by Eduard von Bauernfeld (1802 - 1890)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der Liebe Schmerzen weinen durch die Nacht,
Wenn Ruhe waltet und Selene wacht,
Die leisen Laute, die der Brust entflieh'n ,
Sie zieh'n verstanden durch die stillen Lüfte hin.

Da horch! Ertönt der Ruf der Nachtigall:
Zum Schlag verstärket sich der schwache Schall,
Er steigt, er fällt, er hebt sich und zerfliesst
Bis er, erneuet, sich in einem Ton ergiesst.

Ein Ton, gemischt aus Schmerz und Lust,
Zu mächtig fast für seines Sängers Brust;
Die Kehle, die ihn singt versteht ihn nicht:
Ihn fühlt die Menschenbrust der er gebricht!

D'rum Nachtigall der Liebe Vogel ist:
Der Liebe, der des Schmerzens Träne fliesst,
Wie jener, die vom sel'gen Glück berauscht,
In des Besitzers Lust dem süssem Tone lauscht.


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):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Nightingale", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

Text added to the website: 2008-03-31 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:39
Line count: 16
Word count: 117

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Love's heartaches weep all through the night,
When peace rules and Selene [the moon] wakes,
The quiet sounds that flee from the heart,
Are drawn audibly through the silent air.

Hark! Now sounds the call of the nightingale:
Into a peal, it builds from a weak sound,
It rises, it falls, it lifts itself up and melts away
Until it refashions itself, gushing out in one great tone.

One note, mixing pain and pleasure,
Too powerful for its singer's breast;
The throat that produces it can't comprehend it:
I can only be understood by the human heart the bird lacks!

Therefore, the nightingale is "the Bird of Love":
Of love, from which pain's tears flow,
Like she, who with tranquil happiness is intoxicated,
With pleasure, listens to the sweet tone.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 by Laura Prichard, (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.

Based on


Text added to the website: 2020-01-03 00:00:00
Last modified: 2020-01-03 22:16:48
Line count: 16
Word count: 130