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Und kehrt er einst heim (1913)

Part of a series or song cycle:

6 Gesänge nach Gedichten von Maurice Maeterlinck (Op 13 )

Und kehrt er einst heim

Und kehrt er einst heim,
Was sag ich ihm dann?
Sag, ich hätte geharrt,
Bis das Leben verrann.
Wenn er weiter fragt,
Und erkennt mich nicht gleich?
Sprich als Schwester zu ihm;
Er leidet vielleicht.
Wenn er fragt, wo du seist,
Was geb ich ihm an?
Mein’ Goldring gib,
Und sieh ihn stumm an...
Will er wissen,
Warum so verlassen das Haus?
Zeig die offne Tür,
Sag, das Licht ging aus.
Wenn er weiter fragt,
Nach der letzten Stund’...
Sag, aus Furcht, dass er weint,
Lächelte mein Mund.

And if he returns one day

And if he returns one day,
What shall I tell him?
Tell him: I waited,
Till my life was spent.
If he asks more questions,
And fails at first to recognize me?
Talk to him as a sister;
Perhaps he’ll be suffering...
If he asks where you are,
What answer shall I give?
Give him my golden ring,
And look at him in silence...
If he wants to know why,
The house is so deserted?
Show him the open door,
Say the light went out.
If he asks more questions,
About the final hour?
Say, lest he weep,
That I smiled.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.

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Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911 "in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers' own feelings and stimulate their imaginations". The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.

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