Friday, February 25, 2011

Das Veilchen/The Violet

I have violets growing all around my apartment and I thought I'd share a poem by Johann W. Goethe, first in German and then in English along with some photos... enjoy!

Das Veilchen             By: Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832)

Ein Veilchen auf der Wiese stand,
gebückt in sich und unbekammt:
es war ein herzigs Veilchen

Da kam ein'junge Schäferin
mit leichten Schritt un
muntern Sinn daher,
die Wiese her un sang.

Ach! Denkt das Veilchen,
wär ich nur die schönste Blume der Natur,
ach, nur ein kleines Veilchen,
bis mich das Liebchen abgepflückt
und an dem Busen mattgedrückt,
ach nur, ach nur ein Viertel stündchen lang.

Ach, aber ach! Das Mädchen kam
un nicht in acht das Veilchen nahn,
ertrat das arme Veilchen.

Es sank un starb und freut'sich noch:
und sterb ich denn, so sterb ich doch durch sie,
auch sie, zu ihren Füßendoch.

Dar arme Veilchen!
Es war ein herzigs Veilchen

The Violet
A violet in the meadow grew,

blushing quietly, quite unknown;
a pretty little violet.

A young shepherdess drew near,
with tripping foot and merry heart,
she came alone,
singing through the meadow.

If only, the violet mused, I were
the finest flower in the world,
just for a little while,
until the dear girl picked me
and pressed me to her heart 'til I died,
if only, if only for a quarter of an hour!

Alas! The girl approached
and paid no heed to the violet;
she trod it underfoot.

It sank and died, yet it rejoiced:
if I must die, at least I die through her,
through her, here, 'neath her feet.

Poor violet! 
It was a pretty violet!

Violets from my "garden" and flower pots!

... and none of them are being trampled on!


  1. Those are pretty - heard they were hard to grow.

    Now I have heard of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, but not this piece.

    Hope you had a good day.


  2. Very timely that you should mention violets, Doris. I used to have countless violets but have not had them in literally decades. Seeing your post reminds me of how much I miss having a sweet violet in my kitchen window. Looks like I will be filling that little absence soon.

  3. I am learning the Mozart setting of this poem in voice lessons, and your page seems to be one of the only ones where I can find a literal translation! (not a rhyme-y English one) Thanks! I love your violets!