by Robert Eduard Prutz (1816 - 1872)
Translation © by David Arkell

Um Mitternacht in ernster Stunde
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
[Um]1 Mitternacht in ernster Stunde,
Tönt oft ein wundersamer Klang:
'S ist wie aus liebem Muttermunde
Ein freundlich tröstender Gesang.
In süßen, unbelauschten Thränen
Löst er des Herzens bange Pein,
Und alles unmuthvolle Sehnen
Und allen Kummer wiegt er ein.
Als käm' der Mai des Lebens wieder,
Regt sich's im Herzen wunderbar:
Da quillen Töne, keimen Lieder,
Da wird die Seele jung und klar.
So tönt das stille Läuten
Doch ich versteh' die Weise nie,
Und nur mitunter möcht' ich's deuten
Als wär's der Kindheit Melodie.

About the headline (FAQ)

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1 Nolopp: "Zur"; further changes may exist not shown above.


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 (David Arkell) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Jacques Jobard) , "À minuit", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2008-07-17
Line count: 16
Word count: 86

At midnight in the sombre hour
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
At midnight in the sombre hour,
A wondrous tone often sounds:
Like that from a mother's dear mouth,
A song of friendly consolation.

In sweet, unobserved tears
It dissolves the heart's anxious pain,
And cradles all discouraged longing
And all sorrow.

As if the May of life were returned,
The heart stirs wonderfully:
Then sounds surge, songs awaken,
The soul becomes young and lucid.

So sounds the peaceful ringing,
But I never understand the tune,
And only now and then might I interpret it
As if it were the melody of childhood.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Um Mitternacht" = "At midnight"
"Um Mitternacht im ernster Stunde" = "At midnight in the sombre hour"
"Zur Mitternacht" = "At midnight"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 by David Arkell, (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.

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This text was added to the website: 2020-12-09
Line count: 16
Word count: 92