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

Es schlug vom Turm die Mitternacht
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Es schlug vom Turm die Mitternacht.
Was ist's, daß ich so jäh erwacht?
Was pocht in wunderlichem Schmerz
Noch halb im Traume mir das Herz?

Rings Stille. Keines Windes Hauch,
Kein Tier noch Vogel lebt im Strauch,
Durchs Fenster mit verhaltnem Schein
Der bleiche Himmel sieht herein.

Da bricht, des Traumes noch bewußt,
Ein Schluchzen mir aus weher Brust.
Derweil ich schlief, ging bleich und stumm
Der alten Liebe Schatten um.

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 107-108.


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) , copyright © 2018, (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: 2009-05-01
Line count: 12
Word count: 71

From the tower midnight tolled
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
From the tower midnight tolled.
What is it that caused me to waken so suddenly?
Why, still half in dreams, does my heart
Beat in such strange pain?

All around is silence.  No breath of wind,
No animal nor bird lives in the bush,
With a muted radiance the pale sky
Gazes in through the window.

Then, still aware of the dream, there breaks forth
A sobbing from my aching bosom.
While I lay sleeping, the shadows of
My old love wandered about, pale and mute.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Nacht im Odenwald" = "Night in the Oden forest"
"Nächtliches Erwachen" = "Wakening at night"


  • 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: 2018-05-15
Line count: 12
Word count: 86