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Ophelia-Lieder

Word count: 576

Song Cycle by Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)

English translation: Songs of Ophelia

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1. How should I your true love know [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English after the English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER GER GER ITA POL

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How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass green turf,
At his heels a stone.

[ ... ]

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Note: this is often referred to as the Walsingham Ballad, and is quoted in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem An old song ended refers to this song.

1 White: "flow'rs"
2 White: "show'rs"

Submitted by Ted Perry

1. Wie erkenn' ich dein Treulieb [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Translation(s): ENG

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Based on
  • a text in English by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist [an adaptation] ENG FRE ITA POL
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Kim Borg, Benjamin C. S. Boyle, Johannes Brahms, Natho Henn, John Jeffreys, Osvaldo Costa de Lacerda, Elizabeth Maconchy, Roger Quilter, Maude Valérie White. Go to the text.
  • a text in English misattributed to William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) ENG FRE ITA POL
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Kim Borg, Benjamin C. S. Boyle, Johannes Brahms, Natho Henn, John Jeffreys, Osvaldo Costa de Lacerda, Elizabeth Maconchy, Roger Quilter, Maude Valérie White. Go to the text.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "How will I know your true love", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Wie erkenn' ich dein Treulieb
Vor den andern nun?
An den Muschelhut und Stab.
Und den Sandalschuh'n.

Er ist lange tot und hin,
Tot und hin, Fräulein!
Ihm zu Häupten ein Rasen grün,
Ihm zu Fuß ein Stein.


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Submitted by Emily Ezust

2. White his shroud as the mountain snow [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER

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White his shroud as the mountain snow,
Larded with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.


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Submitted by Emily Ezust

2. Sein Leichenhemd weiß wie Schnee zu sehn [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Translation(s): FRE ITA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Son linceul que l'on voit blanc comme la neige", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Sein Leichenhemd weiß wie Schnee zu sehn,
Geziert mit Blumensegen,
Das still betränt zum Grab mußt gehn
Von Liebesregen.


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Submitted by Emily Ezust

3. To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER GER GER

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  [To-morrow is]1 Saint Valentine's day,
  All in the morning [betime]2,
  And I a maid at your window,
  To be your Valentine.
  Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
  And dupp'd the chamber-door;
  Let in the maid, that out a maid
  Never departed more.

[ ... ]

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1 Quilter: "Good morrow, 'tis "
2 Quilter: "time"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

3. Auf morgen ist Sankt Valentins Tag [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Translation(s): ENG ITA

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Based on
  • a text in English by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), no title, appears in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5 FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Kim Borg, Johannes Brahms, Osvaldo Costa de Lacerda, Roger Quilter. Go to the text.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Auf morgen ist Sankt Valentins Tag,
Wohl an der Zeit noch früh,
Und ich 'ne Maid am Fensterschlag
Will sein eur Valentin. 
Er war bereit, tät an sein Kleid,
Tät auf die Kammertür,
Ließ ein die Maid, die als 'ne Maid 
Ging nimmermehr herfür.


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Submitted by Emily Ezust

4. Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre bloß [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Translation(s): ITA

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  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


   Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre bloß,
   [He non nonni, nonni, he nonni!]1
   Und manche Trän' fiel in  Grabes Schoß --
[Fahr wohl, meine Taube!]2

Ihr müßt singen: «'Nunter, [hinunter!]2
Und ruft ihr ihn 'nunter.»
[O wie das Rad dazu klingt!
Es ist der falsche Verwalter, 
Der seines Herrn Tochter stahl.]2

    Denn traut lieb Fränzel ist all meine Lust.

[ ... ]

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1 Brahms: "Leider, ach leider!"
2 omitted by Brahms.

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani

5. Und kommt er nicht mehr zurück? [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Translation(s): ITA

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  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


[ ... ]
Und kommt er nicht mehr zurück? Und kommt er nicht mehr zurück? Er ist Tot, o weh! In dein Todesbett geh, Er kommt ja nimmer zurück. Sein Bart war so weiß wie Schnee, Sein Haupt dem Flachse gleich: Er ist hin, er ist hin, Und kein Leid bringt Gewinn: Gott helf' ihm ins Himmelreich!

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1 Brahms: "Leider, ach leider!"
2 omitted by Brahms.

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani

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