by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 - 1838)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Es ragt ein altes Gemäuer
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Es [ragt]1 ein altes Gemäuer
Hervor aus Waldesnacht,
Wohl standen Klöster und Burgen
Einst dort in herrlicher Pracht.
Es liegen im kühlen Grunde
Behauene Steine gereiht;
Dort schlummern die [Frommen]2, die Starken,
Die Mächt'gen der alten Zeit.
Was kommst du [bei]3 nächtlicher Weile
Durchwühlen das alte Gestein?
Und [förderst herauf]4 aus den Gräbern --
Nur Staub und Totengebein.
Unmächtger Sohn der Stunde,
Das ist der Zeiten Lauf,
Laß ruhn, laß ruhn die Toten,
Du weckst sie mit Klagen nicht auf.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "steht"
2 Strauss: "Frauen"
3 omitted by Strauss
4 Strauss: "fordest hervor"


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Deixeu reposar els morts", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "Let the dead rest", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Laisse reposer les morts", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 79

Let the dead rest
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
An old rock wall [looms]1
Out of the night of the forest;
Once cloisters and castles must have
Stood there in glorious splendour.
In the cool depths there lie
Rows of hewn stones;
The [pious]2 slumber there, the strong,
The powerful of olden times.
Why do you come in the night-time
To rummage through the old rocks?
And summon [up]3 from the graves --
Only dust and skeletons.
You powerless son of the hour,
That is the march of time,
Let rest, let rest the dead,
You cannot waken them with laments.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Strauss: "stands"
2 Strauss: "women"
3 Strauss: "forth"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2016 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.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2016-07-27
Line count: 16
Word count: 91