by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Lau Kanen

Des Menschen Seele
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE ITA
Des Menschen Seele
Gleicht dem Wasser:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
Zum Himmel steigt es,
Und wieder nieder
Zur Erde muß es,
Ewig wechselnd.

Strömt von der hohen,
Steilen Felswand
Der reine Strahl,
Dann stäubt er lieblich
In Wolkenwellen
Zum glatten Fels,
Und leicht empfangen,
Wallt [er verschleiernd]1,
[Leisrauschend]2,
Zur Tiefe nieder.

Ragen Klippen
Dem [Sturz']3 entgegen,
Schäumt er unmuthig
Stufenweise
[Zum]4 Abgrund.

Im flachen [Bette]5
[Schleicht]6 er das Wiesenthal hin,
Und in dem glatten See
Weiden ihr Antlitz
Alle Gestirne. 

Wind ist der Welle
Lieblicher [Buhler]7;
Wind mischt [vom]8 Grund aus
Schäumende [Wogen]9.

Seele des Menschen,
Wie [gleichst]10 du dem Wasser!
Schicksal des Menschen,
Wie gleichst du dem Wind!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Goethe's Werke. Vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand. Zweyter Band. Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der J.G.Cotta'schen Buchhandlung. 1827, pages 58-59; and with Goethe's Schriften, Achter Band, Leipzig, bey Georg Joachim Göschen, 1789, pages 187-188.

1 Schubert (D. 538): "verschleiernd"; and "er verrauschend" in the repetition
2 Schubert (D. 484): "Leisrauschend dann"
3 Goethe (1789 edition): "Sturze"
4 Schubert (D. 484): "Zu dem"
5 Schubert (D. 538 and 714): "Beete"
6 Schubert (D. 484): "Schleichet"
7 Schubert (Alte Gesamtausgabe): "Buhle"
8 Schubert (D. 484 and 538): "von"
9 Schubert (D. 714, Alte Gesamtausgabe): "Wellen"
10 Schubert (D. 484): "gleich"

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 © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Gezang der geesten over de wateren", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Shawn Thuris) , "Song of the spirits over the waters", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Chant des esprits sur les eaux", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Canto degli spiriti sopra le acque", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Martin-Beatus Meier , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-05-03 08:52:16
Line count: 35
Word count: 109

Gezang der geesten over de wateren
Language: Dutch (Nederlands)  after the German (Deutsch) 
De ziel der mensen
Lijkt op 't water:
Van de1 hemel komt het,
Ten hemel stijgt het,
En dan weer keren
Naar d' aarde moet het,
Eeuwig wiss'lend.
 
Stroomt van de hoge,
Steile rotswand
De held're straal,
Dan stuift hij lieflijk
In wolkendampen
Naar 'n gladde rots,
En, licht ontvangen,
Valt hij, versluierend,
Zacht ruisend [ook],
Naar diep beneden.
 
Willen klippen
Zijn neerval breken,
Schuimt hij verbolgen
Trapsgewijze
Naar d' afgrond2.
 
In vlakke bedding
Glijdt3 hij het weidendal door,
En in het gladde meer
Spieg'len 't gelaat zich
Alle gesternten.
 
Wind is de minnaar,
Liev'ling der golven;
Wind woelt uit de diepte
Schuim op het water.
 
Ziel van de mensen,
Wat lijk je op 't water!
Lot van de mensen,
Wat lijk jij op wind!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Van de: te zingen op twee zestienden.
2 Schubert in D.484: Zu dem/Naar de
3 Schubert in D.484: Schleichet/Kronkelt

Authorship

  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to Dutch (Nederlands) copyright © 2011 by Lau Kanen, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
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Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2011-11-11 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:41
Line count: 35
Word count: 125