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

Ein Wändeviereck, blaß, vergilbt und alt
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Ein Wändeviereck, blaß, vergilbt und alt,
Ehmals von Pordenones Hand bemalt. 

Die Bilder fraß die Zeit. Du siehest nur 
Mit schwachem Umriss hier und dort die Spur

Verwaschener Fresken noch: ein Arm, ein Fuß --
Vergangener Schönheit geisterhafter Gruß. 

Ein Kind mit Augen auf, die lustig lachen 
Und den Beschauer seltsam traurig machen.

About the headline (FAQ)

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 76-77.


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) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: John Versmoren , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 8
Word count: 52

A rectangle of wall, pale, yellowed and...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
A rectangle of wall, pale, yellowed and old,
Illustrated by the hand of Pordenone in ancient times.

The pictures were devoured by time.  You only see
In faint outlines here and there the trace

Of washed-out frescos still:  an arm, a foot --
The ghostly greeting of bygone beauty.

A child with open eyes that laugh merrily
And make the onlooker strangely sad.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Im Kreuzgang von Santo Stefano" = "In the cloisters of Saint Stephen"
"Der Kreuzgang von Santo Stefano" = "The cloister of Saint Stephen"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 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: 2017-07-07
Line count: 8
Word count: 62