The old chimney-corner

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

franšais - deutsch


Outside, white snow flakes fly,
The storm rages loud through the night;
Here, in the little chamber, it is dry,
Warm, secluded, familiar and quiet.

I sit in my arm-chair thinking,
By the crackling fire-place;
The kettle is boiling and humming
Melodies from long past days.

And a little cat sits by the fire,
Warming its little paws in the glow;
The flames interweave and flicker,
Inside me, strange feelings begin to grow.

Many forgotten ages, from long before,
Rise up in the twilight and parade,
As if with a faded splendour,
And a colourful masquerade.

Beautiful and knowing women are seen,
Beckoning sweetly and mysteriously,
And Harlequins, in between,
Jump and laugh with a gay folly.

Marble gods greet, far away;
One sees near them dreamlike
Fairy-tale flowers grow and stay,
Their leaves stirring in the moonlight.

Many magic castles from yester-year
Swim uncertainly into view;
Shinning knights on horseback appear,
From behind with their attending crew.

And all this happens ever so fast,
With the speed of shadows, hurrying past-
Ah, the kettle is boiling over!
The little cat howls, wet in water.