by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Der Tod der Geliebten
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG ITA
Er wußte nur vom Tod was alle wissen: 
daß er uns nimmt und in das Stumme stößt. 
Als aber sie, nicht von ihm fortgerissen, 
nein, leis aus seinen Augen ausgelöst, 

hinüberglitt zu unbekannten Schatten, 
und als er fühlte, daß sie drüben nun 
wie einen Mond ihr Mädchenlächeln hatten 
und ihre Weise wohlzutun: 

da wurden ihm die Toten so bekannt, 
als wäre er durch sie mit einem jeden 
ganz nah verwandt; er ließ die andern reden 

und glaubte nicht und nannte jenes Land 
das gutgelegene, das immersüße - 
Und tastete es ab für ihre Füße.

Confirmed with Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Gedichte, Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag, 1997, pages 507-508.


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La mort de l'estimada", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The death of the beloved", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "La morte dell'amata", copyright © 2008, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 94

The death of the beloved
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Of death he only knew what everyone knows:
that it takes us and knocks us into silence.
But when she, not torn away from him,
no, quietly released from out of his eyes,

glided over to unknown shadows,
and as he felt that those beyond now
possessed her maidenly smile like a moon
and her way of doing good:

at that the dead became so well-known to him,
as if through her he was very closely related
to each one of them; he let the others speak

and did not believe and called yonder land
the well-located, the ever-sweet -
and explored it for her feet [to pass].


  • 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: 2018-11-09
Line count: 14
Word count: 108