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Schmerzliche Wonnen und wonnige Schmerzen (1890) no.28

Part of a series or song cycle:

Spanisches Liederbuch: Weltliche Lieder

Schmerzliche Wonnen und wonnige Schmerzen

Schmerzliche Wonnen und wonnige Schmerzen,
Wasser im Auge und Feuer im Herzen,
Stolz auf den Lippen und Seufzer im Sinne,
Honig und Galle zugleich ist die Minne.
Oft, wenn ein Seelchen vom Leibe geschieden,
Möcht’ es Sankt Michael tragen zum Frieden;
Aber der Dämon auch möcht’ es verschlingen;
Keiner will weichen, da geht es ans Ringen.
Seelchen, gequältes, in ängstlichem Wogen
Fühlst du dich hierhin und dorthin gezogen,
Aufwärts und abwärts. In solches Getriebe
Stürzt zwischen Himmel und Höll’ uns die Liebe.
Mütterchen, ach, und mit siebenzehn Jahren
Hab’ ich dies Hangen und Bangen erfahren,
Hab’s dann verschworen mit Tränen der Reue;
Ach, und schon lieb’ ich, schon lieb’ ich auf’s neue!

Painful bliss and blissful pain

Painful bliss and blissful pain,
Tears in the eyes, and fire in the heart,
Pride on the lips and sighs in the mind,
Love is a mixture of honey and gall.
Often, when a soul has departed the body,
St Michael would like to bear it to rest;
But the devil too would like to devour it;
Neither will yield, so a tussle ensues.
Tormented soul, you feel yourself
Tugged back and forth, up and down
In anguished distress. Such is the commotion
Love hurls us into between heaven and hell.
Ah, mother, I at seventeen
Have already felt this great anxiety,
And then forswore it with tears of remorse;
And ah, already I’m in love, in love again!
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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Emanuel von Geibel , German poet and playwright.
He was born at Lübeck, the son of a pastor. He was originally intended for his father's profession and studied at Bonn and Berlin, but his real interests lay not in theology but in classical and romance philology. In 1838 he accepted a tutorship at Athens, where he remained until 1840. In the same year he published, in conjunction with his friend Ernst Curtius, a volume of translations from Greek. His first poems were published in a volume entitled Zeitstimmen in 1841. In 1842 he entered the service of Frederick William IV, the king of Prussia, with an annual stipend of 300 thalers; under whom he produced König Roderich (1843), a tragedy, König Sigurds Brautfahrt (1846), an epic, and Juniuslieder (1848), lyrics in a more spirited and manlier style than his early poems.

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