by Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Die Ratten
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE ITA
In Hof scheint weiß der herbstliche Mond.
Vom Dachrand fallen phantastische Schatten.
Ein Schweigen in leeren Fenstern wohnt;
Da tauchen leise herauf die Ratten
Und huschen pfeifend hier und dort
Und ein gräulicher Dunsthauch wittert
Ihnen nach aus dem Abort,
Den geisterhaft der Mondschein durchzittert
Und sie keifen vor Gier wie toll
Und erfüllen Haus und Scheunen,
Die von Korn und Früchten voll.
Eisige Winde im Dunkel greinen. 


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 (Bertram Kottmann) , "The rats", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Les rats", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "I topi", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2010-10-29
Line count: 12
Word count: 68

The rats
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The autumn moon shines milk-white in the yard.
Chimeric shadows fall from eaves and crests.
A silence dwells in empty windows;
then furtively the rats appear

and scurry whistling here and there
and a grayish vapour scents them
following them from the latrine,
on which the moonlight quivers eerily

and they shriek as if mad from greed
and crowd barns and houses,
full of grain and fruit.
Icy winds whine in the darkness.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-11-28
Line count: 12
Word count: 73