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Translating this Goethe poem

[deactivated user]

    So here's the poem- Anliegen

    O schönes Mädchen du, Du mit dem schwarzen Haar, Die du ans Fenster trittst, Auf dem Balkone stehst! Und stehst du wohl umsonst? O stündest du für mich Und zögst die Klinke los, Wie glücklich wär ich da! Wie schnell spräng ich nihauf!

    So I can understand the general gist of it, but I have a couple questions- Is Balkone the plural form of Balkon? And can someone translate -"Und stehst du wohl umsonst? -O stündest du für mich -Und zögst die Klinke los," for me? Thanks in advance.

    May 30, 2018



    "dem Balkone" is an outdated form of the dative. You find it today in a few fixed phrases like "im Grunde" ("basically, essentially"; e.g. "Er ist im Grunde ein guter Mann", "Im Grunde seines Herzens wusste er es")

    I'd offer: "And is it that you are standing [there] (waiting) in vain (= for no special reason?)? Oh, if you stood [there waiting] for me and opened the latch, how happy I would be then!" Normally, "Du stehst hier umsonst" means "You're standing here at this bus stop in vain, because the busses don't run today"; I'm not sure exactly what Goethe was thinking of.


    Step, I think only Goethe knew what was going on in his head. Good luck! Your friend , Cat


    'Balkone' is an old form of the dative. In older German, you often find -e endings in the singular dative.

    Not sure I get the rest of it perfectly, but I believe it is something like:

    Und stehst du wohl umsonst? - And do you (really/now) stand in vain?

    O stündest du für mich - Oh would you wait/long for me

    Und zög(e)st die Klinke los - and unlock the door (Klinke = door handle, losziehen = to unlock)

    Mind, this is old and stylish German. A good deal of the vocabulary and grammar you find in Goethe is perfectly outdated, and sounds very stiff today.


    I'm not strong in the old German. Been many years since I have heard it,never read it. Here is what comes to my mind with those words...in a Shakespearian way: "Are you standing there for no reason? Oh (Or) do you stand there for me and with the door unlocked, how lucky I would be then! How quickly I would jump/spring to you [on the balcony].


    lia, your translation correlates with with my old world lit text. Danke!


    I believe Goethe means: "If you stood there {waiting} for me and if you unlocked the door, how happy I would be and how quickly I would jump up {onto your balcony}."


    "nihauf" is most likely a typo of "hinauf"

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