Wanderer’s Nightsong – A Poem in German by Goethe

IMG_2510Wandrers Nachtlied is the title of two different poems written by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  The 2nd poem was written in 1780.  This is the one we’re featuring here.  It’s considered by many to be the most beautiful poem in the German language.

Here you can read the original poem and listen to an mp3 recording.  After that, you’ll find a modern English translation, followed by a well-known translation from the 1800’s by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Then you can watch a video performance of the poem being sung in an arrangement by Schubert.

MP3 of Wandrers Nachtlied

Wandrers Nachtlied

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

Poem recited by Raphael.

Here’s a modern English Translation (by Lisa):

Wanderer’s Nightsong

Over all mountaintops
Is peace,
In all treetops
You sense
Barely a breath;
The little birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait, soon
You will rest too.

Here’s a translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1845):

Wanderer’s Nightsong

O’er all the hilltops
Is quiet now,
In all the treetops
Hearest thou
Hardly a breath;
The birds are asleep in the trees:
Wait, soon like these
Thou too shalt rest.

Wandrers Nachtlied was set to music by Schubert.  Here is a performance of it from YouTube.  (The lyrics are performed in a slightly different order in this performance.  Below you can read the order of the lyrics as sung in the video.)

Here is the order of the lyrics in the vocal rendition:

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen,
Schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.
Warte nur, warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

May we find a sense of comfort in music and art.

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 12:25 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, German, Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Languages, MP3's, MP3's of Poems, Poems, Poems about Death, Poems about Life, Poems about the World, Poetry, Poets, Recordings of Poems, Recordings of Songs, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Wanderer’s Nightsong – A Poem in German by Goethe”

  1. Roseann Graham Says:

    Thanks for these selections. I needed them today, and they are just “what the doctor ordered.” Amazing!

  2. Helmut Meyer Says:

    This poem has been on my mind lately. Enjoyed the original and the translations!

  3. Bernard Galton Says:

    peace prevails over the peaks
    barely a breath troubles the tree-tops
    the songsters of the forest are silent
    be patient yet: your peace will be punctual enough

Leave a Reply