by John Donne (1572 - 1631)
Translation © by Bertram Kottmann

Death be not proud, though some have...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER GER ITA
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for thou art not soe,
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor [yet canst thou]1 kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do goe,
Rest of their bones, and souls deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sickness dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well 
And better than thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

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1 Bennett: "nor canst thou yet"


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):

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: 123

Sonett über den Tod
Language: German (Deutsch)  after the English 
Sei nicht vermessen, Tod, wenngleich man dich
gewaltig, furchtbar nennt: dies bist du nicht!
Denn jene, die anscheinend du zerbrichst,
bestehen fort, geradeso wie ich.
Ruhe und Schlaf, die Sinnbild dir allein,
tun wohl - noch größ're Labung kommt von dir:
auf dass die Besten von uns gehn mit dir,
um Leib und Seel vom Diesseits zu befrein.
Du bist des Schicksals, Zufalls, Königs Knecht
und gehst mit Gift und Krieg und Krankheit um,
ist nicht auch Schlafmohn ein Narkotikum
und besser als dein Hieb - wie dann dein Recht?
Nach kurzem Schlaf ist unser Auferstehn;
kein Tod wird dann mehr sein - Tod, Du musst gehn.


  • 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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This text was added to the website: 2013-09-10
Line count: 14
Word count: 107