Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

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This article is about the poem by Goethe. For other uses, see Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt (disambiguation).

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt ("Only he who knows what yearning is") is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem appeared in Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. It is one of the songs of Mignon, a character in the novel.

The poem has been set to music by many composers,[1] among them Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (via its translation into Russian by Lev Mei). Tchaikovsky's setting is often known in English as "None but the Lonely Heart" and has been set in many vocal, choral, and instrumental arrangements.

Goethe's German original:

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!
Allein und abgetrennt
Von aller Freude,
Seh ich ans Firmament
Nach jener Seite.
Ach! der mich liebt und kennt,
Ist in der Weite.
Es schwindelt mir, es brennt
Mein Eingeweide.
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!

An accurate English translation:

Only one who knows longing
Understands what I suffer!
Alone and separated
From all joy,
I look to the heavens
Towards the other side.
Oh! the one who loves and knows me,
Is far away.
I feel dizzy, and it burns
my insides.
Only one who knows longing
Understands what I suffer!

References[edit]

  1. ^ Further information on musical settings to this text is found on The Lied and Art Song Text Page