by Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translation © by Beate Binnig

Sternklare Nacht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG FRE
Meine Seele, kannst du nicht beten?
Sieh, wie die Sterne wunderbar 
Aus der gewölbten Bläue treten.
Und droben leuchten schön und klar.

Das sind die Lichter deren Glänzen
Dich ehemals so tief entzückt.
Und die du mit den bunten Kränzen
Verliebter Lieder hast geschmückt.

Ich fühle wohl wie du bezwungen
Vor der [gestirnten]1 Nacht dich [neigst]2 --
Sind deine Lieder alle versungen,
O meine Seele, daß du schweigst?

View original text (without footnotes)

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 122.

1 Patrick: "getarnten"
2 sometimes incorrectly given as "zeigst"


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 (Beate Binnig) , "Starry night", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Starlit night", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Nuit étoilée", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor] , Roland Kupper

This text was added to the website: 2008-11-17
Line count: 12
Word count: 67

Starry night
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
My soul, can't you pray?
Look, how the stars come out
of the arched blue so wonderfully
And shine above so beautifully and clearly.

These are the lights the shining of which
used to charm you so much
and which you adorned with colourful coronas 
of songs in love.

I'm aware of how you show yourself
to the starry night.
Have all your songs been sung,
oh my soul, so that you keep quiet?


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 by Beate Binnig, (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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2016-05-24
Line count: 12
Word count: 74