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Am Feierabend (1823)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Die schöne Müllerin (D795 (Op. 25))


Am Feierabend

Hätt’ ich tausend 
Arme zu rühren! 
Könnt’ ich brausend 
Die Räder führen! 
Könnt’ ich wehen 
Durch alle Haine! 
Könnt’ ich drehen 
Alle Steine!
Dass die schöne Müllerin 
Merkte meinen treuen Sinn!
Ach, wie ist mein Arm so schwach! 
Was ich hebe, was ich trage,
Was ich schneide, was ich schlage, 
Jeder Knappe tut mir’s nach.
Und da sitz’ ich in der grossen Runde, 
In der stillen kühlen Feierstunde, 
Und der Meister sagt zu Allen:
„Euer Werk hat mir gefallen;“
Und das liebe Mädchen sagt 
Allen eine gute Nacht.

After Work

If only I had a thousand 
arms to wield!
If only I could drive
the rushing wheels!
If only I could blow like the wind 
through every wood,
and turn
every millstone,
so that the fair maid of the mill 
would see my true love.
Ah, how weak my arm is!
What I lift and carry,
what I cut and hammer –
any apprentice could do the same. 
And there I sit with them, in a circle, 
in the quiet, cool hour after work, 
and the master says to us all:
‘I am pleased with your work.’ 
And the sweet maid
bids us all goodnight.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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Composer

Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

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Poet

Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was a German lyric poet.
Wilhelm Müller was born on October 7, 1794 at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the University of Berlin, where he devoted himself to philological and historical studies. In 1813-1814 he took part, as a volunteer in the Prussian army, in the national rising against Napoleon. He participated in the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Hanau and Kulm. In 1814 he returned to his studies at Berlin. From 1817 to 1819, he visited southern Germany and Italy, and in 1820 published his impressions of the latter in Rom, Römer und Römerinnen. In 1819, he was appointed teacher of classics in the Gelehrtenschule at Dessau, and in 1820 librarian to the ducal library. He remained there the rest of his life, dying of a heart attack aged only 32.

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