Poetry: Wilhelm Müller
Music: Franz Schubert
English Translation: Kurt Michaelis
1. Good Night
As a stranger I come here,
As a stranger I move on,
The month of May was good to me
With many a bunch of flowers.
The girl spoke of love,
The Mother even of marriage –
Now the world is gloomy,
The path is covered with snow.
For my journey I cannot
Choose the time,
I must find the way myself
In this darkness.
A shadow cast by the moon
Is my companion,
And on the white fields
I search for the tracks of the deer.
Why should I stay longer,
Until I am driven away?
Let stray dogs howl
Around the master’s house;
Love loves to wander –
God has made it so –
From the one to the other –
Dear sweetheart, good night!
I do not wan to disturb your dreams,
It would upset your rest,
You must not hear my footsteps –
Quiet, quietly close the door!
As I am passing by I will write
On the gate for you: “Good Night,”
So that you can see
That I have thought of you.
2. The Weather Vane
The wind plays with the vane
On my dear sweetheart’s house.
This made me right away imagine
It was whistling the poor fugitive away.
He already should have noticed
The sign attached to the house,
Then he never would have looked
For a faithful woman in this house.
The wind plays inside with the hearts
As on the roof, just not as loudly.
Who cares about my sorrows?
Their child is a rich bride.
3. Frozen Tears
Frozen drops are falling from my cheeks:
Did I fail to notice that I was weeping?
O, tears, my tears, were you so lukewarm
That you turned to ice like cool morning dew?
Yet you escape from deep in the breast so piping hot,
As if you wanted to melt the ice of the entire winter.
I am looking in vain in the snow
For the footprints she left behind,
When holding on to my arm
She roamed through the green meadow.
I want to kiss the ground,
Penetrate ice and snow
With my hot tears,
Until I see the soil beneath.
Where can I find a blossom,
Where see some green grass?
The flowers are dead,
The Grass looks so pale.
Is there no memory
Which I can take from here?
When my sorrow is silent,
Who will talk to me of her?
My heart feels dead,
Her picture stares coldly at me from within;
If ever my heart melts again,
Her picture also will flow away.
5. The Linden Tree
By the fountain at the gate
There stands a linden tree;
In its shadow I have dreamed
Many a sweet dream.
I have carved on its bark
Many a dear word.
In joy and sorrow I was drawn
To it again and again.
Today during a nightly journey
I had to pass it again,
And even in the darkness
I had to close my eyes.
The cold wind blew
Straight in my face,
My hat flew from my head,
I did not turn around.
Now I am many hours
Away from that spot,
And still I hear the rustling:
“You would have found rest there.”
Many tears from my eyes
Have fallen into the snow:
Its cold flakes thirstily soak up the hot pain.
When the grass begins to grow,
As soft breeze blows along:
And the ice cracks into lumps,
And the soft snow melts away.
Snow, you know of my longing,
Tell me, whither do you flow?
Just follow my tears,
And the little brook will carry you away.
You will run through the town,
In and out of cheerful streets;
When you feel my tears burning,
You will have reached my sweetheart’s house.
7. On the River
You used to rush along so merrily,
You clear, wild river,
How quiet have you become,
You give me no greeting, as we part.
You have covered yourself with a hard, stiff crust.
You life cold and motionless
Stretched out in the sand.
Into your crust I cave
With a sharp stone
The name of my sweetheart
And the hour and the day:
The day of the first meeting,
The day when I went away:
Around the name and numbers winds itself
A broken ring.
My heart, in the brook
Do you recognize your likeness?
Whether under its crust
There is a raging surge?
It is burning hot under my feet,
Even through I am steeping on ice and snow,
I do not want to take a breath,
Until I do not see the towers anymore.
I have bumped into every stone,
While rushing away from the town,
The crows threw snowballs and hailstones
On my hat from every house.
How differently did you receive me,
You town of inconstancy!
On your bright windows vied singing
The lark and the nightingale!
The round linden tress were blooming,
The clear brooks rushed by brightly,
The two maiden’s eyes were glowing!
Then your peace of mind was gone,
Whenever I think of that day,
I want to look back once more,
I wan to stumble back
And stand silently in front of her house.
Into the deepest rock crevices
A will-o’-the-wisp lured me.
How to find a way out
Does not worry me much.
I am used to getting lost,
Every path leads to its destination;
Our joys, our sorrows,
Everything is a tick of a will-o’-the-wisp!
Through the dry channel of the mountain stream
I turn my steps calmly down –
Every stream will end in the ocean,
Every sorrow will find its grave.
Now I notice for the first time how tired I am,
As I lie down to rest;
Wandering kept me alert
On desolate roads.
The feet did not ask to rest,
It was too cold for standing still;
The back felt no burden,
The storm help to blow me along.
In the tight home of a charcoal burner
I found shelter;
But my limbs did not find rest,
So badly are their wounds burning.
You, too, my heart, in battle and storm,
So wild and so reckless,
In the quietness you feel the dragon
Move inside you with hot thrusts!
11. Dream of Spring
I dreamed of many-colored flowers,
Just as they blossom forth in May;
I dreamed of green meadows,
Of merrily singing birds.
