"The Sleeping Princess" by Edward Burne-JonesTwo Poems by Friedrich Hebbel, Translated by Sean Thompson The Society January 20, 2022 Beauty, Poetry, Translation 5 Comments . To Sleep, to Sleep by Friedrich Hebbel | translated from German by Sean Thompson To sleep, to sleep and only sleep And never wake and have no dreams! The bitter woes that made me weep but half-remembered fading gleams. So I, when echoes of life’s fullness Reverberate down where I lie, Deeper infold myself in stillness, Tighter shut the weary eye. . . Spring by Friedrich Hebbel | translated from German by Sean Thompson A spring as fine as this I can’t recall! No wandering breath of wind disturbs the air, Yet still is heard the gentle rustling fall Of ripest fruit from branches here and there. Disturb it not, this, Nature’s sacred rite! This is the harvest that is self-performed, The sun alone, with mild and kindly light, Can lift the fruit from off the trees, soft-warmed. . Original German: Schlafen, Schlafen Schlafen, Schlafen, nichts als Schlafen! Kein Erwachen, keinen Traum! Jener Wehen, die mich trafen, Leisestes Erinnern kaum. Daß ich, wenn des Lebens Fülle Niederklingt in meine Ruh’, Nur noch tiefer mich verhülle, Fester zu die Augen tu’! . Herbstbild Dieß ist ein Herbsttag, wie ich keinen sah! Die Luft ist still, als athmete man kaum, Und dennoch fallen raschelnd, fern und nah, Die schönsten Früchte ab von jedem Baum. O stört sie nicht, die Feier der Natur! Dieß ist die Lese, die sie selber hält, Denn heute lös’t sich von den Zweigen nur, Was vor dem milden Strahl der Sonne fällt. . . Sean Thompson is a medical student from the UK. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 5 Responses Cheryl Corey January 20, 2022 Sean, the extent of my German is a few lines of Silent Night … but I love your English translations! Reply Yael January 20, 2022 Fascinating, I had never heard of Friedrich Hebbel before this. These two little poems are nearly impossible to translate while retaining their unique features, such as Fester zu die Augen tu’. But you did a nice job maintaining the rhythms and the story lines, good job. Reply Margaret Coats January 20, 2022 Both English poems show a fine feeling for rhythm. I particularly like “Spring,” with Hebbel’s unusual attention to the fall of overripe fruit from the previous year. Good choice of poems to show his lyric gift and yours. Reply Sally Cook January 21, 2022 Dear Sean, Yours is a subtle eye which gathers detail in abundance. Reply Paul Freeman January 21, 2022 Both poems have much to recommend them. ‘To Sleep’ is very relatable – we all have those periods where life’s tribulations rob us of our sleep – and has some wonderful turns of phrase. As fir ‘Spring’: ‘This is the harvest that is self-performed, The sun alone, with mild and kindly light, Can lift the fruit from off the trees…..’ Magic! Thanks for the reads, Friedrich. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.