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

Fremde Stadt
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Wie das so seltsam traurig macht:
Ein Gang durch eine fremde Stadt,
Die liegt und schläft in stiller Nacht
Und mondbeglänzte Dächer hat. 

Und über Turm und Giebel reist
Der Wolken wunderliche Flucht 
Still und gewaltig wie ein Geist, 
Der heimatlos nach Heimat sucht.

Du aber, plötzlich übermannt, 
Ergibst dem wehen Zauber dich 
Und legst dein Bündel aus der Hand 
Und weinest lang und bitterlich.

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 97.


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) , "Unfamiliar city", copyright © 2021, (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: 2009-05-04
Line count: 12
Word count: 65

Unfamiliar city
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
How it makes one so strangely sad:
A walk through an unfamiliar city
That lies there sleeping in the quiet night
And has rooftops glinting with moonlight.

And above the turrets and gables
Travels the wondrous flight of clouds,
As still and vast as a spirit
That, homeless, seeks a home.

You, however, suddenly overcome,
Give yourself over to the painful enchantment 
And lay down the bundle from your hand, 
And weep long and bitterly.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2021 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: 2021-01-30
Line count: 12
Word count: 75