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

Der Pilger
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Immer war ich auf der Fahrt,
Immer Pilgersmann,
Wenig hab ich mir bewahrt,
Glück und Weh zerrann.
Unbekannt war Sinn und Ziel
Meiner Wanderschaft,
Tausend Male, daß ich fiel,
Neu mich aufgerafft!
Ach, es war der Liebe Stern,
Den ich suchen ging,
Der so heilig und so fern
In den Höhen hing.
Eh das Ziel mir war bewußt,
Wanderte ich leicht,
Habe manche Höhenlust,
Manches Glück erreicht.
Nun ich kaum den Stern erkannt,
Ist es schon zu spät,
Hat er schon sich abgewandt,
Morgenschauer weht.
Abschied nimmt die bunte Welt,
Die so lieb mir ward.
Hab ich auch das Ziel verfehlt,
Kühn war doch die Fahrt.

Confirmed with Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, herausgegeben von Volker Michels, Band 10 Die Gedichte, bearbeitet von Peter Huber, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2002, pages 288-289.


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) , "The pilgrim", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le pèlerin", copyright © 2017, (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: 2009-04-30
Line count: 24
Word count: 106

The pilgrim
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I was always underway,
Always a pilgrim,
I have retained little,
Happiness and sorrow have faded away.
Unknown were purpose and goal
Of my wandering,
A thousand times I fell
And picked myself up anew!
Ah, it was the star of love
That I went to seek,
[The star] that hung on high,
So holy and so distant.
Before I was aware of the goal,
I wandered lightly,
I attained many a delight on high,
Many a happiness.
Now that I have only just recognized the star,
It is already too late;
The star has already turned away from me,
The chill of morning blows about me.
The colourful world takes farewell,
[The world] that was so precious to me.
Even though I have failed to reach my goal,
The journey was nevertheless bold.


  • 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: 2016-09-11
Line count: 24
Word count: 134