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Language: German (Deutsch)

Endlich stehn die Pforten offen,
Endlich winkt das kühle Grab,
Und nach langem Fürchten, Hoffen,
Neig' ich mich die Nacht hinab.
Durchgewacht sind nun die Tage
Meines Lebens. Süße Ruh
Drückt nach ausgeweinter Klage
Mir die müden [Wimper]1 zu.

Auge schleuß dich. Strahl der Sonnen,
Wecke nicht den Schläfer mehr.
Seine Sanduhr ist verronnen;
Seiner Kräfte Sprudel leer.
Durchgerannt sind seine Schranken,
Durchgekämpfet ist sein Kampf.
Seht, der Erde Pfeiler wanken.
Seht, die Welt verwallt wie Dampf.

Dunkel wird mein Blick und trübe,
Taub das Ohr, und starr das Herz.
In ihm klopft nicht mehr die Liebe;
In ihm bebt nicht mehr der Schmerz.
Ausgeliebet, ausgelitten
Hab' ich, und die Leidenschaft
Tobt nicht mehr, und abgeschnitten
Dorrt mein Reben, eis't mein Saft.

Oeffne deine Schattenpforten,
Oeffne, Engel Tod sie nun.
Lange will ich, lange dorten
Bey dir in der Kammer ruhn.
Süß, geräuschlos, kühl und stille
Soll's in deiner Kammer seyn.
O so eile, Trauter, hülle
In dein Schlafgewand mich ein.

Die mich gern und liebend schauten,
Mond und Sonne, lebet wohl!
Die mir süße Wehmuth thauten,
Früh- und Spatroth, lebet wohl!
Lebet wohl ihr grünen Felder,
Du mein Tausendschönchenthal!
Düstre, feyerliche Wälder,
Bäch' und Hügel allzumal!

Die ihr zärtlich mich umschlanget,
Mit mir theiltet Weh und Wohl,
Mit mir kämpftet, mit mir ranget,
Lebet Freunde, lebet wohl!
Die du meinen Staub erschufest,
Und ihn heut in deinen Schooß,
Mutter Erde, wiederrufest,
Hüll' ihn sanft und [störunglos]2.

Ewig wird die Nacht nicht dauern,
Ewig dieser Schlummer nicht.
Hinter jenen Gräberschauern
Dämmert unauslöschlich Licht.
Aber bis das Licht mir funkle,
Bis ein schön'rer Tag mir lacht,
Sink' ich ruhig in die dunkle,
Stille, kühle Schlummernacht.

Translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE

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View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with L.T.Kosegarten's Poesieen, Neueste Auflage, Zweyter Band, Berlin 1803, pages 152-154.

Note: An early version of this poem has been published anonymously by Kosegarten in 1777; see below.

1 Schubert (printed editions): "Wimpern", but Schubert's manuscript: "Wimper"
2 Schubert: "störungslos"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Peter Rastl [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)

Another version of this text exists in the database.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El cant del cigne", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Zwanenzang", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Swan song", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Chant du cygne", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-10-07 13:55:19
Line count: 56
Word count: 274

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Swan song

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

At last the gates are open,
At last the cool grave is beckoning,
And after long fears and hope
Night is now bending me down.
I have now stayed awake through the days
Of my life. Sweet rest,
After complaints that have cried themselves out, is pressing
Onto my tired eyelids.

Eyes, close! Ray of sunlight,
Do not wake up the sleeper again.
His timer has run down.
The source of his strength has dried up.
His cupboards have now been emptied out,
His battle has been fought.
Look, the Earth's pillars are shaking,
Look, the world is boiling up like steam.

My eyesight is becoming dark and clouded
My ear is deaf, and my heart is rigid;
Love no longer beats within it,
Pain no longer stirs within it.
Loved out, suffered out,
That is what I have done, and suffering
Rages around no longer, and cut off,
My grapes dry up, my juice is frozen.

Open up your shadowy gates,
Open them up now, angel of death!
I want to spend a long time, a long time there
With you resting in that chamber.
Sweet, noiseless, cool and calm
Is how it will be in your chamber.
Oh, so hurry up, devoted one, cover
Me up in your sleeping garment.

You who have looked at me so eagerly and lovingly,
Moon and sun, farewell!
You who bedewed me with sweet melancholy,
Red skies of morning and evening, farewell!
Farewell, you green fields,
You valley of a thousand beauties,
Gloomy, solemn forests,
Rivers and hills, all of you!

Those of you who embraced me tenderly,
Who shared good and bad times with me,
Who battled with me, who struggled with me,
Farewell, friends, farewell!
You who created my dust
And who is today taking it back into your womb,
Mother Earth, calling it back,
Cover it gently and without disturbance!

The night is not going to last for ever,
This sleep is not going to last for ever.
Behind each terrifying grave
An inextinguishable light will dawn.
But until that light shines on me,
Until a more beautiful day laughs on me,
I shall sink peacefully into the dark,
Calm, cool night of sleep.

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 © 2017 by Malcolm Wren, (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.


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Based on


Text added to the website: 2017-07-14.
Last modified: 2017-07-14 11:27:09
Line count: 56
Word count: 365