I forgot...
May 7, 2009 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Back in high school, my German language teacher recited this little poem that I never forgot...

... but I can't remember who wrote it. The Google is no help. Anybody know?

Wer liebt kann nicht vergessen
Wer vergißt hat nie geliebt
Wer geliebt un doch vergessen
Hat vergessen wie man liebt

So kannst Du auch mich vergessen
Und vergessen kann auch ich
Kann vergessen dein Vergessen
Doch dich vergessen kann ich nicht
posted by monospace to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Everything I can find on the net refers to the author of this poem as "unbekannt", which essentially means "anonymous". Maybe that's why you can't remember.
posted by King Bee at 1:22 PM on May 7, 2009

It is generally attributed to "unbekannt", "Unknown author", probably from the Romantic period. So it's OK if you don't remember the author...
I've seen some anthologies crediting Erich Fried, but it doesn't seem right to me, too modern.
posted by dov at 1:26 PM on May 7, 2009

Best answer: There's a different version quoted in a 1970 letter here (Manfred Stutz, "...wie ein Wald- und Wiesenkind," p. 66):
Wer geliebt
kann nicht vergessen
Wer vergißt
hat nie geliebt

Wer geliebt
und doch vergessen
hat vergessen
wie man liebt.

So hast Du
Auch mich vergessen
Und vergessen
kann auch ich.

Kann vergessen
Dein Vergessen
Dich vergessen
kann ich nicht!
Hope that helps.
posted by languagehat at 1:34 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Aha, and here's a longer version in Ausgewählte Schriften by Moritz Gottlieb Saphir (4th ed., 1870). It's in quote marks, though, so it's not clear whether it's by Saphir or he's quoting an earlier song.

And here, as an anonymous folksong in a 1908 book. (God bless Google Books!)
posted by languagehat at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wer geliebt kann nie Vergessen,
Wer vergisst hat nie geliebt.
Wer geliebt und doch Vergessen,
Hat Vergessen wie man Liebt.
So kannst du auch mich Vergessen,
Ja Vergessen kann auch ich.
Kann Vergessen dein Vergessen.
Dich Vergessen kann ich nicht.
Und darum Lieb ich Dich noch

Googling each line, one at a time I came up with the above from a poem called "Nach vielen Jahren" by Ingeborg Bachmann (as far as I can tell). I am not 100% on this, nor have I (yet) found it online.

I barely speak English, but these two look pretty close.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:41 PM on May 7, 2009

I'm not sure how that's relevant, since Ingeborg Bachmann was born in 1926, over a half century after the fourth edition of Saphir's book.
posted by languagehat at 1:54 PM on May 7, 2009

Response by poster: That version is definitely much closer to the one I was taught, languagehat. So I guess the author is unknown. I can live with that. Thanks!
posted by monospace at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2009

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