Translation © by Emily Ezust

O Menschheit ‑ o Leben!
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FIN FRE ITA
O Menschheit - o Leben! -
Was soll's - o was soll's?!
Grabe aus - scharre zu!
Tag und Nacht keine Ruh! -
Das [Drängen, das Treiben]1 -
Wohin! - o wohin?! - -
»Ins Grab - tief hinab!« -

O Schicksal - o traurige Pflicht -
Ich trag's länger nicht! -
Wann wirst du mir schlagen,
O Stunde der Ruh?! -
O Tod! komm und drücke
Die Augen mir zu! - -
Im Leben, da [ist es]2 so schwül! -
Im Grabe - so friedlich, so kühl!
Doch ach, wer legt mich hinein? -
Ich [steh]3 allein! - so ganz allein!! -

Von allen verlassen
Dem Tod nur verwandt,
Verweil' ich am Rande -
Das Kreuz in der Hand,
Und starre mit sehnendem Blick,
Hinab - ins tiefe Grab! -

O Heimath des Friedens,
Der Seligen Land!
An dich knüpft die Seele
Ein magisches Band. -
Du winkst mir von ferne
Du ewiges Licht: -
Es schwinden die Sterne -
Das Auge schon bricht! - -
Ich sinke - ich sinke! - Ihr Lieben -
     Ich komme! - - -

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Poetische Betrachtungen in freyen Stunden von Nicolaus. Mit einer Vorrede und einem einleitenden Gedichte begleitet von Friedrich von Schlegel. Wien. Gedruckt und im Verlage bey Carl Gerold. 1828, pages 59-60.

Note: Schubert received Craigher's poem in handwritten form. Craigher issued it later in the book mentioned above.

1 Schubert: "Treiben, das Drängen"
2 Schubert: "ist's ach"
3 Schubert: "stehe"


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 © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , no title, copyright ©
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Milla Valkeasuo) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 33
Word count: 181

O mankind, O life!
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
O mankind, O life! 
What is is all for?
Dig out, scrape in! 
Day and night, no peace!
This pushing and shoving, 
where does it get you?
"To the grave, the grave, deep under!"

O Fate, o sad duty,
I can stand it no longer!
When will you come, 
O hour of peace?
O Death! come and press 
my eyes closed!
To be alive is so oppressive!
In the grave it is so peaceful, so cool!
But alas! who will lay me in my grave?
I am alone, so utterly alone!

Abandoned by all, 
with Death my only kin,
I linger at the edge, 
a cross in my hand,
and stare with yearning
down into the deep, deep grave!

O homeland of peace, 
O blessed land,
to you the soul is bound by 
a magical bond.
You beckon from afar, 
you eternal light.
The stars disappear, 
my eyes fail -
I'm dying, dying! My loved ones, 
I'm coming!

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: this is a translation of Schubert's version.

Translation of title "Totengräbers Heimwehe" = "Gravedigger's homesickness"


  • 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 on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 33
Word count: 158