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Es ist ein Schnitter, der heißt Tod

Language: German (Deutsch)

Es ist ein Schnitter, [der heißt Tod]1,
Hat Gewalt vom höchsten Gott,
Heut wetzt er das Messer,
Es schneid't schon viel besser,
Bald wird er drein schneiden,
Wir [müssen]2 nur leiden.
[Hüte]3 dich schöns Blümelein! 

Was heut noch grün und frisch da steht,
Wird [morgen schon hinweggemäht]4:
[Die edlen Narzissen,
Die Zierden der Wiesen]5,
[Viel]6 schön' Hyazinthen,
Die türkischen Binden.
Hüte dich schöns Blümelein! 

Viel hundert tausend ungezählt,
Das nur unter die Sichel fällt,
Ihr Rosen, ihr Lilien,
Euch wird er austilgen,
Auch die Kaiser-Kronen,
Wird er nicht verschonen.
Hüte dich schöns Blümelein!

Das himmelfarbe Ehrenpreis,
Die Tulpanen [gelb und]7 weiß,
Die silbernen Glocken,
Die goldenen Flocken,
Senkt alles zur Erden,
Was wird daraus werden?
Hüte dich schöns Blümelein! 

Ihr hübsch [Lavendel]8, Roßmarein,
Ihr vielfärbige Röselein.
Ihr stolze Schwertlilien,
Ihr krause Basilien,
Ihr zarte Violen,
Man wird euch bald holen.
Hüte dich schöns Blümelein!

[Trotz! Tod, komm her, ich fürcht dich nicht,
Trotz, eil daher in einem Schritt.]9
Werd ich [nur]10 verletzet,
So werd ich versetzet
[In den himmlischen Garten,
Auf den alle wir warten.]11
Freu' dich, [schönes]12 Blümelein.

Translation(s): DUT ENG FRE POR

List of language codes

R. Schumann sets stanzas 1-4, 6
H. Gál sets stanzas 1-2, 5-6

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Brahms WoO 32-21: "heißt der Tod"
2 Brahms: "müssen's nur"; Streicher: "müssens"; Gál: "müssen's"
3 Gál: "Hüt'", passim
4 Brahms: "morgen schon weggemäht"; Mendelssohn: "schon morgen hinweggemäht"
5 Gál: "Die edel Narzissel, / die himmlische Schlüssel"
6 Gál: "die"
7 omitted by Brahms (WoO 32 no. 21)
8 Gál: "Lavenden"
9 Gál: "Trutz! Tod, komm her, ich fürcht' dich nit!/ Trutz! komm' und tu' ein' Schnitt!"
10 Brahms, WoO 32 no. 21: "auch"
11 Gál: "ich will es erwarten, / in' himmlischen Garten"
12 Schumann: "du schön's"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Death the Reaper", copyright © 2007
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Cantique catholique", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Margarida Moreno) , "Morte ceifeira", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2015-06-18 16:06:47
Line count: 42
Word count: 179

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Death the Reaper

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

There is a reaper who is called Death,
who has power from the highest god;
today he whets his knife
so that it will cut much better.
Soon he will begin to cut
and we can only suffer.
Beware, fair little flower!

What today is yet green and fresh
will be cut down tomorrow:
the noble narcissus,
ornament of the field,
many fair hyacinths,
the Turkish posies...
Beware, fair little flower!

Many hundreds of thousands uncounted
that only fall to the scythe,
you roses, you lilies -
you, too, he will obliterate.
The crown imperials as well
he will not spare.
Beware, fair little flower!

The sky-blue veronica,
the tulips yellow and white,
the silver campanula,
and golden centaury ...
all will sink to the earth -
what will become of them?
Beware, fair little flower!

You lovely lavender, rosemary,
you colorful little roses,
you proud irises,
you ruffled basil,
you delicate violets,
soon you will be called;
Beware, fair little flower!

And yet! Death, come here - I do not fear you,
for all that; hasten here in one step.
Were I only wounded,
I would [still] be transported
to the celestial Garden
that we all await.
[So] rejoice, fair little flower.

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  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2007 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) from Volkslieder (Folksongs) , "Katholisches Kirchenlied", appears in Des Knaben Wunderhorn DUT FRE POR
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ludwig Berger, Johannes Brahms, Clara Faisst, Hans Gál, Jan Karol Gall, Gustav Jansen [not F. G. Jansen], Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann, Theodor Streicher, Erich J. Wolff. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2007-05-12.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:22
Line count: 42
Word count: 203