The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive
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Gesang der Geister über den Wassern

Language: German

Des Menschen Seele
Gleicht dem Wasser:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
Zum Himmel steigt es,
Und wieder nieder
Zur Erde muß es,
Ewig wechselnd.

Strömt von der hohen,
Steilen Felswand
Der reine Strahl,
Dann stäubt er lieblich
In Wolkenwellen
Zum glatten Fels,
Und leicht empfangen,
Wallt er verschleiernd,
Leisrauschend
Zur Tiefe nieder.

Ragen Klippen
Dem Sturz entgegen,
Schäumt er unmutig
Stufenweise
Zum Abgrund.

Im flachen Bette
Schleicht er das Wiesental hin,
Und in dem glatten See
Weiden ihr Antlitz
Alle Gestirne. 

Wind ist der Welle
Lieblicher Buhler;
Wind mischt vom Grund aus
Schäumende Wogen.

Seele des Menschen,
Wie gleichst du dem Wasser!
Schicksal des Menschen,
Wie gleichst du dem Wind!



Translation(s): ENG ITA FRE DUT

Submitted by Martin-Beatus Meier

Authorship

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 (Shawn Thuris) , "Song of the spirits over the waters", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * ITA Italian (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Canto degli spiriti sopra le acque", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * FRE French (Pierre Mathé) , "Chant des esprits sur les eaux", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
    * DUT Dutch [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Gezang der geesten over de wateren", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

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

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Song of the spirits over the waters

Language: English

 The soul of man
 Is like the water:
 It comes from heaven,
 It returns to heaven,
 And down again
 To earth must go,
 Ever changing.
 
 When from the high,
 Sheer wall of rock
 The pure stream gushes,
 It sprays its lovely vapor
 In billowing clouds
 Towards the smooth rock,
 And lightly received,
 It goes enshrouded,
 Softly hissing
 Down to the deep.
 
 Cliffs tower,
 Opposing its fall.
 Annoyed, it foams
 Step by step
 Into the abyss.
 
 In a flat bed
 It slinks down the grassy vale,
 And in the waveless lake
 All the stars
 Feast on their likeness.
 
 Wind is the wave's
 Handsome suitor;
 Wind stirs up from the depths
 Foaming billows.
 
 Soul of man,
 How like to the water!
 Fate of man,
 How like to the wind!



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

Authorship

    * Translation from German to English copyright © by Shawn Thuris, shawn (DOT) thuris (AT) gmail (DOT) com, http://www.thuris.org/, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. Please contact the copyright-holder(s) when requesting permission to reprint and be sure to give proper credit.

Based on

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.