Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Das Sehnen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Wehmuth, die mich hüllt,
Welche Gottheit stillt
Mein unendlich Sehnen?
Die ihr meine Wimper näßt,
Namenlosen Gram entpreßt,
Fliesset, fliesset Thränen!
Mond, der lieb und traut
In mein Fenster schaut,
Sage, was mir fehle?
Sterne, die ihr droben blinkt,
Holden Gruß mir freundlich winkt,
Nennt mir, was mich quäle.

Leise [Schauer wehn]1,
Süsses [Liebeflehn]2
Girrt um mich im Düstern.
Rosen und Violenduft
Würzen rings die Zauberluft,
Holde Stimmen flüstern.

In die Ferne strebt!
Wie auf Flügeln schwebt
Mein erhöhtes Wesen.
Fremder Zug, geheime Kraft,
Namenlose Leidenschaft,
Laß, ach laß genesen!

Aengstender beklemmt
Mich die Wehmuth, hemmt
Athem mir und Rede.
Einsam schmachten, o der Pein!
O des Grams, allein zu seyn
In des Lebens Oede.

Ist denn ach kein Arm,
Der in Freud' und Harm
Liebend mich umschlösse?
Ist denn ach kein fühlend Herz,
Keines, drinn in Lust und Schmerz
Meines sich ergösse?

Die ihr einsam klagt,
Einsam wenn es tagt,
Einsam wenn es nachtet.
Ungeströstet ach, verächzt
Ihr das holde Daseyn, lechzt,
Schmachtet und verschmachtet.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with L.T.Kosegarten's Poesieen, Neueste Auflage, Dritter Band, Berlin 1803, pages 12-14. This is the source used by Schubert. Kosegarten's poem is slightly different in later editions; it has the title "Sehnsucht" (see below).

1 Kosegarten (Leipzig 1802 and Berlin 1803 editions): "Schauerwehn" (misprint?)
2 Schubert: "Liebesflehn"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Another version of this text exists in the database.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "L'anhel", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De hunkering", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Longing", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 42
Word count: 166

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
How sorrow envelops me!
What divinity will calm
My endless longing?
As you dampen my eyelids
Oppressed with nameless pain
Flow, flow, you tears!

Moon, as you lovingly and intimately
Look into my window,
Tell me what I am lacking!
Stars, gleaming up there,
Gesturing to me with a beauteous greeting,
Name what it is that is disturbing me!

Gentle shudders cause pain,
Sweet pleadings of love can be heard
Cooing around me in darkness.
The scents of roses and violets
Add spice to the magical air.
Beautiful voices whisper.

Struggling in the distance,
As if hovering on wings,
Is my heightened being.
Alien pull, secret power,
Nameless suffering,
Oh let me, let me recover!

More anxiously oppressed
As I am by sorrow, I have difficulty
Breathing and speaking.
Languishing alone, oh what pain!
Oh the grief of being alone
In the barrenness of life.

So is there then no arm
Which in joy and affliction
Will embrace me with love?
So is there then no feeling heart,
Noone who, in pleasure or pain,
Will take delight in me?

You who lament alone,
Alone when day breaks,
Alone when night sets in,
Uncomforted, oh, you scorn
This beautiful existence, you pant,
Languishing and parched.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Malcolm Wren, (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


This text was added to the website: 2016-08-30
Line count: 42
Word count: 204