Four Songs

Song Cycle by Frederick Brandeis (1835 - 1899)

Word count: 2334

1. O wär mein Lieb ein Holderstrauch [sung text checked 1 time]

[ ... ]

O, wär' mein Lieb ein Holderstrauch,
Wie der, voll Blumen jeder Ast!
O, wär' ich selbst ein Vögelein!
Auf seinen Zweigen hielt' ich Rast.

Wie wollt' ich trauern, säh' ich ihn
Entblättern [des Novembers Wehn]1;
Wie singen, sähe [blüh'nd]2 und grün
Ich wieder ihn im Lenze stehn!

O, wär' mein Lieb' die rote Ros',
Die auf des Schlosses Mauer glüht!
O, wär' ich selbst der Tropfen Thau,
Den man im Kelch der Rose sieht!

An ihrer Brust die ganze Nacht
Läg' ich, und schwelgt' in trunkner Lust;
Bis Morgens, wo der Tag erwacht,
Läg' ich an ihrer süßen Brust.

[ ... ]

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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Confirmed with Gedichte von Ferdinand Freiligrath, Siebente (der Miniatur-Ausgabe zweite) Auflage, Stuttgart und Tübingen, J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag, 1844, page 438.

Note: Freiligrath has divided his translation into four stanzas, where Burns' original is usually published in two. He has also rearranged the stanzas, so Burns' stanza 1 corresponds to stanzas 3 and 4 of Freiligrath.

1 Brandeis: "von Herbst und Winters Weh'n"; Tomášek: "durch des Herbstes Wehn"
2 Tomášek: "schmuck"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

1. O were my love yon lilac fair [sung text not yet checked]

O were my Love yon lilac fair,
  Wi' purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
  When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
  By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
  When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.
 
O gin my Love were yon red rose
  That grows upon the castle wa',
And I mysel a drap o' dew,
  Into her bonnie breast to fa';
[O there, beyond expression blest,
  I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
  Till fley'd awa' by Phoebus' light.]1

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Kéž byla bys ten vonný bez"
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Elisa Rapado) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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1 omitted by Beach.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Ruhe in der Geliebten [sung text not yet checked]

So laß mich [sitzen]1 ohne Ende,
So laß mich sitzen für und für!
Leg deine beiden frommen Hände
Auf die erhitzte Stirne mir!
Auf meinen Knien, zu deinen Füßen,
Da laß mich ruhn in trunkner Lust;
Laß mich das Auge selig schließen
In deinem Arm, an deiner Brust!

Laß es mich öffnen nur dem Schimmer,
Der deines wunderbar erhellt;
In dem ich raste nun für immer,
O du mein Leben, meine Welt!
Laß es mich öffnen nur der Thräne,
Die brennend heiß sich ihm entringt;
Die hell und lustig, eh ich's wähne,
Durch die geschloßne Wimper springt!

So bin ich fromm, so bin ich stille,
So bin ich sanft, so bin ich gut?
Ich habe dich -- das ist die Fülle!
Ich habe dich -- mein Wünschen ruht!
Dein Arm ist meiner Unrast Wiege,
Vom Mohn der Liebe süß umglüht;
Und jeder deiner Athemzüge
Haucht mir in's Herz ein Schlummerlied!

Und jeder ist für mich ein Leben! --
Ha, so zu rasten Tag für Tag!
Zu lauschen so mit sel'gem Beben
Auf unsrer Herzen Wechselschlag!
In unsrer Liebe Nacht versunken,
Sind wir entflohn aus Welt und Zeit:
Wir ruhn und träumen, wir sind trunken
In seliger Verschollenheit!

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1 Draeseke, Suter: "ruhen"; Munzinger: "träumen" (further changes may exist not noted above.)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Rest in the loved one [sung text checked 1 time]

So let me ever sit beside thee,
ever let me sit as now;
lay thy two hands, so calm and gentle,
softly upon my burning brow.
At thy dear feet thus humbly kneeling,
let now me taste ecstatic joy,
and speechless on thy breast reclining
in rapture let me close mine eye.

Let it but open to the radiance,
that from thine own doth on me fall;
therein will I repose forever,
o thou my world, my life, my all!
O let it open to the tear-drop,
which thence doth burning force its way,
that clear and limpid, ere I know it,
from 'neath my closed lid doth stray.

Thus am I calm, thus am I gentle,
thus am I kind and thus at peace,
for I have thee, 'tis life's fulfillment!
For I have thee, my wishes cease.
Thine arm's the cradle of my sorrow,
while love's narcotics close mine eye,
and every breath, that heaves thy bosom,
breathes in my heart a lullaby.

And each a life for me containeth!
Could I thus forever rest
and mark our hearts' responsive beating,
while trembling rapture fills my breast!
Thus by our love's deep night enfolded
we've bid to world and time farewell;
in rapt delight we're resting, dreaming,
beneath oblivion's blissful spell.

