Poor Peter

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

deutsch - franšais


Hans and Grete dance around
And sing for sheer delight.
Hans is mute, utters no sound,
His face is chalky-white.

Hans and Grete are bridegroom and bride,
Dressed for a wedding gaily.
Poor Peter bites his nails, aside,
In the frock he works in daily.

Poor Peter is sad, his grief is intense,
And looks at the pair, while sighing:
" If I did not have some common sense,
I would end my sorrows by dying! "


Within my breast there dwells a woe,
That threatens to burst my heart,
And wherever I stay, wherever I go,
It pressures me to depart.

It makes me toward my loved-one fly,
As though Grete could still heal me.
Yet, when I gaze upon her eye,
I have a sudden urge to flee.

I climb the highest mountain top,
Peaceful loneliness seeking,
And when I'm there, I calmly stop ,
I cannot cease from weeping.


Poor Peter slowly stumbles by,
He appears pale as death and shy,
The people in the street, aghast,
Stop and look as he stumbles past.

The girls are whispering in dread:
" This one has risen from the dead!"
" Alas! Beloved maiden - no,
He has yet in the grave to go!

He's been from his love dispossessed,
And the grave will suit him best,
For there his tormented soul may
Await in peace the Judgment Day. "