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Singet nicht in Trauertönen (1849) Op. 98a no.7

Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder und Gesänge aus Wilhelm Meister (Op. 98a)

Singet nicht in Trauertönen

Singet nicht in Trauertönen
Von der Einsamkeit der Nacht;
Nein, sie ist, o holde Schönen,
Zur Geselligkeit gemacht.
Könnt ihr euch des Tages freuen,
Der nur Freuden unterbricht?
Er ist gut, sich zu zerstreuen;
Zu was anderm taugt er nicht.
Aber wenn in nächt’ger Stunde
Süsser Lampe Dämmrung fliesst
Und vom Mund zum nahen Munde
Scherz und Liebe sich ergiesst,
Wenn der rasche, lose Knabe,
Der sonst wild und feurig eilt,
Oft bei einer kleinen Gabe
Unter leichten Spielen weilt,
Wenn die Nachtigall Verliebten
Liebevoll ein Liedchen singt,
Das Gefangnen und Betrübten
Nur wie Ach und Wehe klingt:
Mit wie leichtem Herzensregen
Horchet ihr der Glocke nicht,
Die mit zwölf bedächtgen Schlägen
Ruh und Sicherheit verspricht.
Darum an dem langen Tage
Merke dir es, liebe Brust:
Jeder Tag hat seine Plage,
Und die Nacht hat ihre Lust.

Do not sing in mournful tones

Do not sing in mournful tones
Of the solitude of night;
No, fair ladies, night is made
For conviviality.
Can you take delight in day,
Which only curtails pleasure?
It may serve as a distraction;
But is good for nothing else.
But when in hours of darkness
The sweet lamp’s twilight flows,
And love as well as laughter
Streams from almost touching lips,
When impulsive, roguish Cupid,
Used to wild and fiery haste,
In return for some small gift,
Often lingers, dallying,
When, full of love, the nightingale
Sings a little song for lovers,
Which to the imprisoned and sad
Seems only to tell of grief and pain:
With what lightly pounding heart
Do you then listen to the bell,
That with twelve solemn strokes
Pledges security and rest!
And so remember this, dear heart,
Throughout the livelong day:
Every day has its troubles,
And every night its joys.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as KinderszenenAlbum für die JugendBlumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.

Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.

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Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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