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Winter journey

Word count: 2042

Song Cycle by Franz Peter Schubert (1797 - 1828)

Original language: Winterreise

1. Good Night

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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As a stranger I arrived,
As a stranger again I leave.
May was kind to me
With many bunches of flowers.
The girl spoke of love,
Her mother even of marriage, -
Now the world is bleak,
The path covered by snow.

I cannot choose the time
Of my departure;
I must find my own way
In this darkness.
With a shadow cast by the moonlight
As my traveling companion
I'll search for animal tracks
On the white fields.

Why should I linger, waiting
Until I am driven out?
Let stray dogs howl
Outside their master's house;
Love loves to wander
God has made her so
From one to the other.
Dear love, good night!

I will not disturb you in your dreaming,
It would be a pity to disturb your rest;
You shall not hear my footsteps
Softly, softly shut the door!
On my way out I'll write
"Good Night" on the gate,
So that you may see
That I have thought of you.


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2. The weather-vane

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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The wind plays with the weathervane
Atop my beautiful beloved's house.
In my delusion I thought
It was whistling at the poor fugitive.

If he had seen it before,
The crest above the house,
Then he never would have looked for
A woman's fidelity in that house.

The wind plays with hearts within
As on the roof, but not so loudly.
What is my suffering to them?
Their child is a rich bride.


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3. Frozen tears

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Frozen tear drops 
fall from my cheeks:
Can it be that, without knowing it, 
I have been weeping?

O tears, my tears, 
are you so lukewarm,
That you turn to ice 
like cold morning dew? 

Yet you spring from a source, 
my breast, so burning hot,
As if you wanted to melt
 all of the ice of winter!


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4. Numbness

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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I search in the snow in vain
For a trace of her footsteps
When she, on my arm,
Wandered about the green field.

I want to kiss the ground,
Piercing the ice and snow
With my hot tears,
Until I see the earth below.

Where will I find a blossom?
Where will I find green grass?
The flowers are dead,
The turf is so pale.

Is there then no souvenir
To carry with me from here?
When my pain is stilled,
What will speak to me of her?

My heart is as if [frozen]1,
Her image is cold within,
If my heart should one day thaw,
So too would her image melt away!


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Schubert's version: "dead"

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5. The linden tree

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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By the fountain, near the gate,
There stands a linden tree;
I have dreamt in its shadows
So many sweet dreams.

I carved on its bark
So many loving words;
I was always drawn to it,
Whether in joy or in sorrow.

Today, too, I had to pass it
In the dead of night.
And even in the darkness
I had to close my eyes.

And its branches rustled
As if calling to me:
"Come here, to me, friend,
Here you will find your peace!"

The frigid wind blew
Straight in my face,
My hat flew from my head,
I did not turn back.

Now I am many hours
Away from that spot,
And still I hear the rustling:
There you would have found peace!


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6. Torrent

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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Many tears from my eyes
Have fallen into the snow;
Whose icy flakes thirstily drink
My burning grief.

When the grass begins to sprout,
A mild wind will blow there,
And the ice will break up
And the snow will melt.

Snow, you know my longing,
Tell me, to where will you run?
Just follow my tears
And then before long the brook will take you in.

It will take you through the town,
In and out of the lively streets.
When you feel my tears glow,
That will be my beloved's house.


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7. On the stream

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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You who rushed along so merrily,
You clear, wild stream,
How quiet you have become,
You offer no parting words.

With a hard, solid crust
You have clothed yourself.
You lie cold and motionless
Stretched out in the sand.

On your surface I carve
With a sharp stone
The name of my beloved
And the hour and the day:

The day of our first meeting,
The day I went away:
Name and numbers entwined
By a broken ring.

My heart, in this brook
Do you recognize your own image?
Is there, under your surface, too,
A surging torrent?


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8. Backward glance

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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A fire burns under the soles of my feet,
Though I walk on ice and snow;
Yet I'll not pause for a breath
Until the towers are out of sight.

I have stumbled on every stone,
So hastily did I leave the town;
The crows threw snowballs and hailstones
at my hat from every house.

How differently did you welcome me,
You town of infidelity!
At your bright windows sang
The lark and the nightingale in competition.

The round linden trees were blooming,
The clear streams rushed by,
And, ah, two maiden eyes were glowing, -
Then you were done for, my friend.

When that day comes into my thoughts
I wish to glance back once more,
I wish I could stumble back
And stand in silence before her house.


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9. Will‑o'‑the‑wisp

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Into the deepest chasms
A will-o'-the-wisp enticed me;
How I will discover a path
Does not concern me much.

I am used to going astray;
Every path leads to one goal;
Our joys, our woes,
Are all a will-o'-the-wisp game!

Down the mountain stream's dry course
I will calmly wend my way.
Every stream finds the sea,
Every sorrow finds its grave.


Translation of title "Irrlicht" = "Will‑o'‑the‑wisp"

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10. Rest

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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Now I first notice how weary I am
As I lie down to rest;
Wandering had sustained me
As I walked a desolate road.
My feet do not ask for rest,
It was too cold to stand still;
My back felt no burden,
The storm helped me blow along.

In a coal-burner's narrow hut
I have found shelter.
Still, my limbs cannot rest,
So fiercely my wounds burn.
You too, my heart, in struggles and storm
So wild and so bold,
Only now in the quiet do you feel the sharp sting
of the worm that lives within you!


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11. A dream of springtime

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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I dreamt of colorful flowers
Such as bloom in May;
I dreamt of green meadows,
Of merry bird songs.

