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Language: German (Deutsch)

Auf seiner Knochenpfeife bläst der Tod,
Ein bleicher Hirte an der Kirchhofsmauer lehnend,
Behütet er die stille Heerde, leise, sehnend
Beginnt sein einsam Lied der Tod.
Das Mondlicht fließt über den weiten Plan,
Unruhig hebt plötzlich die Weise an,
Wie klagende Thränen die Niemand stillt,
Hei! wie das jetzt wild und grausig schrillt,
Wie gepeinigtes Seufzen im Weltenraum,
Wie das Klagen der Seele im Fiebertraum,
So heulet und gellt [nun]1 des Todes Reigen!
Vor dem die Bäume sich zitternd neigen,
Vor dem die Blume verhüllt ihr Gesicht,
Vor dem sich der Wurm in die Erde verkriecht.
Ihr Wachen, ihr Siechen, verschließt euer Ohr
Dem Liede des Spielmanns beim Kirchhofstor,
Es stirbt euer Herz, es starrt euer Blut,
Ihr Wachen, ihr Siechen, seid auf der Hut!

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Brandts-Buys: "nur"

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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , title 1: "Night call", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-11-19 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:27

Line count: 18
Word count: 125

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Night call

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Death blows upon his pipe of bone;
A pale shepherd leaning against the churchyard wall,
He guards the silent flock; quietly, yearningly
Death begins his lonely song.
Moonlight flows over the broad area,
Restively the meadow suddenly breaks out,
Like lamenting tears that no one quiets;
Ah! how it now shrills wildly and gruesomely,
Like tortured sighing in the universe,
Like the wailing of a soul in a fevered dream,
Thus [now]1 the dance of death howls and rings out!
Before which the trees bow down tremblingly,
Before which the flowers hide their faces,
Before which the worm withdraws fearfully into the soil.
Those of you who are sleepless, those who are sick, shut your ears
To the song of the musician by the gate of the churchyard,
Your heart shall die, your blood shall freeze,
You wakeful ones, you sick ones, beware!

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.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Brandts-Buys: "only"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2015 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 Victor Heindl
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Jan Willem Frans Brandts-Buys. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2015-10-21 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2015-10-21 11:00:00

Line count: 18
Word count: 143