Dein ist mein ganzes Herz – Possessive Pronouns (II)

Ghosts in Berlin.

Whose heart is it?

The lyrics of “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz,” the trademark song of the operetta “Das Land des Lächelns” are fireworks of possessives. It was composed by Franz Lehár with the words by Fritz Löhner-Beda and Ludwig Herzer, and was first performed in 1923. Two possessive pronouns dominate the first line in which the singer offers his whole (ganzes) heart to his love interest. Then, he offers her his most beautiful song.

Dein ist mein schönstes Lied.

He asks “my only lover”, mein einzig Lieb, to repeat over and over that she loves him. Wherever he goes he feels deine Nähe (your closeness). He wants to drink deinen Atem (your breath), praises dein leuchtendes Haar (your shining hair) and dein strahlender Blick (your radiant glance).

This is it:

Dein ist mein ganzes Herz!
Wo du nicht bist, kann ich nicht sein.
So, wie die Blume welkt,
wenn sie nicht küsst der Sonnenschein!
Dein ist mein schönstes Lied,
weil es allein aus der Liebe erblüht.
Sag mir noch einmal, mein einzig Lieb,
oh sag noch einmal mir:
Ich hab dich lieb!

Wohin ich immer gehe,
ich fühle deine Nähe.
Ich möchte deinen Atem trinken
und betend dir zu Füssen sinken,
dir, dir allein! Wie wunderbar
ist dein leuchtendes Haar!
Traumschön und sehnsuchtsbang
ist dein strahlender Blick.
Hör ich der Stimme Klang,
ist es so wie Musik.

Next update: Sunday, October 21st

Published by


Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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