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Der Tod ging nachts durch eine Stadt

Language: German (Deutsch)

Der Tod ging nachts durch eine Stadt.
Ein Fenster war noch rot im Dach,
Dort saß ob einem Verseblatt
Ein kranker Dichter spät noch wach.

Der Tod stieß leis das Fenster ein
Und blies die trübe Ampel aus.
Ein Hauch, ein Blick, ein Lächelschein,
Und dunkel wurde Stadt und Haus.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

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About the headline (FAQ)

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 56.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and 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) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-04-29.
Last modified: 2018-08-16 11:49:32
Line count: 8
Word count: 50

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Death walked at night through a city

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Death walked at night through a city.
One window in the roof still glowed red;
There, hunched over a verse-leaf, sat
A sick poet, still awake quite late.

Death quietly pushed the window open
And blew out the dreary lamp.
A breath, a glance, a fleeting smile,
And darkness descended upon city and house.

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.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Der Tod ging nachts durch eine Stadt" = "Death walked at night through a city"
"Der Tod ging nachts --" = "Death walked at night --"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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.


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Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962), "Der Tod ging nachts --", written 1898 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Wolfgang Rolf Ackermann, Oskar Baumann, Werner Bühler, Géza Frid, Walter Lange, Walter Steffens, Franz Xaver Zintl. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-01-03.
Last modified: 2018-01-03 22:17:09
Line count: 8
Word count: 54