Thursday, September 16, 2021

Heinrich Heine (#poem)


Sapphires are those eyes of yours,
Ravishingly sweet,
Oh, triply fortunate the man
Whom lovingly they greet.

Your heart is like the diamond
That sparkles noble beams;
Oh, triply lucky is the man
For whom with love it gleams.

Your lips are like twin ruby stones,
None lovelier anywhere;
Oh, triply fortunate is the man
To whom they love aver.

Oh, if I knew this lucky man
And found him thus in clover,
Just tète-a-tète in the deep green wood
His luck would soon be over.

-Heinrich Heine (tr. Walter Arndt) 

I've been reading Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) lately, looking first at the German, but then quickly cheating and reading the English. Heine was the major German poet after Goethe, Jewish but not usually practicing. He got into trouble with the authorities and lived his later years in France. 

The German (if it helps):

Saphire sind die Augen dein,
Die lieblichen, die süßen,
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Den sie mit Liebe grüßen.

Dein Herz, es ist ein Diamant,
Der edle Lichter sprühet.
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Für den es liebend glühet.

Rubinen sind die Lippen dein,
Man kann nicht schönre sehen.
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Dem sie die Liebe gestehen.

Oh, kennt ich nur den glücklichen Mann,
Oh, daß ich ihn nur fände,
So recht allein im grünen Wald,
Sein Glück hätt' band ein Ende.

I've found the Arndt translations pretty good overall, but I'm not really sure why he changes up the third line refrain in this.

Poem For A Thursday is a meme started by Jennifer at Holds Upon Happiness. Also Brona has a poem.


  1. Love this! I only wish I could read it in German.

    1. I'm not entirely sure I can... ;-) but glad you liked it!

  2. studied German in high school and it's nice to see it again... Heine is not much found nowadays, but he has his own quiet quality of expression... nice...

    1. I had about two years of college German, but I don't ever use it anymore & I'm in danger of forgetting it all.

      Heine does seem to have disappeared a bit, which is too bad.