by (Johann) Philipp Kaufmann (1802 - 1846)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Die tote Nachtigall
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Du arme, kleine Nachtigall! 
Du solltest den Frühling wecken
mit deinem holden, süßen Schall, 
und nun muß dich die Erde decken! 

Dein Mütterlein sucht bang sein Kind, 
wie fehlst du im Kreis der Kleinen! 
Es weint sich fast die Augen blind, 
wie traurig, ach! Das ist zum weinen. 

Und wenn der Frühling nun erwacht 
mit seiner Nachtigallen Lieder, 
Dann schläfst du still in Grabes Nacht, 
und ach! kein Ruf erweckt dich wieder.


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 dead nightingale", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le rossignol mort", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Virginia Knight

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 72

The dead nightingale
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
You poor little nightingale!
You were to awaken Spring
With your lovely, sweet sound,
And now the earth must cover you!

Your mother anxiously searches for her child,
How she misses you in the circle of the little ones!
She is almost blinded by her tears,
How sad, ah!  It is to weep.

And when Springtime now awakes
With all its nightingale songs,
Then you shall be sleeping quietly in the night of the grave,
And, ah! no call shall awaken you again.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2011 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: 2011-05-01
Line count: 12
Word count: 83