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The LiederNet Archive
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Language: German (Deutsch)

Wenn ich Kinder spielen sehe
Und ihr Spiel nicht mehr verstehe
Und ihr Lachen fremd und töricht klingt,
Ach das ist vom bösen Feinde,
Den ich ewig ferne meinte,
Eine Mahnung, die nicht mehr verklingt.

Wenn ich Liebesleute sehe
Und zufrieden weiter gehe
Ohne Sehnsucht nach dem Paradies,
Ach das ist ein still Verzichten
Auf des Herzens tiefstes Dichten,
Das der Jugend Ewigkeit verhieß.

Wenn ich böse Reden höre
Und mich nicht mehr heiß empöre
Und gelassen tu, als hört ich's nicht,
O dann zuckt im Herzen,
Still und ohne Schmerzen,
Und erlischt das heilige Licht.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, page 210.

Submitted by Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Extinction", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Dépérissement", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2014-01-27 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2018-07-12 12:08:26
Line count: 18
Word count: 96

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Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

When I see children playing
And no longer understand their games
And their laughter sounds strange and foolish,
Ah that is a warning from the evil enemy,
Whom I imagined eternally far away,
A warning that shall never die away.

When I see people in love
And pass on complacently
Without longing for that paradise,
Ah that is a quiet relinquishing
Of the heart's deepest poetic creativity,
Which promised eternity to youth.

When I hear evil talk
And no longer am ardently indignant
And placidly pretend that I didn't hear it,
Oh then it twitches in my heart,
Silently and without pain,
And the holy light is extinguished.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962), "Absterben", written 1912 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Heinz-Otto Hoffmann, Justus Hermann Wetzel. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2014-01-27 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:28
Line count: 18
Word count: 108