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Who never choked on tear‑stained bread

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

Who never choked on tear-stained bread,
who never spent his nights in sorrow,
but weeping on his sleepless bed,
knows naught of Gods that shape tomorrow.

Who never ate with tears his bread,
who never wailed away till morrow
deprived of sleep upon his bed:
he knoweth not ye Gods of sorrow:

You lead the human into life
you let the poor soul fail, God-fashion,
then leave him to his pain and strife:
for punished must be each transgression!

You force a man into his life,
you let the poor man sin in passion,
then let him suffer hurt and strife,
aware that pain rewards aggression!

You stain a man with guilt's impression,
and then abandon him to pain:
For life avenges all transgression!

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About the headline (FAQ)

Note: this is a free singable translation of the Schubert song with its repeats (but not with the same English words repeated). Text mit Wiederholungen wie in Franz Schuberts dritter Version dieses Liedes. See for some interesting notes.


  • Singable translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 by Walter A. Aue, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Walter A. Aue. Contact:
    <waue (AT) dal (DOT) ca>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), "Harfenspieler", written <<1783, appears in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, first published 1795 CAT DUT FIN FRE HUN ITA DUT POL
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Andreas Peter Berggreen, Rudolph Bergh, Michael Brough, August Bungert, Norbert Burgmüller, Franz Aloys Theodor Commer, Wilhelm Czerwinski, Anton Diabelli, Annette Elisabeth, Freiin von Droste-Hülshoff, Zdenko Antonín Václav Fibich, Gustav Jansen [not F. G. Jansen], Emil Kauffmann, Aloys Kothe, Leopold Lenz, Franz Liszt, Heinrich August Marschner, Arnold Mendelssohn, Josef Ivar Müller, Victor Ernst Nessler, Xaver Pentenrieder, Bruno Ramann, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein, Franz Peter Schubert, Robert Schumann, Jean Sibelius, Friedrich Wilhelm Stade, Frank Valentin Van der Stucken, Hugo Wolf, Karl Friedrich Zelter. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2010-03-26.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:37
Line count: 19
Word count: 124

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