Some of the following material is not in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission. Printing copyright texts or translations without the name of the author or translator is also illegal.
You must use the copyright symbol © when you reprint copyright-protected material.
For more information, contact us at:
Before writing, please read the instructions below the translations (under Authorship). Always include the names of the translators in your email if you wish to reprint something!
Sag an, wer lehrt dich Lieder, So schmeichelnd und so zart? Sie [zaubern]1 einen Himmel Aus trüber Gegenwart. Erst lag das Land, verschleyert, Im Nebel vor uns da - Du singst - und Sonnen leuchten, Und Frühling ist uns nah. Den [Alten, Schilfbekränzten]2, Der seine Urne gießt, Erblickst du nicht, nur Wasser, Wie's durch die Wiesen fließt. So geht es auch dem Sänger, Er [singt und]3 staunt in sich; Was still ein Gott bereitet, Befremdet ihn, wie dich.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Gedichte von Johann Mayrhofer. Wien. Bey Friedrich Volke. 1824, page 9; and with Conversationblatt. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Unterhaltung. Dritter Jahrgang. 1821. Nr. 69. (Wien, Mittwoch den 29. August) Im Verlage der Gerold'schen Buchhandlung, page 821.
Note: Schubert received Mayrhofer's texts generally in handwriting; the printed edition of Mayrhofer's poems appeared much later and presents the texts usually in a revised version.1 Schubert: "rufen"
2 Schubert: "schilfbekränzten Alten"
3 Schubert: "singt, er"
- by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer (1787 - 1836), "Geheimniß", subtitle: "An F. Schubert" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Franz Peter Schubert (1797 - 1828), "Geheimnis", D. 491 (1816), published 1887 [ voice, piano ] [sung text checked 1 time]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Het geheim. Aan Franz Schubert", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Secret. To Franz Schubert", copyright ©
- ENG English [singable] (Yuxin (Sheila) Zhang) , "Secret. To Franz Schubert", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Secret. À Franz Schubert", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]
Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-09-04 20:50:13
Line count: 16
Word count: 78
Oh say, who learns thee ditties, so flatt'ring and so fine? They conjure up a heaven from present gloom and whine. The land at first lay shrouded in mist before us there - thou sing - and sunbeams shine down, and springtime's in the air. The reed-coronalled old man who out his vessel pours thou never see; but water that through the meadows draws. So goes it with the singer: he sings, and awed is he; what God's in silence fashioned perplexes him and thee.
- Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2012 by Yuxin (Sheila) Zhang, (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.
Yuxin (Sheila) Zhang.  Contact: sheilazyx (AT) yahoo (DOT) comIf you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
- a text in German (Deutsch) by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer (1787 - 1836), "Geheimniß", subtitle: "An F. Schubert"
Text added to the website: 2012-05-26 00:00:00
Last modified: 2017-08-08 15:27:04
Line count: 16
Word count: 85