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The doleful song

Word count: 864

Song Cycle by Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)

Original language: Das klagende Lied

1. Forest Legend

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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 once was a haughty queen,
Lovely beyond compare:
No knight was worthy of her,
She hated them all.
O you, oh beautiful woman.
For whom shall your sweet body bloom?

In the wood grew a red flower,
Oh so beautiful, that the queen decreed,
Whichever knight found the flower,
He would win her hand in marriage!
Oh, you haughty yet lovely queen!
When shall your proud soul break?

Two brothers came upon the woods,
Intent on seeking the flower:
One was a comely and gentle soul,
The other couldn't help but swear!
O knight, my horrible knight,
O hold back your awful curses!

After walking together for a little while,
They went their separate ways:
They searched in haste
Through woods and heaths.
My dear knights, rushing headlong,
Who will find the flower?

The younger trekked through woods and fields,
But did not have far to go:
Before long, he saw that in the distance by the meadow,
There stood the red flower.
He tucked the flower inside his hat,
And then stretched himself out for a rest.

The other spied him, with wild urgency,
In vain had he sought the flower in the heath,
And when the evening had fallen at last,
He came to the green pasture!
O woe, when he found his sleeping brother,
The flower in his hat, behind the green ribbon!

You wonderful nightingale,
And little bluebird behind the hedges,
Won't you with your sweet song
Awaken the poor knight?
You red flower behind the hat,
You glimmer and glisten like blood!

An eye beholds, with savage joy.
Its gleam has never lied:
A shining steel sword hangs at his side,
Which now he draws!
The elder laughs under the willow tree,
The younger smiles, as if dreaming.

You flowers, why are you so heavy from the dew?
It seems to me that those are tears!
You winds, why do you blow so coldly?
What do your whispers mean?

"In the wood, in a green moor,
There stood an old willow tree."


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.

2. The minstrel

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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)



Based on

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By the willow tree, among cool firs,
Where jackdaws and ravens flutter,
There lay a blond knight
Buried under leaves and flowers.
There it is so calm and fragrant,
As if tears wafter through the air!
O sorrow, woe! O sorrow!

One day a minstrel came that way
And saw a little bone gleaming;
He lifted it up, as if it were a reed,
And began to carve it into a flute.
O minstrel, my dear minstrel,
What strange tales it will tell!
O sorrow, woe! O sorrow!

The minstrel set the flute to his lips
And let it resound:
O miracle, what now began,
What a curious and mournful song!
Its song was so doleful and yet so lovely,
That hearing it might cause one to die!
O sorrow, sorrow!

"Oh minstrel, my dear minstrel
This must I now lament to you:
For a beautifully-colored little flower
Has my brother struck me dead!
In the wood were my young bones bleached,
While my brother courted a lovely wife!"
O sorrow, sorrow, woe!

The minstrel traveled far and wide,
Everywhere playing his song.
"Ah me, ah me, my dear friends,
What will you make of my song?
Up must I go, to the king's hall,
Up to the king's lovely bride!
O sorrow, woe! O sorrow!"


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.

3. Wedding piece

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2006 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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)



Based on

Go to the single-text view


From the high cliffs a castle gleams,
The cornets and trumpets resound,
There sat the brave company of knights,
And the ladies wearing their golden chains.
What is that joyful, cheerful noise?
What glows and shines in the King's hall?
O joy, hurrah! Joy!

And do you not know, whence this joy?
Hah! Then I shall tell you.
The queen today shall wed
The young knight!
Behold, the proud queen!
Today it shall break, her haughty will!
O joy, hurrah! Joy!

Why is the king so pale and quiet?
Does he not hear the joyful sounds?
Does he not see the wealthy and powerful guests,
Does he not see the graceful and beautiful queen?

Why is the king so pale and quiet?
What has gotten into his head?
A minstrel stands waiting at the door!
What can this minstrel want?
O sorrow, sorrow! O woe!

"Oh minstrel, my dear minstrel
This must I now lament to you:
For a beautifully-colored little flower
Has my brother struck me dead!
In the wood were my young bones bleached,
While my brother courted a lovely wife!"
O sorrow, sorrow! O woe!

Then leapt the king from his throne,
And peers at his wedding guests.
And seized the flute with an outraged sneer,
And set it against his own mouth!
O horrific is the sound it makes!
Do you hear the tidings with mortal fright?

"Oh brother, my dear brother,
You have slain me!
Now you play on my death-bleached bone,
And I must ever lament!
Why have you given over
My young life to death?"
O sorrow, woe! O sorrow!

On the ground the queen had collapsed;
The drums and trumpets fell silent.
With horror the knight and his wife fled,
The ancient walls are falling!
The lights are extinguished in the King's hall?
What has become of their wedding feast?
Ah, sorrow!


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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