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Language: German (Deutsch)

Vom Baum des Lebens fällt 
Mir Blatt um Blatt,
O taumelbunte Welt, 
Wie machst du satt, 
Wie machst du satt und müd, 
Wie machst du trunken! 
Was heut noch glüht, 
Ist bald versunken. 
Bald klirrt der Wind 
Über mein braunes Grab, 
Über das kleine Kind 
Beugt sich die Mutter herab. 
Ihre Augen will ich wiedersehn, 
Ihr Blick ist mein Stern,
Alles andre mag gehn und verwehn, 
Alles stirbt, alles stirbt gern. 
Nur die ewige Mutter bleibt, 
Von der wir kamen, 
Ihr spielender Finger schreibt 
In die flüchtige Luft unsre Namen.

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

K. Penderecki sets lines 1-8

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 8 Die Erzählungen. 1911-1954, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2001, page 321 (no title in this publication).

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 256.

Submitted by John Versmoren 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) , "Mortality", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Fugacité", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2018-03-22 23:10:18
Line count: 20
Word count: 90

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Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

From the tree of my life
Leaf upon leaf falls,
Oh world, whirling in colour,
How you make one satiated,
How you make one satiated and weary,
How you make one drunk!
What still glows today
Is soon extinguished.
Soon the wind shall rattle
Upon my brown grave,
Over the little child
The mother inclines herself.
I want to see her eyes again,
Her gaze is my lodestar,
Everything else may depart and disperse,
Everything dies, everything dies gladly.
Only the eternal mother remains,
From whom we came,
Her playing finger writes
Our names in the fleeting breeze.

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), "Vergänglichkeit", written 1919, appears in Klingsors letzter Sommer, first published 1919? FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Yrjö Henrik Kilpinen, Franz Krause, Ernst Ludwig Leitner, Fabian Müller, Hans Nahme, Krzysztof Penderecki, Leo Schiffer, Immo Schneider, Othmar Schoeck, Karl Scholz. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-03-30.
Last modified: 2018-03-30 17:05:02
Line count: 20
Word count: 98