both rich and poor people
Will be my prey,
Will come one day to me.

Formerly great and noble,
this skull nodded
no return of greetings.
This skeleton
without cheeks and lips
had once gold and rank.

That head with hair
Was just a few years ago
beautiful, as angels are.
A thousand young fops
licked his hands,
and gaped themselves half blind.

Dig, spade, dig!
Everything that I have
I thank you for, spade!
Both rich and poor people
Will be my prey,
Will come one day to me.

Authorship

  • 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 -- https://www.lieder.net/

    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: 24
Word count: 102