Skip to main content



Gretchen am Spinnrade (1814) D118

Gretchen am Spinnrade

Meine Ruh’ ist hin,
Mein Herz ist schwer,
Ich finde sie nimmer
Und nimmermehr.
Wo ich ihn nicht hab’
Ist mir das Grab,
Die ganze Welt
Ist mir vergällt.
Mein armer Kopf
Ist mir verrückt
Mein armer Sinn
Ist mir zerstückt.
Nach ihm nur schau’ ich
Zum Fenster hinaus,
Nach ihm nur geh’ ich
Aus dem Haus.
Sein hoher Gang,
Sein’ edle Gestalt,
Seines Mundes Lächeln,
Seiner Augen Gewalt.
Und seiner Rede
Sein Händedruck,
Und ach, sein Kuss!
Mein Busen drängt sich
Nach ihm hin.
Ach dürft’ ich fassen
Und halten ihn.
Und küssen ihn
So wie ich wollt’
An seinen Küssen
Vergehen sollt’!

Gretchen at the spinning-wheel

My peace is gone
My heart is heavy;
I shall never
Ever find peace again.
When he’s not with me,
Life’s like the grave;
The whole world
Is turned to gall.
My poor head
Is crazed,
My poor mind
My peace is gone
My heart is heavy;
I shall never
Ever find peace again.
It’s only for him
I gaze from the window,
It’s only for him
I leave the house.
His proud bearing
His noble form,
The smile on his lips,
The power of his eyes,
And the magic flow
Of his words,
The touch of his hand,
And ah, his kiss!
My peace is gone
My heart is heavy;
I shall never
Ever find peace again.
My bosom
Yearns for him.
Ah! if I could clasp
And hold him,
And kiss him
To my heart’s content,
And in his kisses
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)


Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.

See Full Entry

Sorry, no further description available.

Sponsor a Song

Sponsor a Song from £25 - £100: enjoy seeing a credit or dedication alongside your song(s) of choice, and help ensure the future of Oxford Lieder.

Find out More