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Researcher for this text: Johann Winkler

3. Das Schifflein [sung text not yet checked]

Ein Schifflein ziehet leise
Den Strom hin seine Gleise.
Es schweigen, die drin wandern,
Denn keiner kennt den andern.

Was zieht hier aus dem Felle
Der braune [Waldgeselle]1?
Ein Horn, das sanft erschallet:
Das Ufer [widerhallet]2.

Von seinem Wanderstabe
Schraubt jener Stift und Habe,
Und mischt mit Flötentönen
Sich in des Hornes Dröhnen.

Das Mädchen saß so blöde,
Als fehlt' ihr gar die Rede,
Jetzt stimmt sie mit Gesange
Zu Horn- und Flötenklange.

Die [Rudrer]3 auch sich regen
Mit taktgemäßen Schlägen.
Das Schiff hinunter flieget,
Von Melodie gewieget.

Hart stößt es auf am Strande,
Man trennt sich in die Lande:
»Wann treffen wir uns, Brüder?
Auf einem Schifflein wieder?«

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La barqueta", copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Het scheepje", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "The little ship", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le petit bateau", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Gianni Franceschi) , "La barchetta", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 in some versions of Uhland: "Weidgeselle" or "Waidgeselle" (Mendelssohn and Schumann use "Waidgeselle")
2 in some versions of Uhland: "wiederhallet"
3 in some versions of Uhland: "Schiffer"; Mendelssohn: "Ruder"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The passage boat [sung text not yet checked]

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  • Singable translation by Anonymous / Unidentified Author
Based on

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4. The miller's daughter [sung text not yet checked]

I see the wealthy miller yet,
   His double chin, his portly size,
And who that knew him could forget
   The busy wrinkles round his eyes?
The slow wise smile that, round about
   His dusty forehead drily curl'd,
Seem'd half-within and half-without,
   And full of dealings with the world?

In yonder chair I see him sit,
   Three fingers round the old silver cup -- 
I see his gray eyes twinkle yet
   At his own jest -- gray eyes lit up
With summer lightnings of a soul
   So full of summer warmth, so glad,
So healthy, sound, and clear and whole,
   His memory scarce can make me sad.

Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss:
   My own sweet Alice, we must die.
There's somewhat in this world amiss
   Shall be unriddled by and by.
There's somewhat flows to us in life,
   But more is taken quite away.
Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife,
   That we may die the self-same day.

Have I not found a happy earth?
   I least should breathe a thought of pain.
Would God renew me from my birth
   I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk,
   And once again to woo thee mine -- 
It seems in after-dinner talk
   Across the walnuts and the wine -- 

To be the long and listless boy
   Late-left an orphan of the squire,
Where this old mansion mounted high
   Looks down upon the village spire:
For even here, where I and you
   Have lived and loved alone so long,
Each morn my sleep was broken thro'
   By some wild skylark's matin song.

And oft I heard the tender dove
   In firry woodlands making moan;
But ere I saw your eyes, my love,
   I had no motion of my own.
For scarce my life with fancy play'd
   Before I dream'd that pleasant dream -- 
Still hither thither idly sway'd
   Like those long mosses in the stream.

Or from the bridge I lean'd to hear
   The milldam rushing down with noise,
And see the minnows everywhere
   In crystal eddies glance and poise,
The tall flag-flowers when they sprung
   Below the range of stepping-stones,
Or those three chestnuts near, that hung
   In masses thick with milky cones.

But, Alice, what an hour was that,
   When after roving in the woods
('Twas April then), I came and sat
   Below the chestnuts, when their buds
Were glistening to the breezy blue;
   And on the slope, an absent fool,
I cast me down, nor thought of you,
   But angled in the higher pool.

A love-song I had somewhere read,
   An echo from a measured strain,
Beat time to nothing in my head
   From some odd corner of the brain.
It haunted me, the morning long,
   With weary sameness in the rhymes,
The phantom of a silent song,
   That went and came a thousand times.

Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood
   I watch'd the little circles die;
They past into the level flood,
   And there a vision caught my eye;
The reflex of a beauteous form,
   A glowing arm, a gleaming neck,
As when a sunbeam wavers warm
   Within the dark and dimpled beck.

For you remember, you had set,
   That morning, on the casement-edge
A long green box of mignonette,
   And you were leaning from the ledge
And when I raised my eyes, above
   They met with two so full and bright -- 
Such eyes! I swear to you, my love,
   That these have never lost their light.

I loved, and love dispell'd the fear
   That I should die an early death:
For love possess'd the atmosphere,
   And fill'd the breast with purer breath.
My mother thought, what ails the boy?
   For I was alter'd, and began
To move about the house with joy,
   And with the certain step of man.

I loved the brimming wave that swam
   Thro' quiet meadows round the mill,
The sleepy pool above the dam,
   The pool beneath it never still,
The meal-sacks on the whiten'd floor,
   The dark round of the dripping wheel,
The very air about the door
   Made misty with the floating meal.

