Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf

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Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf ("Sleep, dear child, sleep" ) is a German lullaby.

The oldest surviving version is a text and melody fragment of the first stanza, which appears in 1611 as part of a quodlibet in Melchior Franck's Fasciculus quodlibeticus.[1][2] The current melody of the lullaby was composed by Johann Friedrich Reichardt in 1781 after a folk tune and also used for Maikäfer Flieg (cockchafer fly). The currently known text version was distributed by the third volume of the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1808). As a template for the first stanza was a Low German version of Johann Friedrich Schütze [de]'s Holstein Idioticon (1806),[3] the other stanzas are added poetry of Clemens Brentano. Franz Magnus Böhme was able to reprint 36 text variants in 1897.


The melody by Johann Friedrich Reichardt is from 1781.

\relative c'' { \autoBeamOff \key f \major \time 2/4
                a4 g8 g8 | f4 r8 f16[ a16]
                c8 c8 bes8 bes8 | a4 r8 a8 | bes8 bes8 g8 g8|
                c8 c8 a8 a8 | bes8 bes8 g8 g8 |
                c8 c8 a4 | bes4 g8 g8 | f4 r \bar"|."              
\addlyrics {
Schlaf’, Kind -- lein, schlaf’! Der 
Va -- ter hüt’t die Schaf’, die Mut -- ter schüt -- telt’s
Bäu -- me -- lein, da fällt her -- ab ein
Träu -- me -- lein. Schlaf’, Kind -- lein, schlaf’!


Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Der Vater hüt die Schaaf,
Die Mutter schüttelts Bäumelein,
Da fällt herab ein Träumelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Am Himmel ziehn die Schaaf,
Die Sternlein sind die Lämmerlein,
Der Mond der ist das Schäferlein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Christkindlein hat ein Schaaf,
Ist selbst das liebe Gotteslamm,
Das um uns all zu Tode kam,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
So schenk ich dir ein Schaaf
Mit einer goldnen Schelle fein,
Das soll dein Spielgeselle seyn,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Und blöck nicht wie ein Schaaf,
Sonst kömmt des Schäfers Hündelein,
Und beißt mein böses Kindelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Geh fort und hüt die Schaaf,
Geh fort du schwarzes Hündelein,
Und weck mir nicht mein Kindelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.


Sleep my child, sleep
Your father tends the sheep,
Your mother shakes the apple tree,
As falls down a dream for thee
Sleep my child, sleep

Sleep, my child, sleep
In the sky there drag the sheep
The sheperd, he is like the moon
In the sky with lambs bestrewn
Sleep my child, sleep

Sleep my child, sleep
Christ child has a sheep,
Your beloved mother shears the ram
to make fine clothes for madame
Sleep, my child, sleep

Sleep, my child, sleep
then i will give you a lamb
with the finest golden clamp
which will be your playmate then
Sleep, my child, sleep

Sleep, my child sleep
Don´t bleat like a sheep
or else there´ll come the sheperd´s dog
appals my lilttle child so bad
Sleep, my child, sleep

Sleep, my child, sleep
Go away and tend the sheep
Go away you black dog, so mad
and leave alone my little brat
Sleep, my child, sleep

Sleep, my child, sleep
out there walks a sheep
but now its time for beddy-byes
so come on, my child close your eyes
Sleep, my child, sleep

Modern usage[edit]

The content of this song has been picked up by many bands, especially rock bands. The punk band Dritte Wahl also picks up on this theme in the song Lullaby, which also points out and criticizes the themes of integration and xenophobia. In a version by J.B.O., the lullaby is underlaid with the melody of Metallica's "Enter Sandman". The text was also mixed with elements from the song Maikäfer flieg (Mayfly fly). The Deathcor band We Butter the Bread with Butter also has a version of the song on the album Das Monster aus dem Schrank with altered text published. In the title Träume anderer Leute (Dreams of other people) on the album Bring mich nach Hause by Wir sind Helden the first verse in modified form forms the prelude.

The song is also on Nena's children's songs album Komm, lieber Mai (Come, dear May) and, in another version, on Nena's Tausend Sterne (Thousand Stars).


  1. ^ Franck, Melchior (August 16, 1611). "Fasciculus quodlibeticus". Cornetto-Verlag – via Google Books.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "MDZ-Reader | Band | Holsteinisches Idiotikon, ein Beitrag zur Volkssittengeschichte oder Sammlung plattdeutscher, alter und neugebildeter Worte, Wortformen, Redensarten, Volkwitzes, Sprichwörter, Spruchreime, Wiegenlieder, Anekdoten und aus dem Sprachschatze erklärter Sitten, Gebräuche, Spiele, Feste der alten und neuen Holsteiner / Schütze, Johann Friedrich". Retrieved 16 August 2019.