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The sparrow

Language: English

A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life's window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic's rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

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)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Bertram Kottmann , "Der Sperling", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission by Gary Bachlund.

Text added to the website: 2010-10-26.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:04
Line count: 16
Word count: 103

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Der Sperling

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Ein Vöglein klein mit braun' Gefieder
lässt sich an meinem Fenster nieder;
es zwitschert seine kleine Weise,
zehn Mal klopft es ans Fenster leise
und tschilpt aufs Neu und hüpft entlang,
auf dass ich achte seinen Sang;
Doch ich fahr fort, missacht' sein Lied,
bis still und leis' davon es fliegt.

Solch Friedens-, Hoffnungs-, Liebesboten
flattern erdenwärts von oben
auf die Fensterbank des Lebens,
ird'sche Last von uns zu nehmen;
jedoch in unserm lauten Sein,
und zu gehetzt für ein "Herein",
trotten wir stumpf von hier nach dort, 
merken es erst, wenn sie sind fort.

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G. Bachlund sets stanza 1

Submitted by Bertram Kottmann


Based on
  • a text in English by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 - 1906), "The sparrow", first published 1913
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Robert Owens. Go to the text.

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website: 2013-04-10.
Last modified: 2016-12-26 00:25:57
Line count: 16
Word count: 95