by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 - 1838)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Es geht bei gedämpfter Trommel Klang
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the Danish (Dansk) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG
Es geht bei gedämpfter Trommel Klang;
Wie weit noch die Stätte! der Weg wie lang!
O wär' er zur Ruh und alles vorbei!
Ich glaub', es bricht mir das Herz entzwei!

Ich hab' in der Welt nur ihn geliebt,
Nur ihn, dem jetzt man den Tod doch gibt.
Bei klingendem Spiele wird paradiert;
Dazu bin auch ich kommandiert.

Nun schaut er auf zum letzten Mal
In Gottes Sonne [freudigen]1 Strahl, --
Nun binden sie ihm die Augen zu --
Dir schenke Gott die ewige Ruh'.

Es haben [die]2 Neun wohl angelegt,
Acht Kugeln haben vorbei gefegt;
Sie [zitterten]3 Alle vor Jammer und Schmerz --
Ich aber, ich traf ihn mitten [in's]4 Herz.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Adelbert von Chamisso, Dritte Auflage, Stuttgart, Ch. Hausmann'sche Antiquariats-Buchhandlung, 1835, page 156. Note: in this edition, "paradiert" is spelled "paradirt" and "kommandiert" is spelled "kommandirt".

1 Marschner: "freud'gen"
2 Schumann: "dann"
3 Furtwängler: "zittern" (? could need double-checking)
4 Schumann: "in das"


Based on

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) , copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De soldaat", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "He walks to the sound of a muffled drum", copyright ©

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Johann Winkler

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-03
Line count: 16
Word count: 109

He walks to the sound of a muffled drum
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 He walks to the sound of a muffled drum;
 how far the place! - how long the way!
 O if only he were at rest and everything past already!
 I think it will break my heart in two!
 I loved only him in the world -
 only him, whom they are now putting to death!
 To the band they parade;
 for this task I am also ordered.
 Now he gazes for the last time
 up at the joyous sunbeams of God's sun;
 now they blindfold his eyes -
 may God grant you eternal peace!
 The nine then took aim:
 eight bullets shot wide.
 They trembled, all full of misery and pain -
 but I - I shot him right through the heart.


  • 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 onBased on


This text was added to the website: 2003-11-03
Line count: 16
Word count: 123