by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 - 1843)
Translation © by Walter A. Aue

Der Herbst
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
Die Sagen, die der Erde sich entfernen,
Vom Geiste, der gewesen ist und wiederkehret,
Sie kehren von der Menschheit sich, und vieles lernen 
Wir aus der Zeit, die eilends sich verzehret. 
Die Bilder der Vergangenheit sind nicht verlassen 
Von der Natur, als wie die Tag' verblassen
Im hohen Sommer, kehrt der Herbst zur Erde nieder, 
Der Geist der Schauer findet sich am Himmel wieder 
In kurzer Zeit hat vieles sich geendet, 
Der Landmann, der am Pfluge sich gezeiget, 
Er siehet, wie das Jahr sich frohem Ende neiget, 
In solchen Bildern ist des Menschen Tag vollendet. 
Der Erde Rund mit Felsen ausgezieret, 
Ist wie die Wolke nicht, die Abends sich verlieret, 
Es zeiget sich mit einem goldnen Tage, 
Und die Vollkommenheit ist ohne Klage.


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 (John Glenn Paton) , "Autumn", copyright © 1994, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Autumn", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 123

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The fleeing legends, which the Earth narrated
(of spirit that once was and is returning),
are turning toward humanity, so increased learning
can grow from times that long since dissipated.

What images once were, they were not banished
by Mother Nature, like her days that paled and vanished
amid high summer: When descends the autumn's power
the sky will show it as the spirit's shower.

In not much time has much been terminated:
The peasants, having proudly shown themselves as plowers,
see now that yet another year has joyfully abated -
just as abates the time in which the human flowers.

The Earth whose round with rocky mountains pleases
(unlike the whispy clouds dispersed by evening breezes)
reveals itself amid a day that's golden,
and perfect, and to no complaint beholden.

Translation dedicated to the memory of Ernst and Lotte Zimmer


  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 by Walter A. Aue, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Walter A. Aue.  Contact: waue (AT) dal (DOT) ca

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Based on


This text was added to the website: 2010-03-26
Line count: 16
Word count: 131