Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock | Das Rosenband

Friedrick Gottlieb Klopstock was a German poet born in Saxony in 1724. From what I’ve read, it seems that he had a fine upbringing studying both at gymnasium and university for some time. He found great success with his epic poem, Der Messias, which consists of 19,458 dactylic hexameters. It appears that some scholars even regard him as the German Baroque poet.  Goethe, in his autobiography, notes his impression of Klopstock: “He was of small stature, but well built…he conversed with facility on various subjects, but rather avoided speaking of poetry and literary matters.” In addition to my translation and the original, you can also listen to a wonderful reading of the poem here.


The Ribbon of Roses

In the spring shade, I found her;
Then I bound her with ribbons of roses;
She did not feel them, and slumbered on.

I saw her; my life hung
By this view of her life:
I felt it well and knew it not.

But I whispered wordlessly to her,
And rustled the ribbons of roses:
Then she awoke from her slumber.

She saw me; her life hung
by this view of my life,
And around us was Elysium.

Das Rosenband

Im Frühlingsschatten fand ich sie;
Da band ich sie mit Rosenbändern;
Sie fühlt’ es nicht, und schlummerte.

Ich sah sie an; mein Leben hing
Mit diesem Blick an ihrem Leben:
Ich fühlt’ es wohl und wusst’ es nicht.

Doch lispelt’ ich ihr sprachlos zu,
Und rauschte mit den Rosenbändern:
Da wachte sie vom Schlummer auf.

Sie sah mich an; ihr Leben hing
Mit diesem Blick an meinem Leben,
Und um uns ward’s Elysium.


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