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Denn es gehet dem Menschen Op. 121 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Vier ernste Gesänge, (Four Serious Songs) (Op. 121)

Denn es gehet dem Menschen

Denn es gehet dem Menschen wie dem Vieh;
wie dies stirbt, so stirbt er auch;
und haben alle einerlei Odem;
und der Mensch hat nichts mehr denn das Vieh:
denn es ist alles eitel.
Es fährt alles an einen Ort;
es ist alles von Staub gemacht, und wird wieder zu Staub.
Wer weiß, ob der Geist des Menschen aufwärts fahre,
und der Odem des Viehes unterwärts unter die Erde fahre?
Darum sahe ich, daß nichts bessers ist,
denn daß der Mensch fröhlich sei in seiner Arbeit,
denn das ist sein Teil.
Denn wer will ihn dahin bringen, daß er sehe, was nach ihm geschehen wird?

For that which befalleth the sons of men

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts;
as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
yea, they have all one breath;
so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast;
for all is vanity.
All go unto one place;
all are of dust, and all turn to dust again.
Who knoweth the spirit of man [...] goeth upward
and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better,
than that a man should rejoice in his own works,
for that is his portion.
For who shall bring him to see what shall happen after him?
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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Martin Luther, (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.

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