Einer Unglücklichen - text of Ringelnatz


Einer Unglücklichen - (2012)    

Joachim Ringelnatz

for medium or low voice and piano


Ich kenne die harten Züge
und den trocknen Durst am Mund,
und wäre beides nur Lüge,
gäb es dein Auge kund.

Ich horche an deinem Herzen,
was zehrendes Fieber spricht,
und lese in deinen Schmerzen
das Wort: Ich darf ja nicht.

Ich kann dir die Ruhe nicht geben,
doch hab ich dich lieb, mein Kind,
wie alle, die so im Leben
klagelos einsam sind.

2 pages, circa 3' 15"


I know the hard breath
and the dried thirst of the mouth,
and if only both were just lies,
which could be seen in your eyes.

I listen to your heart ,
and what the consuming fever says,
and read in your pains
the words: I can no more.

I can not give you peace
but I love you, my child,
like all, which so in life
are uncomplaining and alone.





From the early poems of Ringelnatz, found in Gedichte 1910, this striking text is unlike much of his irreverent wit and nonsense, but so very touching. For many more than sixty other settings of Ringelnatz' texts, click here.


The setting is simple, three strophes with the same accompaniment, yet each time in a different range of the piano. A small extension of the interlude occurs between the second and last strophes. The chromatic character of the setting moves through dissonances which a key signature do not easily assist, and for this the setting in F receives no signature.



The score for Einer Unglücklichen is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Einer Unglücklichen