And when the cocks were crowing,
My eyes opened up;
It was cold and dark,
And the ravens were screeching from the roof.
But on the window panes
Who had been painting the leaves?
You may be laughing about the dreamer
Who saw flowers in winter.
I dreamed of love and loving,
Of a fair maid,
Of hearts and of kisses,
Of bliss and happiness.
And when the cocks were crowing,
My heart woke up;
Now I sit here by myself
And think about my dream.
The eyes are closing again,
My heart still beats quite warmly.
When will the leave on the window get green?
When will I hold my sweetheart in my arms?
Just as a dark cloud passes through the bright air,
While a gentle breeze blows through the top of the fir tree;
So I walk along with sluggist steps
Through the bright, happy bustle, lonely and without greetings.
Ah, that the air is so calm, ah, the world so bright!
When the tempests were raging, I was not so miserable.
13. The Post
From the street a post horn is heard,
What happens that makes you leap so high, my hearts?
The post brings no letter for you,
What is it that makes you thrust so strangely,
Would you like to look over there
And ask how everything is doing,
14. The Hoary Head
The frost has scattered a white coat
Over my hair,
It made me think myself a graybeard already,
And that delighted me very much.
But soon it melted away,
And now my hair is black again,
So that I shudder at my youth –
How far still to the bier!
Between dusk and dawn
Many heads turned hoary.
Who believes it? My own has not done so
During this entire journey!
15. The Crow
A crow followed me
From the town,
He has flown around
My head all day.
Crow, you strange creature,
Do you not want to leave me?
Do you expect to find some prey,
To grab here soon my body?
O well, there is not far to go
With my staff on this journey.
Crow, let me at last see
Loyalty to the grave!
16. Last Hope
Here an there on the trees
Some colored leaves can be seen.
And I often stand still
Thinking in front of them.
I look at one of the leaves,
Attach my hopes to it;
If the wind plays with my leaf,
I tremble as much as I can.
As, and if the leaf falls to the ground,
My hope leaves me, too.
I myself also fall to the ground,
And weep at the grave of my hope.
17. In the Village
The dogs are barkings, the chains are rattling,
Everybody is asleep in their beds,
They dream of things they do not have,
Refresh themselves with good and bad things;
And in the morning everything is vanished –
O well, they have enjoyed their share,
And hope, whatever is left over,
To find it again on their pillow.
Just go on barking, you watchful dogs,
Do not let me rest during the hour of slumber!
I am finished with all my dreaming –
Why should I tarry among the sleepers?
18. The Stormy Morning
How the storm has torn apart
The gray coat of the sky!
The bits of cloud flutter
Around with feeble effort.
And red blazing fire
Drifts across between them:
That is what I call a morning
Exactly to my taste!
My heart sees in the sky
Its own painted picture –
There I nothing but winter,
Winter cold and wild!
A friendly light dances ahead of me,
I am following it hither and thither.
I gladly follow it and notice
That it lures the wanderer on.
Ah, anybody as wretched as I am,
Gives gladly in to the lively delusion.,
Which, beyond ice and darkness and horror,
Shows him a bright, warm house.
And a dear soul lives there –
Deception is for me a gain!
20. The Signpost
How do I avoid the trails
Where other wanderers are found,
Seek for myself hidden paths
Through snow-covered rocky heights?
I have done nothing wrong really
So that I should avoid other humans –
What silly desire
Drives me to seek deserted places?
Signposts stand on the roads,
Pointing in the direction of the towns.
And I continue to wander,
Not resting and in searching of rest.
I see a signpost standing
Not moving in front of me;
It is a road I must take
On which no one has ever returned.
21. The Inn
My journey brought me to a graveyard.
I thought to myself: here I want to stay.
Your green funeral wreaths can well be the signs
That lure the tired journeyman into the cool inn.
But are all the chambers taken in the house?
I am tired enough to drop down, am deadly sick.
O merciless landlord, you still send me away?
So let me continue, continue, my faithful walkingstick.
When the snow blows in my face,
I shake it off.
When the my heart speaks in my bosom,
I sing clearly and cheerfully.
I do not hear what I tells me,
I have no hears,
I do not feel what it complains about,
Complaining is for fools.
Join in the world with joy
Against wind and bad weather!
If there is no God on earth,
Then we ourselves are gods.
23. The Mock Suns
I saw three suns in the sky,
Have looked at them for a long time,
And they stand there without moving,
As if they did not want to get away from me.
But you are not my suns at all!
Stare into the face of others;
Until recently I must have had three:
Now the best two have gone down.
If only the third one would follow them!
I am going to feel better in the dark.
24. The Organ Grinder
Over there, beyond the village, an organ grinder stands
And grinds whatever he can with stiff fingers.
He staggers barefoot from one side to the other,
And his small plate always stays empty.
No one wants to listen to him, no one take a look at him.
And the dogs snarl all around the old man.
And he lets everything happen, as it will.
He goes on grinding, and his organ never stops.
Strange old man, should I not go with you?
Will you grind your organ to my songs?