by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Die wandelnde Glocke
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE ITA
Es war ein Kind, das wollte nie
Zur Kirche sich bequemen,
Und sonntags fand es stets ein Wie,
Den Weg ins Feld zu nehmen.

Die Mutter sprach: die Glocke tönt,
Und so ist dir's befohlen,
Und hast du dich nicht hingewöhnt,
Sie kommt und wird dich holen.

Das Kind, es denkt: die Glocke hängt
Da droben auf dem Stuhle.
Schon hat's den Weg ins Feld gelenkt,
Als lief' es aus der Schule.

Die Glocke, Glocke tönt nicht mehr,
Die Mutter hat gefackelt.
Doch welch ein Schrecken hinterher!
Die Glocke kommt gewackelt.

Sie wackelt schnell, man glaubt es kaum;
Das arme Kind im Schrecken,
Es läuft, es rennt, als wie im Traum;
Die Glocke wird es decken.

Doch nimmt es richtig seinen Husch
Und mit gewandter Schnelle,
Eilt es durch Anger, Feld und Busch
Zur Kirche, zur Kapelle.

Und jeden Sonn- und Feiertag
Gedenkt es an den Schaden,
Läßt durch den ersten Glockenschlag
Nicht in Person sich laden.


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) , "La campana movedissa", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De wandelende kerkklok", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The wandering bell", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La cloche baladeuse", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "La campana che cammina", copyright © 2006, (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: 28
Word count: 157

The wandering bell
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
There was a boy who never wanted
to deign to go to church;
and Sundays always found a way 
to go out into the field.

His mother said: the bell is tolling
and so you are ordered,
and if you won't make it your habit,
it will come and fetch you.

The child, it thought: the bell hangs
high up there in the belfry.
And already he was off to the field,
as if he had just been let out of school.

The bell, the bell chimed no longer,
Mother was just stalling him.
But what a horror behind him!
The bell was coming waddling after him.

It waddled quickly, one could hardly believe it;
the poor child was in terror.
He ran and ran as if in a nightmare;
the bell was going to swallow him whole.

But he makes a good dart for it,
and with agile speed,
hurries through meadow, field and bush
to the church, to the chapel.

And every Sunday and Holiday
he thinks about his misdeed,
and at the first toll of the bell,
he does not allow it to summon him in person.


  • 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: 28
Word count: 190