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

Wohin? Wohin?
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Wohin? Wohin?
Lau schläft am See die weiche Nacht
Und hat im weiten Lande
Wald, Strom und Menschen müd gemacht.

Ein Tönen ist erklungen
Aus dumpfen Erdentiefen her
Und hat sich zart erschwungen
Ins Reich der Luft und tönet
Wie Harfen zart und Glocken schwer.

Wohin? Wohin?
Mich hat ein Ton gerufen
Aus dumpfen Erdentiefen her,
Führt über dunkle Stufen
Empor und sehnlich weiter,
Nun schwingt er aus und tönt nicht mehr.

Ein Nachtvogel rauschet
Vorüber und schlägt mit den Flügeln.
Schon schmilzt es über den Hügeln
Ins dunkle Schweigen, und rauschet
Und fragt und lockt nicht mehr.

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, page 157.


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) , subtitle: "(1906)", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Marche de la 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: 2009-04-29
Line count: 20
Word count: 98

Whither? Whither?
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Whither? Whither?
The soft night sleeps warmly beside the lake
And all around in the land
It has made forest, river and people weary.

A sound has rung out
From the muffled depths of the earth
And has gently swung itself upward
Into the realm of air, and sounds
Like delicate harps and heavy bells.

Whither? Whither?
A sound has called me
From the muffled depths of the earth;
It leads upward and yearningly onward
Over dark steps;
Now it ceases vibrating and sounds no more.

A night-bird swoops
Past and beats its wings.
Already [the sound] melts away over the hills
Into dark silence, and soughs
And asks and entices no more.

Subtitle: "(1906)"

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Nachtgang" = "Nightime walk"
"Wohin? Wohin?" = "Whither? Whither?"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 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: 2019-04-12
Line count: 20
Word count: 113