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Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt? (1896) no.32

Part of a series or song cycle:

Italienisches Liederbuch

Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt?

Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt?
Ich bin mir keiner Sünde ja bewusst.
Ach, lieber nimm ein Messer wohlgespitzt
Und tritt zu mir, durchbohre mir die Brust.
Und taugt ein Messer nicht, so nimm ein Schwert,
Dass meines Blutes Quell gen Himmel fährt.
Und taugt ein Schwert nicht, nimm des Dolches Stahl
Und wasch’ in meinem Blut all meine Qual.

Why this anger, my love, that inflames you so?

Why this anger, my love, that inflames you so?
For I am not conscious of any wrong-doing.
Ah, I’d rather you take a well-sharpened knife
And come to me and pierce my breast.
And if a knife won’t do, then take a sword
And let my blood stream up to the sky.
And if a sword won’t do, a steel dagger
And wash away all my torment in my blood.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)


Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf was an Austrian composer of Slovene origin. He is particularly known for his art song, or Lieder. His Lieder display a concentrated expressive intensity unique to Wolf. 

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Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse was a distinguished German writer and translator. A member of two important literary societies, the Tunnel über der Spree in Berlin and Die Krokodile in Munich, he wrote novels, poetry, 177 short stories, and about sixty dramas. The sum of Heyse's many and varied productions made him a dominant figure among German men of letters. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910 "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories." Wirsen, one of the Nobel judges, said that "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe." Heyse is the fifth oldest laureate in literature, after Doris Lessing, Theodor Mommsen, Alice Munro and Jaroslav Seifert.

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