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Language: English

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children 
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

Translation(s): GER ITA

List of language codes

Submitted by Maria Nimmerfall


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Kinder", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , title 1: "Figli", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2010-11-06 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:07

Line count: 23
Word count: 197

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Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Eure Kinder sind nicht eure Kinder.
Sie sind die Söhne und Töchter der Sehnsucht des Lebens nach sich selbst.
Sie kommen durch euch, aber nicht von euch,
und wenn sie auch bei euch sind, gehören sie euch dennoch nicht.
Ihr dürft ihnen eure Liebe schenken, nicht aber eure Gedanken.
Denn sie haben ihr eigenes Denken.
Ihr dürft ihren Leib bei euch aufnehmen, nicht aber ihre Seele,
denn ihre Seelen wohnen im Morgen, 
das ihr nicht aufsuchen könnt, nicht einmal in euren Träumen.
Ihr dürft danach streben, ihnen gleich zu sein,
aber bemüht euch nicht, sie euch nachzubilden.
Denn das Leben schreitet nicht rückwärts, 
es verweilt auch nicht im Gestern.
Ihr seid die Bogen, von denen eure Kinder als lebende Pfeile hinaus fliegen.
Der Schütze weiß das Ziel auf dem Pfad der Unendlichkeit,
und Er spannt Dich mit Seiner Macht, 
auf dass Seine Pfeile weit hinaus schnellen.
Lass' Dich zur Freude von der Hand des Schützen spannen;
denn so, wie er den schnellenden Pfeil liebt, 
so liebt er auch den starken Bogen.

Liebe gibt nichts als sich selbst und nimmt nichts als von sich selbst.
Liebe nimmt von nichts Besitz noch lässt sie sich besitzen, 
denn Liebe genügt sich selbst.

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 English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2012 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann. Contact:
    <BKottmann (AT)>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2012-04-27 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:52

Line count: 23
Word count: 199