Four Last Songs


Spring (Fruhling by Hermann Hesse)
Among the gloomy tombs I dreamed for long of your trees and blue skies, of your scent and birdsong.
Now you lie bedecked in glitter and jewels, dappled in light, like a miracle before me. 
You recognise me again. You seduce me tenderly.  
All my limbs tremble in your joyful, joyful presence.

September (by Hermann Hesse)
The garden grieves. Cold is the rain that seeps into the blooms. 
The summer trembles silently as it comes to its end.
Golden leaf after leaf falls from the high acacia tree.
Summer smiles wearily in wonderment at the dying dream of this garden.
Still longer it lingers by the roses, ardently desiring quiet.
Slowly does it let its now tired eyes close.

Going to sleep (Beim Schlafengehen by Hermann Hesse)
Now the day makes me tired. 
Make my impatient longing welcome the starry night like a tired child.
Hands, cease all activity. Brow, forget all thoughts. All my senses now want to sink into slumber.
And my unguarded soul will in free flight soar, in the magic sphere of the night a thousand times more deeply to live.

At Sunset (Im Abendrot by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff)
We have been through hardship and joy together, hand in hand. 
After our journey we now rest looking down on the quiet countryside.
Around us the valleys close in; the air is already darkening.
Just two larks dreamily climb in the evening scents.
Step over here and leave them to warble. 
Soon it will be time to sleep. 
We mustn't get lost in this solitude. 
What vast still peace! So deep at sunset.
How tired we are of our journey.
Is this perhaps death?

(English translations by Charles Clark)