THE NEARNESS OF THE BELOVED by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (translated by Elaine Danforth)

I think of you, when on me the sun’s shimmer
+++++from the sea does glint;
I think of you, when the moon its fainter glimmer
+++++in the stream does paint.
I see you here, when up from the distant road
+++++the dust is raised;
In the deepest night, when on the narrow bridge
+++++the traveler shakes.
I hear you here, when with yonder muffled sound
+++++the wave does rise
In the quiet grove, I often stop to listen,
+++++when all grows still,
And I am with you, though you are still so far–
+++++To me, you’re near!
The sun sinks down, soon on me shine the stars.
+++++If only you were here!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nähe des Geliebten

Ich denke dein, wenn mir der Sonne Schimmer
+++++Vom Meere strahlt;
Ich denke dein, wenn sich des Mondes Flimmer
+++++In Quellen malt.
Ich sehe dich, wenn auf dem fernen Wege
+++++Der Staub sich hebt;
In tiefer Nacht, wenn auf dem schmalen Stege
+++++Der Wandrer bebt.
Ich höre dich, wenn dort mit dumpfem Rauschen
+++++Die Welle steigt.
Im stillen Haine geh ich oft zu lauschen,
+++++Wenn alles schweigt.
+++++Du bist mir nah!
Die Sonne sinkt, bald leuchten mir die Sterne.
+++++O wärst du da!

**NOTE- My real life beloved, who is actually here, suggested that I try my hand at translating some Goethe. This is my first stab at it. I found the poem at

This entry was posted in Poems by others translated by me, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to THE NEARNESS OF THE BELOVED by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (translated by Elaine Danforth)

  1. Julie S. Ong says:

    Hi Elaine,
    Beautiful translation! I love the images in the poem. However, I am confused by the last line, that he wishes his Beloved were here, which contradicts what the poet was saying in the earlier line, that the Beloved is near. Maybe he means near in thoughts, but far away in the physical sense. I guess poems are written to be ambiguous and open to interpretation. Perhaps it allows the reader to better empathize with the emotions.

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