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Die Unterscheidung (1828) D866

Part of a series or song cycle:

Vier Refrainlieder (D866)

Die Unterscheidung

Die Mutter hat mich jüngst gescholten
Und vor der Liebe streng gewarnt.
„Noch jede,“ sprach sie, „hat’s entgolten:
Verloren ist, wen sie umgarnt.“
D’rum ist es besser, wie ich meine,
Wenn keins von uns davon mehr spricht:
Ich bin zwar immer noch die Deine –
Doch lieben, Hans! kann ich dich nicht.
Bei jedem Feste, das wir haben
Soll’s meine grösste Wonne sein,
Flicht deine Hand des Frühlings Gaben
Zum Schmucke mir in’s Mieder ein.
Beginnt der Tanz, dann ist, wie billig,
Ein Tanz mit Gretchen deine Pflicht;
Selbst eifersüchtig werden will ich –
Doch lieben, Hans! kann ich dich nicht.
Und sinkt der Abend kühl hernieder
Und ruh’n wir dann recht mild bewegt,
Halt’ immer mir die Hand an’s Mieder,
Und fühle, wie mein Herzchen schlägt!
Und willst du mich durch Küsse lehren,
Was stumm dein Auge zu mir spricht,
Selbst das will ich dir nicht verwehren –
Doch lieben, Hans! kann ich dich nicht.

The Distinction

Mother recently scolded me,
and warned me sternly against love.
‘Every woman’, she said, ‘has paid its price;
she who is ensnared by love is lost.’
And so I think it better
if neither of us speaks of it again.
I am in truth still yours for ever.
But love you, Hans – this I cannot do!
Whenever we have a holiday,
it will be my greatest joy
if your hands twine the gifts of springtime
to adorn my bodice.
When the dancing begins, then – as is only fair –
it will be your duty to dance with Gretchen;
I shall even be jealous.
But love you, Hans – this I cannot do!
And when cool evening descends
and we rest, filled with tender emotion,
keep your hand on my bodice,
and feel how my heart beats!
And if you wish to teach me with kisses
what your eyes silently tell me,
even that I shall not deny you.
But love you, Hans – this I cannot do!
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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