Friday, November 18, 2011

Brahms Texts and Translations

Sechs Quartette, op. 112, no. 1
Sehnsucht, Johannes Brahms

The waters run day and night;
your yearning awakes.

You think of times past,
now so far away.

You gaze out into the morning light
and are alone.

The waters run day and night;
your yearning awakes.

            Franz Kugler

Sechs Quartette, op. 112, no. 2
N├Ąchtens, Johannes Brahms

            At night the deranged,
            deceitful specters awake
            and perplex your mind.

            At night in the flower garden
            hoarfrost has fallen; in vain
            you would wait for the blossoms.

            At night grief and sorrow
            entrenched themselves in your heart,
            and the morning looks upon tears.

                        Franz Kugler


Drei Quartette, op. 31, no. 2
Neckereien, Johannes Brahms

            Indeed, my sweetheart, I want to court you,
            to introduce you as my dear wife at my house.
            You’ll be mine, my darling, indeed you will be mine,
            even if you don’t to be.

            Then I’ll become a little white dove;
            I already want to fly away, I want to fly into the forest.
            I don’t want to be yours, I don’t want to be your sweetheart,
            not for one hour.

            I have a good little rifle that shoots pretty easily;
            I will shoot down the little dove there in the forest.
            You’ll be mine, my darling, indeed you will be mine,
            even if you don’t want to be.

            Then I’ll become a fish, a golden fish;
            I will indeed escape into the fresh water.
            I don’t want to be yours, I don’t want to be your sweetheart,
            not for one hour.

            I have a good little net that fishes quite well;
            I’ll catch me the golden fish in the stream.
            You’ll be mine, my darling, indeed you will be mine,
            even if you don’t want to be.

            Then I’ll become a bunny, full of speed,
            and run off into the field, the wide field.
            I don’t want to be yours, I don’t want to be your sweetheart,
            not even for one hour.

            I have a good little dog, rather clever and sly,
            that will surely catch the bunny in the field.
            You’ll be mine, my darling, indeed you will be mine,
            even if you don’t want to be.

                              Moravian; Josef Wenzig, trans.

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