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Zu spät

Language: German (Deutsch)

Da ich in Jugendnot und Scham
Zu dir mit leiser Bitte kam,
Hast du gelacht
Und hast aus meiner Liebe
Ein Spiel gemacht.

Nun bist du müde und spielst nicht mehr,
Mit dunklen Augen blickst du her
Aus deiner Not,
Und willst die Liebe haben,
Die ich dir damals bot.

Ach, die ist lang verglommen
Und kann nicht wiederkommen -
Einst war sie dein!
Nun kennt sie keine Namen mehr
Und will alleine sein.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, pages 154-155.

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) , "Too late", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Trop tard", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-04-30.
Last modified: 2018-07-12 15:51:44
Line count: 15
Word count: 74

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Too late

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

When in distress of youth and shyness
I came to you with a quiet plea,
You laughed
And made a game
Of my love.

Now you are tired and play no more,
With dark eyes you gaze forth
From your misery,
And wish to have the love
That I offered you back then.

Ah, that love has long died away
And cannot return -
Once it was yours!
Now it no longer knows any names
And wants to be alone.

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 © 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), "Zu spät", written 1909/10, appears in Unterwegs, first published 1911 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ernst Beckert. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-02-06.
Last modified: 2018-02-06 16:10:13
Line count: 15
Word count: 80