by Johann Christoph Wannovius (1753 - 1814)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Das Leben
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Das Leben ist ein Traum,
Man merkt, man fühlt [ihn]1 kaum;
Denn schnell, wie Wolken ziehn,
Ist dieser Traum dahin.

Wohl dem, der gut geträumt,
Wohl dem! deß Saat hier keimt,
Zur Erndte für die Zeit
Der Unvergänglichkeit.

Das Leben ist der Blick
Auf einer Zukunft Glück,
Das jeder haben kann,
Der hier es wohlgethan.

Wohl dem! der nach der Nacht
Des Grabes froh erwacht,
Den nicht die Stimme schreckt,
Die aus dem Schlummer weckt.

Wer bey der Arbeit Schluß
Die Rechnung fürchten muß,
Hat wahrlich keinen Blick
Auf einer Zukunft Glück.

H. Behling sets stanzas 1, 2, 4

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Behling: "es"


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 vida", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Het leven is een droom", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Life is a dream", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La vie est un rêve", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 92

Life is a dream
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Life is a dream
One hardly notices or feels;
For quickly as clouds passing,
Is this dream behind us.

Happy is he who has dreamt well;
Happy is he whose crops here ripen
to harvest for Time

Life is a glimpse
of future happiness
That everyone can have
who has here done good.

Happy is he who, after the night
of the grave, awakens joyfully, -
who is not frightened by the voice
that has awakened him from slumber.

He who, at the end of his labor
fears the Reckoning,
will truly have no glimpse
of future happiness.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 99