by Caroline Pichler (1769 - 1843)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Die Nacht bricht an; mit leisen Lüften...
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Die Nacht bricht an; mit leisen Lüften sinket
Sie auf die müden Sterblichen herab.
Der sanfte Schlaf, des Todes Bruder, winket,
Und legt [sie freundlich]1 in ihr täglich Grab.
Jetzt wachet auf der lichtberaubten Erde
Vielleicht nur noch die Arglist und der Schmerz;
Und jetzt, da ich durch nichts gestöret werde,
Laß deine Wunden bluten, armes Herz!

Versenke dich in deines Kummers Tiefen,
Und wenn vielleicht in der zerriss'nen Brust
[Verjährte, halb vergess'ne]2 Leiden schliefen,
So wecke sie mit grausam süßer Lust!
Berechne die verlornen Seligkeiten,
Zähl' alle Blumen in dem Paradies,
Woraus in deiner Jugend goldnen Zeiten
Die [kalte]3 Hand des Schicksals dich verstieß!

Du hast geliebt, du hast das Glück empfunden,
Dem [jede]4 Seligkeit [der Erde]5 weicht,
Du hast ein Herz, das dich verstand, gefunden,
[Der kühnsten Hoffnung schönes]6 Ziel erreicht.
Da stürzte dich ein [grausam]7 Machtwort [nieder
Aus deinen Himmeln]8, und dein stilles Glück,
[Das allzu schöne]9 Traumbild, kehrte wieder
Zur bessern Welt, aus der es kam, zurück.

Zerrissen sind nun [alle]10 süßen Bande;
[Mir schlägt]11 kein Herz mehr auf der weiten Welt!12
Was ist's, das mich in diesem [Schattenlande]13,
In dieser [todten]14 Einsamkeit noch hält?
Nur [Einen Lichtstrahl seh' ich fernher]15 blinken;
Im Götterglanz erscheint die heil'ge Pflicht:
Und wenn des müden Geistes Kräfte sinken,
So sinkt der Muth, den sie mir einflößt, nicht.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Olivier oder Die Rache der Elfe von Carolina Pichler, gebornen von Greiner. Zweyter Theil. Wien, Im Verlage bey Anton Pichler. 1803, pages 83-84; and with Sämmtliche Werke von Caroline Pichler, gebornen von Greiner. Neunter Theil. Wien, 1813. Gedruckt und im Verlage bey Anton Strauß, pages 158-159.

Note: This poem is part of Caroline Pichler's novella Olivier, where princess Adelinde accompanies her song with the harp. This song does appear for the first time in the second edition (1803) of this novella. The initial version of the novella, without the poem, was published in two parts in 1801 and 1802 in Österreichischer Taschenkalender, an almanac published by her brother-in-law Anton Pichler.

1 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "die Menschen"
2 Schubert (D. 713): "Halb verjährte"
3 Schubert (D. 713): "harte"
4 Schubert: "jede, jede"
5 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "auf Erden"
6 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "Des schönsten Glückes höchstes"
7 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "trostlos"
8 Schubert (D. 713): "nieder, / Aus deinen Himmeln nieder"; Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "nieder, / Aus deinem Himmel"
9 Schubert (D. 713): "Dein allzu schönes"
10 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "all die"
11 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "Mich hält"
12 Schubert omitted the final 6 lines in his setting D. 713
13 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "wüsten Lande"
14 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "öden"
15 Schubert ("Die Nacht"): "einen Strahl seh' ich von ferne"

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De ongelukkige", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le malheureux", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2018-03-23 04:27:11
Line count: 32
Word count: 218

Night falls; with gentle breezes it...
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Night falls; with gentle breezes it settles
Down over the tired mortals.
Soft sleep, death's brother, beckons
And in a friendly way lays them down in their daily graves.
Now the only things that are awake on the surface of the earth (robbed of its light)
Are perhaps malice and pain;
And now, since I cannot be disturbed by anything,
Let your wounds bleed, poor heart!

Sink down into the depths of your distress,
And if perhaps in your shredded breast
There are long-repressed, half-forgotten sorrows asleep there,
Then wake them up with cruel, sweet delight!
Take into consideration all the lost blessings,
Count all the flowers in paradise,
Which, in the golden times of your youth,
The strong hand of fate plucked from you!

You have loved, you have experienced a happiness
Before which every earthly delight fades into insignificance,
You found a heart that understood you,
Your boldest hopes reached their beautiful destination.
But then a terrifying decree struck you down
And you fell from your celestial heights and your silent happiness,
The all too beautiful vision returned
To the better world from which it had come.

All of the sweet ties have now been torn apart;
No heart beats for me any longer in the whole world!
What is there in this shadowy land that can
Continue to hold me in this dead solitude?
There is just a single ray of light that I can see shining in the distance;
My sacred duty appears in the divine glow:
And if the strength of my exhausted spirit fades
Then the courage that she poured into me should not do so.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Der Unglückliche" = "The unhappy person"
"Die Nacht" = "Night"


Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2019 by Malcolm Wren, (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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Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2019-04-30 00:00:00
Last modified: 2019-04-30 18:09:29
Line count: 32
Word count: 272