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Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde

Language: German

Schon winkt der Wein im goldnen Pokale,
Doch trinkt noch nicht, erst sing ich euch ein Lied!
Das Lied vom Kummer [soll auflachend
in die Seele euch klingen]1. Wenn der Kummer naht,
[liegen wüst die Gärten der Seele,
Welkt hin und stirbt die Freude, der Gesang.]2
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod.
[Dein Keller birgt des goldnen Weins die Fülle]4

Herr dieses [Hauses!
Dein Keller birgt die Fülle des goldenen Weins!]3
Hier, diese [lange]4 Laute nenn' ich mein!
Die Laute schlagen und die Gläser leeren,
Das sind [die]5 Dinge, die zusammen passen.
Ein voller Becher Weins zur rechten Zeit
Ist mehr wert, als [alle]6 Reiche dieser Erde!
Dunkel is das Leben, ist der Tod.

Das Firmament blaut ewig und die Erde
Wird lange [fest stehen und aufblühn im Lenz.]7
Du aber, Mensch, wie lang lebst denn du?
Nicht hundert Jahre darfst du dich ergötzen
An all dem morschen Tande dieser Erde,
[Nur ein Besitztum ist dir ganz gewiss:
Das ist das Grab, das grinsende, am Erde.
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod.]4

Seht dort hinab! 
Im Mondschein auf den Gräbern hockt
eine wildgespenstische Gestalt - Ein Aff ist's!
 Hört ihr, wie sein Heulen hinausgellt
 in den süßen Duft des [Lebens!]8
Jetzt [nehm]9 den Wein! Jetzt ist es Zeit, Genossen!
Leert eure goldnen Becher [zu]10 Grund!
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod!

Translation(s): ENG ITA FIN CAT
PLEASE NOTE: THE MATERIAL DIRECTLY ABOVE IS COPYRIGHT. Copyright infringement is a serious criminal offense under international law.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bethge: "soll euch in die Seele / Auflachend klingen!"
2 Bethge: "So stirbt die Freude, der Gesang erstirbt, / Wüst liegen die Gemächer meiner Seele."
3 Bethge: "Hauses, - ich besitze andres:"
4 omitted by Mahler
5 Bethge: "zwei"
6 Bethge: "die"
7 Bethge: "feststehn auf den alten Füssen,"
8 Bethge: "Abends"
9 Bethge: "nehmt"
10 Bethge: "zum"
Die chinesische Flöte. Nachdichtungen chinesischer Lyrik, Band 1, YinYang Media Verlag. ISBN 3-9806799-5-0.


Based on Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
    * ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Drinking song of the misery of the earth", copyright ©
    * ITA Italian (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Canto conviviale sul dolore del mondo", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * FIN Finnish (Milla Valkeasuo) , "Juomalaulu maailman surkeudelle", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * CAT Catalan (Salvador Pila) , "Cançó de taverna de la misèria terrenal", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2004-01-16.

Notes about what "text verified" means can be found here.

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Drinking song of the misery of the earth

Language: English

 The wine is already beckoning in the golden goblet,
 but do not drink yet - first, I will sing you a song!
 The song of sorrow shall resound 
 laughingly in your soul. When sorrow draws near,
 the gardens of the soul will lie desolate,
 wilting; joy and song will die.
 Dark is life, dark is death.
 [Your cellar is full of golden wine!]
 Lord of this house!
 Your cellar is full of golden wine!
 Here, this lute I call my own!
 Strumming on the lute and emptying glasses -
 these are the things that go together.
 A full glass of wine at the proper moment
 is worth more than all the riches of the world!
 Dark is life, dark is death.
 The heavens are forever blue and the earth
 Will stand firm for a long time and bloom in spring.
 But you, Man, how long will you live then?
 Not a hundred years are you allowed to enjoy
 in all the rotten triviality of this earth!

 Look down there!
 In the moonlight, on the graves
 crouches a wild, ghostly figure - It is an ape!
 Hear how its howls resound piercingly
 in the sweet fragrance of life!
 Now take the wine! Now is the time - enjoy!
 Empty the golden goblet to the bottom!
 Dark is life, dark is death!

PLEASE NOTE: THE MATERIAL DIRECTLY ABOVE IS COPYRIGHT. Copyright infringement is a serious criminal offense under international law.


    * Translation from German to English copyright © by Emily Ezust,

    (emily at lieder dot net)

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) student or faculty recital programs and free concerts, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive --

    For other purposes, such as CD booklets, non-academic recital or concert programs, online publications, etc., please write to the above e-mail address to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on Based on Based on

Text added to the website: 2004-01-16.