Translation © by Linda Godry

Herrgott, weißt du, was du tatest (Waldemar)
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Danish (Dansk) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE ITA
 Herrgott, weißt du, was du tatest,
 als klein Tove mir verstarb?
 Triebst mich aus der letzten Freistatt,
 die ich meinem Glück erwarb!
 Herr, du solltest wohl erröten:
 Bettlers einz'ges Lamm zu töten!
 Herrgott, ich bin auch ein Herrscher,
 und es ist mein Herrscherglauben:
 Meinem Untertanen darf ich nie
 die letzte Leuchte rauben.
 Falsche Wege schlägst du ein:
 Das heißt wohl Tyrann, nicht Herrscher sein!
 Herrgott, deine Engelscharen
 singen stets nur deinen Preis,
 doch dir wäre mehr vonnöten
 einer, der zu tadeln weiß.
 Und wer mag solches wagen?
 Laß mich, Herr, die Kappe deines Hofnarrn tragen!


Based on

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 © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Linda Godry) , copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2013-08-14
Line count: 19
Word count: 96

Lord God, do you know what you were...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 Lord God, do you know what you were doing,
 when my little Tove died?
 You drove me from the last safe hold
 I had won for my happiness!
 Lord, you should be ashamed
 to kill a beggar's only lamb!
 Lord God, I am a King myself,
 and as that, it is my firm belief
 that I must never
 rob a subservient's last light.
 You are doing wrong:
 Thus being a tyrant not a ruler!
 Lord God, your heavenly hosts
 endlessly sing your praise,
 but you badly need somebody
 to tell you where you are wrong.
 And who, pray, will be so daring?
 Let me, Lord, wear your court jester's cap!

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 by Linda Godry, (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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This text was added to the website: 2004-11-22
Line count: 19
Word count: 111