by Matthias Claudius (1740 - 1815)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Es stand ein Sternlein am Himmel
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
[Es stand ein Sternlein]1 am Himmel,
Ein Sternlein guter Art;
Das tät so lieblich scheinen,
So lieblich und so zart!

Ich wußte seine Stelle
[Am Himmel, wo es]2 stand;
Trat abends vor die Schwelle,
Und suchte, bis ich's fand;

[Und]3 blieb dann lange stehen,
Hatt' große Freud' in mir,
Das Sternlein anzusehen;
Und dankte Gott dafür.

Das Sternlein ist verschwunden;
Ich suche hin und her
Wo ich es sonst gefunden,
Und find' es nun nicht mehr.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Kleffel: "Es stand ein Stern am Himmel" (further changes may exist not shown above) ; Ruck-Hanke: "Ein Sternlein stand"
2 Ruck-Hanke: "Wo es am Himmel"
3 Weingartner: "Ich"


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) , "Christiane", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Bertram Kottmann

This text was added to the website: 2004-05-02
Line count: 16
Word count: 76

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
There was a little star in the sky,
A star of good nature;
It used to shine so meekly,
So meekly and so mild.

I knew its place
In the sky where it stood;
In the evening I stepped out of the door
And was looking for it until I found it.

And then I remained standing,
Feeling a deep joy
To look at the little star;
And thanked God for it.

The little star is gone;
I try to find it here and there
Where I have found it before,
And find it now no more.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2004 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)

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Based on


This text was added to the website: 2004-05-02
Line count: 16
Word count: 97