by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

The sleep that flits on baby's eyes
Language: English  after the Bangla (Bengali) 
Available translation(s): GER
The sleep that flits on baby's eyes - 
does anybody know from where it comes? 
Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling 
where, in the fairy village among shadows of the forest 
dimly lit with glow-worms, 
there hang two timid buds of enchantment. 
From there it comes to kiss baby's eyes.

The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps - 
does anybody know where it was born? 
Yes, there is a rumour 
that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched 
the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, 
and there the smile was first born 
in the dream of a dew-washed morning - 
the smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps.

The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby's limbs - 
does anybody know where it was hidden so long? 
Yes, when the mother was a young girl it lay pervading her heart 
in tender and silent mystery of love - 
the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on baby's limbs.

J. Carpenter sets stanza 1

About the headline (FAQ)


Based on

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 Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ENG ; composed by Jan Pieter Hendrik van Gilse, Johann Móry.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 169

Schlaf, der sacht auf Kinderaugen huscht
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Schlaf, der sacht auf Kinderaugen huscht -
weiß man, woher er kommt?
Man sagt, er wohne,
wo im Dorf der Feen im Waldesschatten, 
schwach von Glühwürmchen erhellt,
zwei zarte Zauberknospen sprießen.
Dort kommt er her, des Kindes Aug zu küssen.

Das Lächeln, das des Kindes Mund umspielt, wenn tief es schläft,
weiß man, woher es kommt? 
Man sagt, 
ein junger bleicher Strahl des Sichelmondes rührte
am Rande einer flücht’gen Herbsteswolke,
und dort kam dieses Lächeln in die Welt
im Traume eines taubenetzten Morgens -
das Lächeln auf des Kindes Mund, wenn tief es schläft.

Die lieblich sanfte Frische, die Kindes Leib umblüht -
weiß man, wo sie so lange sich verbarg?
Ja, als die Mutter noch ein Mädchen war, erfüllte sie ihr Herz
als stilles, zärtliches Mysterium der Liebe -
die lieblich sanfte Frische, die Kindes Leib umblüht.

About the headline (FAQ)


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

Based onBased on


This text was added to the website: 2014-07-02
Line count: 20
Word count: 138