And oft in ramblings on the wold,
   When April nights began to blow,
And April's crescent glimmer'd cold,
   I saw the village lights below;
I knew your taper far away,
   And full at heart of trembling hope,
From off the wold I came, and lay
   Upon the freshly-flower'd slope.

The deep brook groan'd beneath the mill;
   And "by that lamp," I thought, "she sits!"
The white chalk-quarry from the hill
   Gleam'd to the flying moon by fits.
"O that I were beside her now!
   O will she answer if I call?
O would she give me vow for vow,
   Sweet Alice, if I told her all?"

Sometimes I saw you sit and spin;
   And, in the pauses of the wind,
Sometimes I heard you sing within;
   Sometimes your shadow cross'd the blind.
At last you rose and moved the light,
   And the long shadow of the chair
Flitted across into the night,
   And all the casement darken'd there.

But when at last I dared to speak,
   The lanes, you know, were white with may,
Your ripe lips moved not, but your cheek
   Flush'd like the coming of the day;
And so it was -- half-sly, half-shy,
   You would, and would not, little one!
Although I pleaded tenderly,
   And you and I were all alone.

And slowly was my mother brought
   To yield consent to my desire:
She wish'd me happy, but she thought
   I might have look'd a little higher;
And I was young -- too young to wed:
   "Yet must I love her for your sake;
Go fetch your Alice here," she said:
   Her eyelid quiver'd as she spake.

And down I went to fetch my bride:
   But, Alice, you were ill at ease;
This dress and that by turns you tried,
   Too fearful that you should not please.
I loved you better for your fears,
   I knew you could not look but well;
And dews, that would have fall'n in tears,
   I kiss'd away before they fell.

I watch'd the little flutterings,
   The doubt my mother would not see;
She spoke at large of many things,
   And at the last she spoke of me;
And turning look'd upon your face,
   As near this door you sat apart,
And rose, and, with a silent grace
   Approaching, press'd you heart to heart.

Ah, well -- but sing the foolish song
   I gave you, Alice, on the day
When, arm in arm, we went along,
   A pensive pair, and you were gay
With bridal flowers -- that I may seem,
   As in the nights of old, to lie
Beside the mill-wheel in the stream,
   While those full chestnuts whisper by.

       It is the miller's daughter,
          And she is grown so dear, so dear,
       That I would be the jewel
          That trembles in her ear:
       For hid in ringlets day and night,
       I'd touch her neck so warm and white.

       And I would be the girdle
          About her dainty dainty waist,
       And her heart would beat against me,
          In sorrow and in rest:
       And I should know if it beat right,
       I'd clasp it round so close and tight.

       And I would be the necklace,
          And all day long to fall and rise
       Upon her balmy bosom,
          With her laughter or her sighs,
       And I would lie so light, so light,
       I scarce should be unclasp'd at night.

A trifle, sweet! which true love spells -- 
   True love interprets -- right alone.
His light upon the letter dwells,
   For all the spirit is his own.
So, if I waste words now, in truth
   You must blame Love. His early rage
Had force to make me rhyme in youth,
   And makes me talk too much in age.

And now those vivid hours are gone,
   Like mine own life to me thou art,
Where Past and Present, wound in one,
   Do make a garland for the heart:
So sing that other song I made,
   Half-anger'd with my happy lot,
The day, when in the chestnut shade
   I found the blue Forget-me-not.

        Love that hath us in the net,
        Can he pass, and we forget?
        Many suns arise and set.
        Many a chance the years beget.
        Love the gift is Love the debt.
                 Even so.
        Love is hurt with jar and fret.
        Love is made a vague regret.
        Eyes with idle tears are wet.
        Idle habit links us yet.
        What is love? for we forget:
                 Ah, no! no!

Look thro' mine eyes with thine. True wife,
   Round my true heart thine arms entwine
My other dearer life in life,
   Look thro' my very soul with thine!
Untouch'd with any shade of years,
   May those kind eyes for ever dwell!
They have not shed a many tears,
   Dear eyes, since first I knew them well.

Yet tears they shed: they had their part
   Of sorrow: for when time was ripe,
The still affection of the heart
   Became an outward breathing type,
That into stillness past again,
   And left a want unknown before;
Although the loss had brought us pain,
   That loss but made us love the more,

With farther lookings on. The kiss,
   The woven arms, seem but to be
Weak symbols of the settled bliss,
   The comfort, I have found in thee:
But that God bless thee, dear -- who wrought
   Two spirits to one equal mind -- 
With blessings beyond hope or thought,
   With blessings which no words can find.

Arise, and let us wander forth,
   To yon old mill across the wolds;
For look, the sunset, south and north,
   Winds all the vale in rosy folds,
And fires your narrow casement glass,
   Touching the sullen pool below:
On the chalk-hill the bearded grass
   Is dry and dewless. Let us go.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Des Müllers Tochter [sung text not yet checked]

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  • Singable translation by Anonymous / Unidentified Author
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