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Pause (1823)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Die schöne Müllerin (D795 (Op. 25))


Meine Laute hab’ ich gehängt an die Wand, 
Hab’ sie umschlungen mit einem grünen Band –
Ich kann nicht mehr singen, mein Herz ist zu voll, 
Weiss nicht, wie ich’s in Reime zwingen soll. 
Meiner Sehnsucht allerheissesten Schmerz 
Durft’ ich aushauchen in Liederscherz,
Und wie ich klagte so süss und fein,
Glaubt’ ich doch, mein Leiden wär’ nicht klein. 
Ei, wie gross ist wohl meines Glückes Last, 
Dass kein Klang auf Erden es in sich fasst?
Nun, liebe Laute, ruh’ an dem Nagel hier!
Und weht ein Lüftchen über die Saiten dir,
Und streift eine Biene mit ihren Flügeln dich, 
Da wird mir so bange und es durchschauert mich. 
Warum liess ich das Band auch hängen so lang’? 
Oft fliegt’s um die Saiten mit seufzendem Klang. 
Ist es der Nachklang meiner Liebespein?
Soll es das Vorspiel neuer Lieder sein?


I have hung my lute on the wall,
and tied a green ribbon around it.
I can sing no more, my heart is too full;
I do not know how to force it into rhyme. 
The most ardent pangs of my longing
I could express in playful song,
and as I lamented, so sweetly and tenderly, 
I believed my sorrows were not trifling.
Ah, how great can my burden of joy be
that no song on earth will contain it?
Rest now, dear lute, here on this nail,
and if a breath of air wafts over your strings,
or a bee touches you with its wings,
I shall feel afraid, and shudder.
Why have I let this ribbon hang down so far?
Often it flutters across the strings with a sighing sound. 
Is this the echo of my love’s sorrow,
or could it be the prelude to new songs?
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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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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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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