I listened to a cd of Schubert’s Goethe-Lieder on the way to work this morning and very much enjoyed all the songs. But the problem is that I’ve had Goethe’s haunting poem “Der Erlkönig” in Schubert’s tune in my head all day. So, I took a break from work and decided to offer a new but rough translation of this scary but sobering poem. I know there are a few problems with the meter that I hope to fix if I get the time (feel free to offer commentary/criticism), but it’s still worth posting, I believe:
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein
»Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,
»Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
»Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Dem Vater grauset’s, er reitet geschwind,
|Who rides so late through night and wild?
It is the father with his child;
his ride is burdened by his effort to hold
that boy in his arms against the cold.
My son, why hide your face in fear?
“Oh little boy, come go with me!
My father, my father, do I hear right,
“Fine boy will you not go with me?
My father, my father, do you see there
“I love you my boy and your beautiful face;
The father is worried and rides with more force,
(c) John Fowles 2005
I have observed this soberness and even sadness in many of Goethe’s poems.