Category Archives: RÜCKERT

Friedrich Rückert: “Would You Hear A Heart’s Refrain?”

Excerpt, “Gems of German Lyrics:  Consisting of Selections from Ruckert, Lenau, Chamisso, Freiligrath and Others.”  Translated into English Verse by Henry D. Wireman.  1869.


would you hear

Friedrich Rückert: “The Substance of Life”

Excerpt, “English Echoes of German Song.” Tr. by R. E. Wallis, J. D. Morell and F. D’Anvers. Ed. by N. D’Anvers. London: 1877.



Friedrich Rückert: “Would You Hear A Heart’s Refrain?”

Excerpt, “Gems of German Lyrics:  Consisting of Selections from Ruckert, Lenau, Chamisso, Freiligrath and Others.”  Translated into English Verse by Henry D. Wireman.  1869.

would you hear2

Friedrich Rückert: “Christkindlein”




How bird-like o’er the flakes of snow

Its fairy footsteps flew!

And on its soft and childish brow

How delicate the hue!


And expectation wings its feet,

And stirs its infant smile;

The merry bells their chime repeat;

The child stands still the while.


Then clasps in joy its little hand;

Then marks the Christian dome;

The stranger child, in stranger land,

Feels now as if at home.


It runs along the sparkling ground;

Its face with gladness beams;

It frolics in the blaze around,

Which from each window gleams.


The shadows dance upon the wall,

Reflected from the trees;

And from the branches, green and tall,

The glittering gifts it sees.


It views within the lighted hall

The charm of social love;

O, what a joyous festival!

‘Tis sanctioned from above.


But now the childish heart’s unstrung:

“Where is my taper’s light?

And why no evergreen been hung

With toys for me tonight?


“In my sweet home there was a band

Of holy love for me;

A mother’s kind and tender hand

Once decked my Christmas-tree.


“Oh, some one take me ‘neath the blaze

Of those light tapers, do!

And, children, I can feel the plays;

O, let me play with you!


“I care not for the prettiest toy;

I want the love of home;

O, let me in your playful joy,

Forget I have to roam!”


The little fragile hand is raised,

It strikes at every gate;

In every window earnest gazed,

Then ‘mid the now it sat.


“Christkindle! Thou, the children’s friend,

I’ve none to love me now!

Hast thou forgot my tree to send,

With lights on every bough?”


The baby’s hands are numbed with frost,

Yet press the little cloak;

Then on its breast in meekness crossed,

A sigh the silence broke.


And closer still the cloak it drew

Around its silken hair;

Its pretty eyes, so clear and blue,

Alone defied the air.


Then came another pilgrim child,

A shining light he held,

The accents fell so sweet and mild,

All music they excelled.


“I am thy Christmas friend, indeed,

And once a child like thee,

When all forget, thy need’st not plead.

I will adorn thy tree.


“My joys are felt in street or bower,

My aid is everywhere;

Thy Christmas-tree, my precious flower,

Here, in the open air,


“Shall far outshine those other trees,

Which caught thy infant eye.”

The stranger child looks up, and sees,

Far, in the deep blue sky,


A glorious tree, and stars among,

The branches hang their light,

The child, with soul all music, sung.

“My tree indeed is bright!”


As ‘neath the power of a dream

The infant closed its eyes,

And troops of radiant angels seem

Descending from the skies,


The baby to its Christ they bear;

With Jesus it shall live;

It finds a home and treasure there

Sweeter than earth can give.



RÜCKERT: You My Soul, You My Heart

Friedrich RÜCKERT (1788-1866), “Aus dem Liebesfrühling”, from Liebesfrühling, no. 4

Set by Bela Bartok (1881-1945), “Du meine Liebe, du mein Herz”, from Liebeslieder, no. 1. Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Du meine Seele, du mein Herz

You my soul, you my heart,
you my bliss, o you my pain,
you the world in which I live;
you my heaven, in which I float,
o you my grave, into which
I eternally cast my grief.

You are rest, you are peace,
you are bestowed upon me from heaven.
That you love me makes me worthy of you;
your gaze transfigures me;
you raise me lovingly above myself,
my good spirit, my better self!



RÜCKERT: Satisfied Longing

Friedrich RÜCKERT (1788-1866),
“Jugendlieder” – Werke, vol. 2, published 1816.

Set by Johann von Haszlinger, “Gestillte Sehnsucht”, op. 5 (Sechs Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte) no. 2. Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Gestillte Sehnsucht

Steeped in a golden evening glow,
how solemnly the forests stand!
In gentle voices the little birds breathe
into the soft fluttering of evening breezes.
What does the wind whisper, and the little birds?
They whisper the world into slumber.

You, my desires, that stir
in my heart without rest or peace!
You longings that move my heart,
When will you rest, when will you sleep?
By the whispering of the wind, and of the little birds?
You yearning desires, when will you fall asleep?

What will come of these dreamy flights?
What stirs me so anxiously, so sweetly?
It comes pulling me from far-off hills,
It comes from the trembling gold of the sun.
The wind whispers loudly, as do the little birds;
The longing, the longing - it will not fall asleep. 

Alas, when no longer into the golden distance
does my spirit hurry on dream-wings,
when no more on the eternally distant stars
does my longing gaze rest;
Then the wind and the little birds
will whisper away my longing, along with my life.


Friedrich Rückert: “Barbarossa”

The ancient Barbarossa,
Friedrich, the Kaiser great,
Within the castle-cavern
Sits in enchanted state.

He did not die; but ever
Waits in the chamber deep,
Where hidden under the castle
He sat himself to sleep.

The splendor of the Empire
He took with him away,
And back to earth will bring it
When dawns the promised day.

The chair is ivory purest
Whereof he makes his bed;
The table is of marble
Whereon he props his head.

His beard, not flax, but burning
With fierce and fiery glow,
Right through the marble table
Beneath his chair does grow.

He nods in dreams and winketh
With dull, half-open eyes,
And once a page he beckons beckons--
A page that standeth by.

He bids the boy in slumber
"O dwarf, go up this hour,
And see if still the ravens
Are flying round the tower;

And if the ancient ravens
Still wheel above us here,
Then must I sleep enchanted
For many a hundred year."