by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ITA
Euch bedaur' ich, unglücksel'ge Sterne,
Die ihr schön seid und so herrlich scheinet,
Dem bedrängten Schiffer gerne leuchtet,
Unbelohnt von Göttern und von Menschen:
Denn ihr liebt nicht, kanntet nie die Liebe!
Unaufhaltsam führen [ew'ge]1 Stunden
Eure Reihen durch den weiten Himmel.
Welche Reise habt ihr schon vollendet!
Seit ich, weilend in dem Arm der Liebsten,
Euer und der Mitternacht vergessen.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Goethe, Dritte Auflage, Berlin: G. Grote'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1873, page 301.

1 Suder: "ewige"


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) , "Nighttime thoughts", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Pensieri notturni", copyright © 2008, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 10
Word count: 61

Nighttime thoughts
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
I am sorry for you, unfortunate stars,
You who are beautiful and shine so gloriously,
Who gladly gleam for the hard-pressed sailor,
Unrewarded by gods and by people:
For you do not love, you never knew love!
Inexorably, eternal hours lead
Your ranks through the broad heavens.
What a journey you have already completed
Since I, lingering in the arms of my beloved,
Forgot about you and about midnight!


  • 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: 2020-03-06
Line count: 10
Word count: 69