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

Der Tag ist um; schon wird die Ferne...
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Der Tag ist um; schon wird die Ferne trüber,
Der glatte See erglänzt in schwerem Rot,
Geschmückte Barken gleiten mir vorüber,
Gesang wird laut ... Wann rasten wir, mein Boot?

Das Lied vertönt. Mit langen Schatten bricht
Die frühe Nacht vom Hochgebirg herein.
Das letzte Schiff fährt mit Laternenlicht
Der Ferne zu ... Mein Boot, wir sind allein.

Die Nacht wird kühl. Mich treibt es ohne Ruh
Dem rätselhaften Glanz der Firne zu.
Mit tastend leisen Fingern pocht der Tod
An meinen Kiel ... Was zitterst du, mein Boot?

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 153-154.


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 © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Navigation de nuit", copyright © 2013, (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: 2009-05-15
Line count: 12
Word count: 89

The day is done; already the distance...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The day is done; already the distance becomes more dim,
The smooth lake is already gleaming with heavy red,
Bedecked barques are gliding past me,
Singing is heard ... When do we rest, my boat?

The song dies away. With long shadows
The early night breaks in from the highlands.
Lit by lanterns, the last ship sails
Into the distance ... My boat, we are alone.

The night grows cool. Without rest I am driven
Toward the mysterious radiance of the old snow.
With groping quiet fingers death knocks
Upon my keel ... why do you tremble, my boat?

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Nächtliche Bootreise" = "Nighttime boat journey"
"Bootnacht" = "Boat night"
"Nächtliche Bootsfahrt" = "Nighttime boat trip"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 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: 2018-01-28
Line count: 12
Word count: 99