Monday, May 4, 2015

Goethe’s ‘Wandrers Nachtlied'

My translations of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘Wandrers Nachtlied I & II’, considered his most beautiful (and well known) work.

Wandrers Nachtlied I
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Der du von dem Himmel bist,
Alles Leid und Schmerzen stillest,
Den, der doppelt elend ist,
Doppelt mit Erquickung füllest;
Ach, ich bin des Treibens müde!
Was soll all der Schmerz und Lust?
Süßer Friede,
Komm, ach komm in meine Brust!

Nightsong of the Wayfarer I
translated by 
Mustansir Dalvi

You, who art from heaven descended,
every pain and sorrow stilled;
while I, doubly wretched
am twice with sustenance filled;
Oh, I am tired of this hustle and bustle!
Why all this pleasure and sorrow?
Sweet stillness,
come, oh come to me!

Wandrers Nachtlied II
(Ein Gleiches )
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

Nightsong of the Wayfarer II
(Another one)
translated by 
Mustansir Dalvi

On every peak
there is peace,
through all the trees
you barely sense
the breath of breeze;
not a peep from birds in the woods.
Wait a bit, soon
you too will be at ease.

Goethe apparently wrote this second poem on the walls of a wooden shed on top of the Kickelhahn mountain near Ilmenau on the night of September 6, 1780. The image is a facsimile.

(For Arif Dalvi)

Translation (c) Mustansir Dalvi, 2015. All rights reserved.