by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 - 1843)
Translation © by John Glenn Paton

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 legends that are departing from earth,
 about the spirit that was and will return again,
 they turn toward humankind, and much we learn
 from time, which hastily devours itself. 
 The images of the past are not abandoned
 by Nature; just as the days grow pale 
 in high summer, autumn comes back to earth;
 the ghost of showers is again in the sky.
 In a short time much has ended. 
 The farmer who appears behind his plow 
 sees how the year declines toward a happy end; 
 in such images humankind's day is made complete. 
 Earth's sphere adorned with rocks 
 is not like a cloud that vanishes at dusk.
 It reveals itself with a golden day,
 and its completeness admits no complaint.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 1994 by John Glenn Paton, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 122