by William Blake (1757 - 1827)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright
Language: English 
Available translation(s): GER
Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep, in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel, 
Smiles as of the morning steal 
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast 
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep 
In thy little heart asleep. 
When thy little heart does wake 
Then the dreadful lightnings break, 

From thy cheek and from thy eye, 
O'er the youthful harvests nigh. 
Infant wiles and infant smiles 
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

B. Britten sets stanzas 1-2, 4-5
J. Carpenter sets stanzas 1-2

About the headline (FAQ)


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 English, [adaptation] ; composed by Richard Bamford Lane.
  • Also set in Welsh (Cymraeg), a translation by William Evans (1883 - 1968) , copyright © ; composed by Haydn Morris.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Geoffrey Wieting

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 109

Schlaf, schlaf, schönes Kind
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Schlaf, schlaf, schönes Kind
Freud’ in deinen Träumen find’;
schlaf, schlaf,  wenig Leid
macht in deinem Schlaf sich breit.

Süßes, ich erspür
zarten Keim der Lust in dir,
Freuden, Lächeln, noch versteckt,
Streiche, künftig ausgeheckt.

Rühre ich dich zärtlich an,
sich des Morgens Lächeln dann
auf Gesicht und Körper legt,
wo dein kleines Herze schlägt.

Ach! Es schleicht sich Tücke, List
in dein Herz, wenn’s schlafend ist.
Wenn dein kleines Herz erwacht,
zuckt’s aus dir mit Blitzes Macht:

Tücke, List setzt unverwandt
dann der Jugend Haus in Brand.
Kindes Lächeln, Kindes List
schüren allseits Zank und Zwist.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translation of title "A cradle song" = "Ein Wiegenlied"


  • Singable translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2015 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)

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Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2015-09-01
Line count: 20
Word count: 97