Beim Schlafengehen (English translation)

  • Artist: Hermann Hesse
  • Also performed by: Richard Strauss
  • Song: Beim Schlafengehen 4 translations
  • Translations: English #1, #2, French, Russian

Beim Schlafengehen

Nun der Tag mich müd gemacht,
soll mein sehnliches Verlangen
freundlich die gestirnte Nacht
wie ein müdes Kind empfangen.
Hände, laßt von allem Tun,
Stirn, vergiß du alles Denken,
alle meine Sinne nun
wollen sich in Schlummer senken.
Und die Seele unbewacht
will in freien Flügen schweben,
um im Zauberkreis der Nacht
tief und tausendfach zu leben.
English translationEnglish
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When Falling Asleep

Versions: #1#2
Now that the day has worn me down
The star-strewn night in mercy mild
Graciously accepts my fierce demands
As if those of a weary child
Hands, leave off from all your doing,
Brow, forget every thinking
All of my five senses now
Wish to be in slumber sinking
Thence to soar in boundless flight
The unwatched soul freely gives
Itself in the magic sphere of night
Deep and thousand-fold to live
thanked 3 times
Submitted by GlennGlenn on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 16:58
Author's comments:

This 1911 poem by Hesse was included in Richard Strauss's last published work, the Four Last Songs of 1950 -


The translation by David Paley -

- was a source for this translation.

Hansi K_LauerHansi K_Lauer    Sun, 05/07/2020 - 00:11

There is a misunderstanding in the translation of verse 1:
Not 'The star-strewn night in mercy mild graciously accepts his fierce demands'
But 'his fierce demands graciously accept the star-strewn night in mercy mild'
more precisely:

'Now my fierce demands shall graciously accept
The star-strewn night in mercy mild
Like a weary child'

GlennGlenn    Thu, 16/07/2020 - 17:05

Hello Hansi,

Thank you for your comment, it is very kind of you to take the time to review this work.

With respect, my translation is not based on a misunderstanding; I am able to make a more literal translation, such as the one which you suggest above.

But the goal is to make the translation become a poem in its own right, a poem with rhyme and flowing metre, a poem which captures in the target English language the beauty of the original poem in German.

So I have rearranged the words of the poem a little to achieve that goal.

But do please go ahead and add your own new translation of the poem, in accord with your own views, and I will look forward to reading your work.

Hansi K_LauerHansi K_Lauer    Fri, 17/07/2020 - 03:16

Never mind, Glenn.
The other translation done by @elopesdecezar1 has the first verse perfectly alright.

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