Wir sind durch Not und Freude
Gegangen Hand in Hand,
Vom Wandern ruhen wir beide
Nun ueberm stillen Land.

Rings sich die Taeler neigen,
Es dunkelt schon die Luft,
Zwei Lerchen nur noch steigen
Nachtraumend in den Duft.

Tritt her und lass sie schwirren,
Bald ist es Schlafenszeit,
Dass wir uns nicht verirren
In dieser Einsamkeit.

O weiter, stiller Friede!
So tief im Abendrot ,
Wie sind wir wandermuede
Ist das etwa der Tod?

Strauss & Eichendorff

Im Abenrot

Strauss had come across the poem Im Abendrot (At Sunset) by Joseph von Eichendorff, which he felt had a special meaning for him. He set its text to music in May 1948. Strauss had also recently been given a copy of the complete poems of Hermann Hesse, and he arranged three of them &ndash Fruehling (Spring), September, and Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep) &ndash for soprano and orchestra.
(According to Arnold, a fifth song was unfinished at Strauss' death.)
There is no indication that Strauss conceived these songs as a unified set.
In dictionaries published as late as 1954, the three Hesse songs were still listed as a group, separate from the earlier Eichendorff setting.
The overall title Four Last Songs was provided by his friend Ernst Roth, the chief editor of Boosey & Hawkes. It was Roth who categorized them as a single unit with the title Four Last Songs, and put them into the order that most performances now follow: Fruehling, September, Beim Schlafengehen, Im Abendrot.