Dialog on the Paderborn heath

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

deutsch - franšais


Do you not hear a distant sound,
Like a violin or a fiddle?
Fair ones must be dancing a round,
Lightly swinging in its middle.

" My poor friend, you're quite wrong, I fear,
For I hear no violins squeaking,
Grunting pigs is what I can hear,
And their piglings that are shrieking. "

Do you not hear the horns blazing?
Hunters in the chase are glowing;
I can see gentle lambs grazing,
Shepherds on their pipes are blowing.

" No, what you just heard, my good man
Was not horns nor pipes or hunters;
I can only see the herdsman,
Taking home his pack of grunters. "

Don't you hear the distant singing,
Sounding like sweet contestations?
Angels with theirs plumes are winging,
To such tunes, loud acclamations.

" Ah, what you heard sweetly ringing,
Friend, is no contesting chorus!
It's the goose-herds who are singing,
Driving their young geese before us. "

Do you hear that lovely tolling?
Surely bells are now in motion,
Worshippers are slowly going
To the chapel with devotion.

" Ah, friend, that tinkling is only
Of the cows and oxen making,
Who, to their gloomy stalls, lonely,
With drooped heads are slowly moving. "

Don't you see a veil just flowing?
Don't you see discreet advances?
There I see my mistress, showing
Tearful sorrow in her glances.

" Ah, my friend, the only nodding
Is old Lisa, pale as shadow,
On her crutches hardly standing,
Limping slowly through the meadow. "

At my questions and confusion,
In sheer laughing take your pleasure!
But do you deem as illusion,
What I, in my bosom, treasure?