by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Absterben
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Wenn ich Kinder spielen sehe
Und ihr Spiel nicht mehr verstehe
Und ihr Lachen fremd und töricht klingt,
Ach das ist vom bösen Feinde,
Den ich ewig ferne meinte,
Eine Mahnung, die nicht mehr verklingt.

Wenn ich Liebesleute sehe
Und zufrieden weiter gehe
Ohne Sehnsucht nach dem Paradies,
Ach das ist ein still Verzichten
Auf des Herzens tiefstes Dichten,
Das der Jugend Ewigkeit verhieß.

Wenn ich böse Reden höre
Und mich nicht mehr heiß empöre
Und gelassen tu, als hört ich's nicht,
O dann zuckt im Herzen,
Still und ohne Schmerzen,
Und erlischt das heilige Licht.

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 210.


Authorship

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) , "Extinction", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Dépérissement", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2014-01-27
Line count: 18
Word count: 96

Extinction
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
When I see children playing
And no longer understand their games
And their laughter sounds strange and foolish,
Ah that is a warning from the evil enemy,
Whom I imagined eternally far away,
A warning that shall never die away.

When I see people in love
And pass on complacently
Without longing for that paradise,
Ah that is a quiet relinquishing
Of the heart's deepest poetic creativity,
Which promised eternity to youth.

When I hear evil talk
And no longer am ardently indignant
And placidly pretend that I didn't hear it,
Oh then it twitches in my heart,
Silently and without pain,
And the holy light is extinguished.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2014 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

 

This text was added to the website: 2014-01-27
Line count: 18
Word count: 108