Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai by Heinrich Heine

Rolf Armstrong
source Wikiart

Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai
Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
Als alle Knospen sprangen
Da ist in meinem Herzen
Die Liebe aufgegangen
Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
Als alle Vögel sangen,
Da hab’ ich ihr gestanden
Mein Sehnen und Verlangen.


In The Wondrously Beautiful Month of May
In the wondrously beautiful month of May
When all the buds sprang open
Then in my heart
Love sprouted.
In the wondrously beautiful month of May
When all the birds were singing
Then I confessed to her
My longing and desire.

This poem has long been one of my favourites.  And what a better time to share it than the month of May and for my Language Freak Summer Challenge.  After reading the English translation, I was left somewhat disconsolate ……… works in translation really do not do justice to the original.

Heinrich Heine was a German poet, journalist, essayist and literary critic, born in Düsseldorf in 1797 and died in Paris in 1856.  His lyric poetry was set to music by composing greats such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.  The government did not take kindly to his radical political views; many of his works were banned in Germany and he spent the last 25 years of his life in exile.  

12 thoughts on “Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai by Heinrich Heine

  1. Oh, German poetry! Great! Thanks for sharing! For me, German verses always sound somehow enchanting, "magic". We read Lorelei in German in the university, and it was a thing of beauty! It's very difficult to find this special mood in translation. There has been only one really good translator from German into Russian, for example (well, to my opinion), others just failed to catch this mood. This English translation also doesn't impress me, but it must be difficult to work with two such different grammars.

  2. More and more, I am not envying translators. As a translator, do you try to convey the mood of the poem/story, or do you simply translate the words? Straddling those two options (and I'm sure there are more) must be very difficult.

    Lorelei sounds interesting. I'm not sure if my German is up to it but I'm going to check it out.

  3. Do try Lorelei! You'll probably have to look up a lot of words, or even find a word-by word translation (I know I had to) but as soon as you get the meaning, reading it becomes a pleasure!

  4. Wow, thanks so much, Carola! I just had a quick look at it and, while it's going to take me a little more than a few minutes to read the poem, it's certainly well within my ability. Yay! I read the first two stanzas and loved it!

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!