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Erster Schnee

Language: German (Deutsch)

Alt geworden bist Du, grünes Jahr,
Blickst schon welk und trägst schon Schnee im Haar,
Gehst schon müd und hast den Tod im Schritt-
Ich begleite Dich, ich sterbe mit.

Zögernd geht das [Herz den bangen]1 Pfad,
Angstvoll schläft im Schnee die Wintersaat.
Wieviel Äste brach mir schon der Wind,
Deren Narben nun mein Panzer sind!
Wieviel bittere Tode starb ich schon!
Neugeburt war jedes Todes Lohn.

Sei willkommen, Tod, du dunkles Tor!
Jenseits läutet hell des Lebens Chor.

Translation(s): ENG ENG FRE

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)

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 262-263.

1 Scholz: "bange Herze den"

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) , "First snowfall", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Kinderman) , "First snow", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Première neige", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-06-04.
Last modified: 2018-07-12 12:15:54
Line count: 12
Word count: 79

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First snowfall

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

You have grown old, green year,
[You] already look withered and are wearing snow upon your hair,
[You] already walk tiredly and have death in your footfall --
I accompany you, I die along with you.

Haltingly my [heart walks the apprehensive]1 pathway,
Fearfully the winter grain sleeps in the snow.
How many branches the wind has already broken for me,
Whose scars are now my carapace!
How many bitter deaths have I already died!
Rebirth has been the recompense of every death.

Welcome, death, you dark gateway!
The chorus of life peals out brightly on the other side.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Scholz: "apprehensive heart walks the"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 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), "Erster Schnee", written 1919 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Karl Scholz. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2010-06-19.
Last modified: 2017-09-22 11:11:49
Line count: 12
Word count: 98