And when the roosters crowed,
My eyes awoke;
It was cold and dark,
The ravens were shrieking on the roof.

But there on the window panes,
Who painted those leaves?
Do you laugh at the dreamer,
Who saw flowers in winter?

I dreamt of requited love,
Of a beautiful girl,
Of hearts and of kisses,
Of bliss and happiness.

And when the roosters crowed,
My heart awoke.
Now I sit here alone,
And think about my dream.

I shut my eyes again,
My heart still beats warmly.
When will you leaves on the window turn green?
When will I hold my beloved in my arms?


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12. Loneliness

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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As a dark cloud 
Passes through clear skies,
When a faint breeze wafts
Through the tops of the pine trees:

So I make my way
With heavy steps,
Through bright, joyful life,
Alone and ungreeted.

Ah, the air is so calm,
Ah, the world is so bright!
When the tempests were raging,
I was not so miserable.


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13. The post

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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A posthorn sounds from the street.
What is it that makes you leap so,
My heart?

The post brings no letter for you.
Why do you surge, then, so wonderfully,
My heart?

And now the post comes from the town
Where once I had a true beloved,
My heart!

Do you want to look out
And ask how things are back there,
My heart?


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14. The grey head

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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The frost sprinkled a white coating
All through my hair;
It made me think I was already grey-haired,
And that made me very happy.

But soon it thawed,
Again my hair is black,
And so I grieve to have my youth -
How far still to the funeral bier!

From dusk to dawn
Many a head has turned grey.
Who would believe it? And mine has not
In the whole course of this journey!


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15. The crow

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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A crow was with me
From out of the town,
Even up to this moment
It circles above my head.

Crow, strange creature,
Will you not forsake me?
Do you intend, very soon,
To take my corpse as food?

Well, it is not much farther
That I wander with my staff in hand.
Crow, let me see at last 
A fidelity that lasts to the grave!


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16. Last hope

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

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Here and there may a colored leaf
Be seen on the trees.
And often I stand before the trees
Lost in thought.

I look for a single leaf
On which to hang my hope;
If the wind plays with my leaf,
I tremble all over.

Ah! if the leaf falls to ground,
My hope falls with it;
And I, too, sink to the ground,
Weeping at my hope's grave.


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17. In the village

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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The hounds are barking, their chains are rattling;
Men are asleep in their beds,
They dream of the things they do not have,
Find refreshment in good and bad things.
And tomorrow morning everything is vanished.
Yet still, they have enjoyed their share,
And hope that what remains to them,
Might still be found on their pillows.

Bark me away, you waking dogs!
Let me not find rest in the hours of slumber!
I am finished with all dreaming 
Why should I linger among sleepers?


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18. The stormy morning

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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See how the storm has torn apart
Heaven's grey cloak!
Shreds of clouds flit about
In weary strife.

And fiery red flames
Burst forth among them:
This is what I call a morning
Exactly to my liking!

My heart sees its own image
Painted in the sky 
It is nothing but winter,
Winter, cold and savage!


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19. Deception

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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A friendly light dances before me,
I followed it this way and that;
I follow it eagerly and watch its course
As it lures the wanderer onward.
Ah! one that is wretched as I
Yields himself gladly to such cunning,
That portrays, beyond ice, night, and horror,
A bright warm house.
And inside, a loving soul. - 
Ah, my only victory is in delusion!


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20. The signpost

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Why do I avoid the routes
Which the other travelers take,
To search out hidden paths
Through snowy cliff tops?

I have truly done no wrong
That I should shun mankind.
What foolish desire
Drives me into the wastelands?

Signposts stand along the roads,
Signposts leading to the towns;
And I wander on and on,
Restlessly in search of rest.

One signpost stands before me,
Remains fixed before my gaze.
One road I must take,
From which no one has ever returned.


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21. The inn

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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My path has brought me 
to a graveyard.
Here would I lodge, 
I thought to myself.

You green death-wreaths 
might well be the signs,
That invite the weary traveler 
into the cool inn.

But in this house 
are all the rooms taken?
I am weak enough to drop, 
fatally wounded.

O unmerciful innkeeper, 
do you turn me away?
Then further on, further on, 
my faithful walking stick.


Translation of title "Das Wirtshaus" = "The inn"

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22. Courage

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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The snow flies in my face,
I shake it off.
When my heart cries out in my breast,
I sing brightly and cheerfully.

I do not hear what it says,
I have no ears,
I do not feel what it laments,
Lamenting is for fools.

Merrily stride into the world
Against all wind and weather!
If there is no God on earth,
We are gods ourselves!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

23. The phantom suns

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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I saw three suns in the sky,
I stared at them long and hard;
And they, too, stood staring
As if unwilling to leave me.
Ah, but you are not my suns!
Stare at others in the face, then:
Until recently I, too, had three;
Now the best two are gone.
But let the third one go, too!
In the darkness I will fare better.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

24. The hurdy-gurdy-man

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © by Arthur Rishi, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)



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There, behind the village, 
stands a hurdy-gurdy-man,
And with numb fingers 
he plays the best he can.

Barefoot on the ice, 
he staggers back and forth,
And his little plate 
remains ever empty.

No one wants to hear him, 
no one looks at him,
And the hounds snarl 
at the old man.

And he lets it all go by, 
everything as it will,
He plays, and his hurdy-gurdy
is never still.

Strange old man, 
shall I go with you?
Will you play your hurdy-gurdy 
to my songs?


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

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