Night is like a quiet sea:
joy and sorrow and the laments of love
become tangled up
in the gentle throbbing of the waves.
Desires are like clouds
that sail through the quiet space:
who can recognize in the mild wind
whether they are thoughts or dreams?
Even if my heart and mouth now are closed,
that once so easily lamented to the stars,
still, at the bottom of my heart
there remains the gentle throbbing of those waves.
Your blissful, wonderful image
I have in my heart's depths;
it looks so freshly and joyously
at me in every moment.
My heart sings mutely to itself
an old, beautiful song
that soars into the air
and hastens to your side. . .
As the world goes to rest,
my yearning awakens with the stars;
I must listen in the cool
as the waves roar below!
"I am brought here from far away by waves
that beat so mournfully against the land,
beneath the bars of your window.
Lady, do you still know this Knight?"
It is as if strange voices
are floating through the mild air;
once again the wind has taken them away, -
alas, my heart is so anxious!
"Over there lies your ruined castle
lamenting in its desolate halls;
the way the woods greeted me,
I felt as though I must die."
Old sounds burst forth,
sunk long since in time;
melancholy falls on me once again,
and I feel like weeping from my heart.
"Over the wood lightning flashes from afar,
where they are fighting over the grave of Christ;
There will I steer my ship,
and there will everything end!"
A ship leaves with a man upon it;
false night, you bewilder the mind!
Farewell, world! May God protect
those who wander madly in darkness!
I travel silently in the coach -
you are so far from me -
but wherever it might take me,
I remain still with you.
There fly by forests, gorges
and lovely deep valleys,
and larks high in the sky,
as if your voice were calling.
The sun shines merrily
far beyond the area;
I am so happy and so tearful,
and I sing silently inside.
From the mountains, the path goes downward,
the posthorn rings out below;
my soul grows so cheerful
and I greet you from the bottom of my heart.
I wander through the quiet night;
the moon floats so secretly and gently,
often out from a dark cover of clouds.
And here and there in the valley
a nightingale awakens
but then all is gray and still again.
O wonderful nightsong
from distant parts - the rushing of a stream
and the soft shuddering in the dark trees
confuse my thoughts.
My clamorous singing here
is only like a cry from my dreams.
My singing is a cry,
only a cry from my dreams.
The stars were shining with golden light
as I stood alone by the window
and listened to the distant sound
of the posthorn in the still countryside.
My heart became inflamed in my body,
and I thought secretly to myself:
Ah, if only I could journey with them
into that magnificent summer night!
Two young men were walking
past on the slope of the mountain,
and I heard them singing as they walked along
in the quiet area:
of vertiginous, rocky gullies
where the woods rustle so gently;
of springs that rush out from the clefts
into the night of the woods.
They sang of marble statues,
of gardens that grew wild upon stones
in dusky groves;
of palaces in the moonlight
where maidens listen by the windows
when the strum of lutes awakens them;
and of fountains murmuring sleepily
in the magnificent summer night.