by Friedrich Rückert (1788 - 1866)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Weder Anfang hat die Welt noch Ende, 
Nicht im Raum noch in der Zeit;  
Überall ist Mittelpunkt und Wende,  
Und im Nu die Ewigkeit. 

Wie du lebst von einem Nu zum andern, 
Ewig eines lebest du;  
Laß die Welt vorüber ruhlos wandern, 
Und sieh' aus der Ruh' ihr zu.  

Nicht mit unzulänglichen Gedanken 
Machst du das Geheimniß klar, 
Doch in schwanken Schranken, Wortes Ranken, 
Stellt es dir sich bildlich dar.  

Confirmed with Friedrich Rückert, Gesammelte poetische Werke, Band VII : Pantheon , Sauerlaender, 1868, pages 468-469.


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) , "The secret of the world", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Bertram Kottmann , Melanie Trumbull

This text was added to the website: 2016-03-04
Line count: 12
Word count: 70

The secret of the world
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Neither beginning nor end has the world,
Not in the universe or in time;
Everywhere is the centre and the point of change,
And in a moment [is] eternity.

As you live from one moment to another,
You eternally live a single thing;
Let the world wander past restlessly,
And watch it from [your] calmness.

Not with inadequate thoughts
Do you make the secret clear,
But in wavering boundaries, entwining words,
It presents itself to you metaphorically.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 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: 2020-06-12
Line count: 12
Word count: 77