Week 92: An Die Entfernte, by Nikolaus Lenau

This lyric by the Austrian Romantic poet Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850) was one of the first German poems I ever got by heart; it seemed to me to have the plangent sweetness of a folksong .

The translation that follows is my own.

An Die Entfernte

Diese Rose pflück ich hier,
In der fremden Ferne;
Liebes Mädchen, dir, ach dir
Brächt ich sie so gerne!

Doch bis ich zu dir mag ziehn
Viele weite Meilen,
Ist die Rose längst dahin,
Denn die Rosen eilen.

Nie soll weiter sich ins Land
Lieb von Liebe wagen,
Als sich blühend in der Hand
Lässt die Rose tragen,

Oder als die Nachtigall
Halme bringt zum Neste,
Oder als ihr süsser Schall
Wandert mit dem Weste.

To One Far Away

See the rose that I pluck here
In foreign land afar –
Oh, could I but bring it, dear,
To you, to where you are.

Yet, before we met, before
I crossed so wide a way,
Long the rose would be no more
For roses do not stay.

Nevermore must love from love
Adventure in the land
Further than a rose may live
Borne blooming in the hand,

Further than the nightingale
Can bring straws to the nest,
Further than its sweet song fill
The wind out of the west.

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