The LiederNet Archive
WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net


Language: English

Gaunt in gloom
The pale stars their torches
Enshrouded wave. 
Ghostfires from heaven's far verges faint illume
Arches on soaring arches,
Night's sindark nave. 

The lost hosts awaken
To service till
In moonless gloom each lapses, muted, dim
Raised when she has and shaken
Her thurible. 

And long and loud
To night's nave upsoaring
A starknell tolls
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.

Translation(s): FRE GER

List of language codes

First published in Poetry, May 1917

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Nocturne", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Nachtstück", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:36
Line count: 18
Word count: 73

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust


Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Fahl aus der Finsternis
flackern verblassender Sterne Fackeln
von Wolken verhangen.
Geisternde Lichter aus Himmels fernen Rändern erleuchten matt,
Bögen auf Himmelsgewölben,
das sündenschwarze Kirchenschiff der Nacht.

die verlorenen Heerscharen erwachen
zum Gottesdienst bis
in mondloser Düsternis ein jeder leiser wird, schweigt,
wenn sie erhoben hat das Weihrauchfass 
und es geschwenkt.

Und lang und laut
ins Kirchenschiff der Nacht aufstrebend
erschallt die Sternenglocke,
während der bleiche Weihrauch steigt, Wolke für Wolke,
in die Leere aus der Nichtigkeit
anbetender Seelen.

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 English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2014 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in English by James Joyce (1882 - 1941), "Nightpiece", appears in Pomes Penyeach, no. 9 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): George Antheil, David Del Tredici, Geert van Keulen, Michael Murray. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2014-09-15.
Last modified: 2014-09-15 15:01:02
Line count: 18
Word count: 80