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All Souls' Day

Language: English

Be careful, then, and be gentle about death.
For it is hard to die, 
it is difficult to go through the door, 
even when it opens.

And the poor dead, when they have left
the walled and silvery city 
of the now hopeless body
where are they to go, Oh where are they to go?

They linger in the shadow of the earth.
The earth’s long conical shadow is full of souls
that cannot find the way across the sea of change.

Be kind, Oh be kind to your dead
and give them a little encouragement
and help them to build their little ship of death
for the soul has a long, long journey after death
to the sweet home of pure oblivion.
Each needs a little ship, a little ship
and the proper store of meal for the longest journey.
Oh, from out of your heart
provide your dead once more, equip them
like departing mariners, lovingly.

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

Confirmed with The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence with an introduction and notes by David Ellis, Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994/2002.

Submitted by Bertram Kottmann


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):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Allerseelen", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2016-11-08.
Last modified: 2016-11-08 17:26:21
Line count: 21
Word count: 158

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Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Geht mit dem Tod alsdann behutsam um und sacht.
Denn Sterben ist nicht leicht,
schwer ist es, diese Pforte zu durchschreiten,
selbst wenn sie sich uns auftut.

Wo gehen diese armen Toten hin, 
wenn sie die Stadt
des nun unrettbaren Leibs verlassen haben,
die Stadt, ummauert, silberhell?
Wo gehn sie hin?

Sie weilen dann im Schatten dieser Welt.
In ihrem langen Schattenkegel drängen sich die Seelen,
die nicht hinüber finden über jenes Meer, das alles wandelt.

Seid euren Sterbenden ein Freund:
Ermutigt sie, den Todesnachen selbst zu bauen,
tritt ihre Seele doch die lange, lange Reise an
ins heit’re Reich ohne Erinnerung.
Wir alle brauchen einen Nachen, den Nachen
und gehörig Proviant für diese längste Reise.
Gebt euren Toten stets aufs Neu etwas
aus eurem Herzen mit, und rüstet liebend sie
vor ihrer Reise übers Meer.

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  • Translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2016 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


Text added to the website: 2016-11-08.
Last modified: 2016-11-08 17:26:44
Line count: 21
Word count: 136