by Gottfried Keller (1819 - 1890)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Ich will spiegeln mich in jenen Tagen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ich will spiegeln mich in jenen Tagen,
Die wie Lindewipfelwehn entflohn,
Wo die Silbersaite, angeschlagen,
Klar, doch bebend gab den ersten Ton,
Der mein Leben lang,
Erst heut noch, widerklang,
Ob die Saite längst zerrissen schon;

Wo ich ohne Tugend, ohne Sünde,
Blank wie Schnee vor dieser Sonne lag,
Wo dem Kindesauge noch die Binde
Lind verbarg den blendend hellen Tag:
Du entschwundene Welt
Klingst über Wald und Feld
Hinter mir wie ferner Wachtelschlag.

Wie so fabelhaft ist hingegangen
Jener Zeit bescheidne Frühlingspracht,
Wo, von Mutterliebe noch umfangen,
Schon die Jugendliebe leis erwacht
Wie, von Sonnenschein
Durchspielt, ein Edelstein,
Den ein Glücklicher ans Licht gebracht.

Wenn ich scheidend einst muß überspringen
Jene Kluft, die keine Brücke trägt,
Wird mir nicht ein Lied entgegenklingen,
Das bekannt und ahnend mich erregt?
O die Welt ist weit!
Ob nicht die Jugendzeit
Irgendwo noch an das Herz mir schlägt?

Träumerei! was sollten jene hoffen,
Die nie sahn der Jugend Lieblichkeit,
Die ein unnatürlich Los getroffen,
Frucht zu bringen ohne Blütenzeit!
Ach, was man nicht kennt,
Danach das Herz nicht brennt
Und bleibt kalt dafür in Ewigkeit!

In den Waldeskronen meines Lebens
Atme fort, du kühles Morgenwehn!
Heiter leuchte, Frühstern guten Strebens,
Laß mich treu in deinem Scheine gehn!
Rankend Immergrün
Soll meinen Stab umblühn,
Nur noch einmal will ich rückwärts sehn!

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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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "Thoughts of youth", copyright ©

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 42
Word count: 217

Thoughts of youth
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I will reflect on those days,
which, like the waving tops of the linden trees, have flown away,
when the silver string that was strummed
produced a clear yet trembling first note;
my entire life long,
it has echoed even until this day,
although the string has long since snapped.

When I, with neither virtue nor sin,
lay bright as snow before this sun,
when my child's eyes remained
tenderly closed against the brilliance of day:
You, vanished world,
resounded over wood and field
behind me, like the call of distant quails.

How fabulously has that time departed
with its shy spring splendor,
when, still enfolded by mother-love,
youthful love was gently awakening
like a precious stone,
shining with sunlight,
brought by a happy man into the light.

When I must depart and leap across
that gulf that has no bridge,
will a song not resound,
familiar and portentous, to stir me?
O the world is wide!
Will not that time of youth
somewhere still throb against my heart?

Dreams! what should they hope for,
those who never saw the charm of youth,
who met with unnatural sorrow
to bear fruit without a time to bloom!
Alas, what one does not know,
shall never pull hotly at the heart
and it will remain cold forever.

In the forest treetops of my life,
breathe forth, you cool morning breezes!
Shine happily, morning star of good striving,
let me walk faithfully in your light!
Climbing evergreen 
shall bloom about my walking-stick,
and just once more shall I look back!


  • 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: 42
Word count: 257