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Songs

Songs

Schlafen, Schlafen [Dem Schmerz sein Recht] (1910)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Vier Gesänge (Op. 2)


Schlafen, Schlafen [Dem Schmerz sein Recht]

Schlafen, Schlafen, nichts als Schlafen!
Kein Erwachen, keinen Traum!
Jener Wehen, die mich trafen,
Leisestes Erinnern kaum.
Daß ich, wenn des Lebens Fülle
Niederklingt in meine Ruh',
Nur noch tiefer mich verhülle,
Fester zu die Augen tu'!

Sleep, sleep

Sleep, sleep, nothing but sleep!
No awakening, no dream!
Of the pains I had to bear
Scarce the faintest memory -
So that when life's plenitude
Echoes down to where I rest,
I enshroud myself more deeply still,
Press my eyes more tightly shut!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer of the Second Viennese School. His circle included the musicians Alexander von Zemlinsky and Franz Schreker, the painter Gustav Klimt, the writer and satirist Karl Kraus, the architect Adolf Loos, and the poet Peter Altenberg. 

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Poet

Christian Friedrich Hebbel, was a German poet and dramatist.

Hebbel was born at Wesselburen in Ditmarschen, Holstein, the son of a bricklayer. He was educated at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums. Despite his humble origins, he showed a talent for poetry, resulting in the publication, in the Hamburg Modezeitung, of verses which he had sent to Amalie Schoppe (1791–1858), a popular journalist and author of nursery tales. Through her patronage, he was able to go to the University of Hamburg.

A year later he went to Heidelberg to study law, but gave it up and went on to the University of Munich, where he devoted himself to philosophy, history and literature. In 1839 Hebbel left Munich and walked all the way back to Hamburg, where he resumed his friendship with Elise Lensing, whose self-sacrificing assistance had helped him over the darkest days in Munich. In the same year he wrote his first tragedy, Judith (1840, published 1841), which in the following year was performed in Hamburg and Berlin and made his name known throughout Germany.

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