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

Die Flamme
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Ob du tanzen gehst in Tand und Plunder,
Ob dein Herz sich wund in Sorgen müht,
Täglich neu erfährst du doch das Wunder,
Daß des Lebens Flamme in dir glüht.

Mancher läßt sie lodern und verprassen,
Trunken im verzückten Augenblick,
Andre geben sorglich und gelassen
Kind und Enkeln weiter ihr Geschick.

Doch verloren sind nur dessen Tage,
Den sein Weg durch dumpfe Dämmrung führt,
Der sich sättigt in des Tages Plage
Und des Lebens Flamme niemals spürt.

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 217.


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 flame", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La flamme", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2008-07-04
Line count: 12
Word count: 77

The flame
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Whether you go dancing in trumpery and trinkets,
Whether your heart wounds itself, labouring in anxieties,
Every day anew you [nevertheless] experience the wonder
That the flame of life glows within you.

Many a person lets it flare and dissipate,
Drunkenly in the ecstatic moment;
Others, caringly and serenely, pass on
Their fate to their children and grandchildren.

Lost, however, are only his days
Whose path leads through muffled twilight,
Who satiates himself with the vexations of the day
And never perceives the flame of life.


  • 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: 2017-10-21
Line count: 12
Word count: 86