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

Im Frühling 1915
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Manchmal seh ich unsre Zeit so hell
Wie ein Auge aufgetan,
Aus zerschlagnem Wahn
Seh ich stürzen Quell um Quell,
Und von seinem Kreuz gestiegen
Den Erlöser groß und bleich
Über allen Kriegen
Predigen der Liebe ewiges Reich.

Manchmal seh ich nichts als schwarzen Haß,
Menschenleiber wutverbissen,
Schwache Seelen ohne Maß
Im Verbrechen hingerissen,
Leid aus hohlen Augen stierend,
Und der arme Gott der Liebe irrt,
Ehe alles dunkel wird,
Übers Blutfeld bang und frierend.

Aber neue Blumen bringt
Unsre Wiese jeden Tag,
Aus der Ulme süß und trunken schwingt,
Und die Welt weiß nichts von Morden,
Und die Welt ist Kind geworden,
Daß wir mit beklommenem Atem stehen
Und im duftend lauen Wehen
Angst und Leid und Tod nicht mehr verstehen.

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 230.


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) , "In the spring of 1915", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Au printemps 1915", 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: 2014-09-03
Line count: 25
Word count: 123

In the spring of 1915
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Sometimes I see our times so clearly
As - with an eye open,
From out of battered delusion
I see plunging wellspring after wellspring,
And descended from His cross
The Saviour great and pale
Above all wars
Preaching the eternal realm of love.

Sometimes I see nothing but black hate,
Men’s bodies obstinate with rage,
Weak souls without measure
Dragged along in misdeeds,
Sorrow staring from hollow eyes,
And before all becomes dark,
The poor God of Love wanders,
Anxious and freezing, across the bloody field.

But new flowers are presented
By our meadow every day,
The song of [robins]1
Swings itself forth sweetly and intoxicatingly from the elm,
And the world knows nothing of murdering,
And world has become a child,
So that we stand with anxious breath
And in the scented warm blowing [of the breeze]
No longer understand fear and suffering and death.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 If this translation is being used in Britain, please substitute “blackbirds.”


  • 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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This text was added to the website: 2014-09-03
Line count: 25
Word count: 146