This is a part of the lyrics of the Papageno/Papagena duet song from Mozart's opera "Zauberflöte".
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87UE2GC5db0 )

Es ist das höchste der Gefühle,
Wenn viele, viele
Der Eltern Segen werden sein.

According to the translation here, https://lyricstranslate.com/en/papageno-papagena-duet-papageno-papagena-duet.html-0, this was translated to

It is the ultimate feeling
When many, many 
Will be a blessing for their parents!

Now I can understand "Der Eltern Segen" is a changed version of "Segen der Eltern". (I learned it from "Hört der Mutter Schwur" in Mozarts Zauberflöte . like "Der Mutter Schwur" which is originally "Schwur der Mutter").
My question is : Shouldn't it be "Der Eltern Segen sein werden" not "Der Eltern Segen werden sein", because the main verb goes to the end in the sub-statement(Nebensätze)? As far as I know, "will be blessing" is translated to "Segen sein werden". How should I understand it? Can "sein werden" be changed to "werden sein" also? Not knowing what this is called, I can't pick a right tag word for this question...
When I read it again now, "Der Eltern" could also be translated to "to the parents" (Dativ).
==> I just learned from DonHolgo's comment, the dativ should be "Den Eltern" so this idea is wrong.

  • The formatting needs some polishing, the code backquotes appear misused. I would use italics or textual double quotes.
    – guidot
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 15:55
  • I edited the question. Thanks!
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 1:58
  • 1
    Mozart has written the music, but not the libretto (the lyrics). The libretto is from Emanuel Schikaneder. He not only wrote the libretto, he also was the very first person who played Papageno. Schikaneders success was so great, that from his earnings he could build a whole opera house at the left bank of the river Wien ("Theater an der Wien"). He also was the first director of this opera house. Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


All of your analysis is correct - in modern, contemporary German, it should be

...der Eltern Segen sein werden

The problem is, that it doesn't rhyme that way (It needs to rhyme with "Kinderlein" a few verses above) and also doesn't fit to the metrics of the music.

It is, however, a relatively "modern" rule (~250 years old) that the auxiliary needs to go to the end. So, this form is not exactly wrong, but archaic. For the sake of rhyme and rhythm, Mozart put it the way it is.

  • The libretto is by Johann Emanuel Schikaneder and Mozart is not responsible for textual issues.
    – guidot
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 15:41
  • @guidot ...and you really think Mozart wrote a bunch of notes, threw it at Schickaneder and told him to write some text, a story and a title, then sing it, and he would't even care ;)
    – tofro
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 15:46
  • ?? Typically the order is the other way round, close interaction is possible (cf. Hofmannsthal/Strauss) but not that common. The text may be modified by the composer on his own, but rhymes and verses make this difficult at the location asked for.
    – guidot
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:25
  • Thank you for the answer and comments. That is helpful. By the way can "Der Eltern" be interpreted as "to the parents" as Dativ, so "blessing to the parents" rather than "blessing of the parents". I get this feeling when I read it again.
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 2:01
  • 2
    @ChanKim No, dative would be "den Eltern".
    – DonHolgo
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 7:12

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