Des de Moor

To Those Born Later
An die Nachgeborenen

Water of Europe Water of Europe
One of 12 new English chansons and three covers on this 1999 solo album.
More details.
Des de Moor
voice, acoustic guitar

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1952) wrote the three poems collectively entitled An die Nachgeborenen or To Those Born After in the dark days of the 1930s, as elegies addressed to the people of a post-revolutionary society. His collaborator Hanns Eisler (1898-1950) composed complex and difficult settings for the first two soon afterwards, and then wrote new settings of the first and third for the Berliner Ensemble in the late 1940s, this time suiting them more to the vocal abilities of actors.

These later settings, renumbered I and II, are arguably more succint, and a superb example of Eisler's ability to straddle the boundaries of popular and art music. They also boast some of the most spot-on texts of all the Brecht repertoire, effortlessly highlighting the human side of political struggle. Unfortunately their intended addressees have not yet been unshered in by history.

I've known them since 1987 and decided from the start that they'd have a place on this album. I originally planned to do elaborate arrangements but eventually recorded them in the simple guitar arrangement I've been using for live shows since I first translated and learnt them back in 1994.


To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar
And then I joined in their rebellion.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

I ate my dinners between the battles,
I lay down to sleep among the murderers,
I didn't care for much for love
And for nature's beauties I had little patience.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

The city streets all led to foul swamps in my time,
My speech betrayed me to the butchers.
I could do only little
But without me those that ruled might sleep more easily:
That's what I hoped.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

Our forces were slight and small,
Our goal lay in the far distance
Clearly in our sights,
If for me myself beyond my reaching.
That's how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.


You who will come to the surface
From the flood that's overwhelmed us and drowned us all
Must think, when you speak of our weakness in times of darkness
That you've not had to face:

Days when we were used to changing countries
More often than shoes,
Through the war of the classes despairing
That there was only injustice and no outrage.

Even so we realised
Hatred of oppression still distorts the features,
Anger at injustice still makes voices raised and ugly.
Oh we, who wished to lay for the foundations for peace and friendliness,
Could never be friendly ourselves.

And in the future when no longer
Do human beings still treat themselves as animals,
Look back on us with indulgence.

Translation: Deptford, London, November 1993

Bertolt Brecht

Des de Moor

Hanns Eisler

Des de Moor

© Copyright 1958 Deutscher Verlag für Muzik, Leipzig/GEMA. Translated by permission of the publisher.

From the album Water of Europe (see left).

All rights reserved. No material on these pages can be reproduced in whole or in part in any form, except for short passages for the purpose of quotation or review, without prior written permission of the copyright owner.

 More lyrics
Dirty Pictures
Heart of a Heartless World
To Those Born After (Bertolt Brecht; Hanns Eisler)
Joey's Dreams
Water of Europe
Big Sister
Sleaze City
Sharp Contradictions
Ordinary Joe (Andrew Brooks/Michael Hodges)
My Father Said (Jacques Brel)
Grandmother was a Hero
Last Orders Please
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