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Songs

Die Erde war so lange geizig

by Heinrich Heine From Lyrisches Intermezzo (1823) 1822-1823

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Text & Translation

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Die Erde war so lange geizig
German source: Heinrich Heine

Die Erde war so lange geizig,
Da kam der Mai, und sie ward spendabel,
Und alles lacht, und jauchzt, und freut sich,
Ich aber bin nicht zu lachen kapabel.

Die Blumen sprießen, die Glöcklein schallen,
Die Vögel sprechen wie in der Fabel;
Mir aber will das Gespräch nicht gefallen,
Ich finde alles miserabel.

Das Menschenvolk mich ennuyieret,
Sogar der Freund, der sonst passabel; -
Das kömmt, weil man Madame titulieret
Mein süßes Liebchen, so süß und aimabel.

The stingy earth was melancholy
English translation © Hal Draper

The stingy earth was melancholy
Till May arrived in spendthrift glory,
And everything laughs; but I can’t be jolly,
Nor can I laugh, _a fortiori_.

The chimes are chiming, the flowers florescing,
Birds talk as in a children’s story;
I find their chatter a bit depressing,
I’m glum as any _memento mori_.

I weary of the sons of Adam
Or friends of any category:
All this because they call her ‘Madam,’
My darling love – _hoc mihi dolori_.

Translations by Hal Draper published by Oxford University Press and Suhrkamp/Insel Verlag (1984)

Die Erde war so lange geizig
German source: Heinrich Heine

The stingy earth was melancholy
English source: Hal Draper

Die Erde war so lange geizig,
The stingy earth was melancholy
Da kam der Mai, und sie ward spendabel,
Till May arrived in spendthrift glory,
Und alles lacht, und jauchzt, und freut sich,
And everything laughs; but I can’t be jolly,
Ich aber bin nicht zu lachen kapabel.
Nor can I laugh, _a fortiori_.

Die Blumen sprießen, die Glöcklein schallen,
The chimes are chiming, the flowers florescing,
Die Vögel sprechen wie in der Fabel;
Birds talk as in a children’s story;
Mir aber will das Gespräch nicht gefallen,
I find their chatter a bit depressing,
Ich finde alles miserabel.
I’m glum as any _memento mori_.

Das Menschenvolk mich ennuyieret,
I weary of the sons of Adam
Sogar der Freund, der sonst passabel; -
Or friends of any category:
Das kömmt, weil man Madame titulieret
All this because they call her ‘Madam,’
Mein süßes Liebchen, so süß und aimabel.
My darling love – _hoc mihi dolori_.

Composer

Poet

Heinrich Heine

Heine was born of Jewish parents. Much of his early life was influenced by the financial power of his uncle Salomon Heine, a millionaire Hamburg banker, with whom he remained on an awkward footing for many years. After he had been educated in the…

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