by John Clare (1793 - 1864)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

When once the sun sinks in the west
Language: English 
Available translation(s): DUT GER
When once the sun sinks in the west,
And dew-drops pearl the Evening's breast;
Almost as pale as moonbeams are,
Or its companionable star,
The Evening Primrose opes anew
Its delicate blossoms to the dew;
And hermit-like, shunning the light,
Wastes its fair bloom upon the Night;
Who, blindfold to its fond caresses,
Knows not the beauty he possesses.
Thus it blooms on while Night is by;
When Day looks out with open eye,
'Bashed at the gaze it cannot shun,
It faints, and withers, and is gone.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with The Rural Muse : Poems by John Clare, London, Whittaker, 1835, page 137.


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):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Pauline Kroger) , "De teunisbloem", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Nachtkerzen", copyright © 2013, (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: 14
Word count: 88

Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Sobald die Sonn' im West versinkt,
und Tau auf Abendfluren blinkt,
bleich wie das Mondlicht aus der Fern
oder ein beigesellter Stern
tun sich aufs Neu dem Abendtau
zarte Nachtkerzenblüten auf;
Einsiedlern gleich scheu'n sie das Licht,
gönnen dem Tag ihr Blühen nicht.
Die Nacht, blind ihren zarten Küssen,
wird nie von ihrer Schönheit wissen.
So blühn sie bis ans End' der Nacht.
Wenn dann der neue Tag erwacht
verblühn sie, ziehen sich zurück,
sobald das Licht trifft ihren Blick.


  • Singable translation from English to German (Deutsch) copyright © 2013 by Bertram Kottmann, (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.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT)

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Based on


This text was added to the website: 2013-06-16
Line count: 14
Word count: 80