Donna Clara

Für die Liebe!

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 
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The mayor’s daughter is strolling
In the garden during the evening;
The rejoicing of timbales and trumpets
Comes down from the palace, resounding.

" How annoying has all this dancing become,
All this sweet flattering is no longer fun,
So are all the knights, who delicately,
Compare me with the sun.

Everything is burdening me,
Since I saw by moonlight,
This knight, whose noise,
Draws me to the window at night.

He really looked like Saint George,
The way he stood, bold and slender,
With his eyes, as if shooting fire,
From his face, noble and tender."

This is how Donna Clara thought,
And she looked down to the floor;
As she looked up, the handsome
Stranger knight stood in front of her.

Pressing hands, whispering love,
They strolled around in the moonshine,
And the zephyr flatters friendly,
The roses magical greeting is divine.

The roses magical greeting is divine,
And like messengers of love, they glow. –
But tell me, my loved one,
Why do you suddenly blush so?

" Mosquitoes stung me, my love,
And mosquitoes are, in summer, at least
As hateful to me, as if they were
A horde of many a long-nosed jewish beast."

Leave the mosquitoes and the Jews,
Says the knight, friendly caressing.
Thousands of white blossom flocks,
From the almond-trees, keep falling.

Thousands of white blossom flocks
Have spread their fragrance, so fine. –
But tell me, my beloved,
Is your heart entirely mine?

" Yes, I love you, my beloved,
Let it be sworn by the Savior,
Whom once, the goddamned Jews,
Caused the vicious and malicious murder.’

Leave the Savior and the Jews,
Caressing friendly, says the knight.
Far away, like in a dream,
White lilies sway, surrounded by light.

White lilies, surrounded by light,
Stare at the stars, up there. –
But tell me, my beloved,
Didn’t you falsely swear?

" There is nothing false in me, my love,
Nor is there is my breast a single drop
Of blood, of the Moorish blood,
Or of that of the filthy Jewish mob."

Leave the Moors and the Jews,
Says the knight, caressing and gentle;
And he leads the mayor’s daughter
Towards an arcade of myrtle.

Through the tender netting of love
He had her secretly entangled;
With short words and long kisses,
Their hearts are overwhelmed.

The lovely nightingale sings sweetly
With a melting nuptial sound;
And, as for a torch dance,
The fire worms hop on the ground.

It is becoming quieter in the arcade,
And one only furtively perceives,
The gentle breathing of the flowers
And the clever whispering of the leaves.

However the timbales and the trumpets
Resound suddenly from the palace,
Clara awakes, she liberates herself
From the knight’s sweet embrace.

" Hear! They are calling me, my love
Yet, before we part, I long
To hear your name, your dear name,
That you have hidden for so long."

And the knight, smiling and serene,
Kisses his Donna over each finger,
He kisses her lips and her forehead,
And finally says these words to her:

" I, Señora, your lover,
Am the son of the much praised
Great scribe, who has the honor
To be Rabbi Israel from Saragossa."