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

Immer bin ich ohne Ziel gegangen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Immer bin ich ohne Ziel gegangen,
Wollte nie zu einer Rast gelangen,
Meine Wege schienen ohne Ende. 

Endlich sah ich, daß ich nur im Kreise
Wanderte, und wurde müd der Reise. 
Jener Tag war meines Lebens Wende. 

Zögernd geh ich nun dem Ziel entgegen,
Denn ich weiß: auf allen meinen Wegen
Steht der Tod und bietet mir die Hände.

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, page 139.


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) , "Vers le but", copyright © 2013, (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: 9
Word count: 59

Always I walked without a goal
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Always I walked without a goal,
I never wanted to reach any resting place,
My pathways seemed to be without end.

Finally I saw that I only wandered
In a circle, and I wearied of the journey.
That day was the turning point of my life.

Hesitantly I now walk towards the goal,
For I know: upon all my pathways
Death stands and offers me its hands.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Dem Ziel entgegen" = "Towards the goal"
"Das Ziel" = "The goal"
"Immer bin ich ohne Ziel gegangen" = "Always I walked without a goal"


  • 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: 2017-08-15
Line count: 9
Word count: 67