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Die Kartenlegerin (1840) Op. 31 no.2

Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Gesänge (Op. 31)

Die Kartenlegerin

Schlief die Mutter endlich ein
Über ihrer Hauspostille?
Nadel, liege du nun stille,
Nähen, immer nähen, nein!
Ei, was hab ich zu erwarten,
Ei, was wird das Ende sein?
Trüget mich die Ahnung nicht,
Zeigt sich einer, den ich meine,
Schön, da kommt er ja, der eine,
Coeur-Bub kannte seine Pflicht.
Eine reiche Witwe? Wehe.
Ja, er freit sie, ich vergehe,
O verruchter Bösewicht.
Herzeleid und viel Verdruss,
Eine Schul’ und enge Mauern,
Karo-König, der bedauern
Und zuletzt mich trösten muss.
Ein Geschenk auf artge Weise,
Er entführt mich, eine Reise,
Geld und Lust im Überfluss.
Dieser Karo-König da
Muss ein Fürst sein oder König
Und es fehlt daran nur wenig,
Bin ich selber Fürstin ja.
Hier ein Feind, der mir zu schaden
Sich bemüht bei seiner Gnaden,
Und ein Blonder steht mir nah.
Ein Geheimnis kommt zu Tage,
Und ich flüchte noch bei Zeiten,
Fahret wohl, ihr Herrlichkeiten,
O, das war ein harter Schlag.
Hin ist einer, eine Menge
Bilden um mich ein Gedränge,
Dass ich sie kaum zählen mag.
Kommt das dumme Fraungesicht,
Kommt die Alte da mit Keuchen,
Lieb und Lust mir zu verscheuchen,
Eh’ die Jugend mir gebricht?
Ach, die Mutter ist’s, die aufwacht,
Und den Mund zu schelten aufmacht.
Nein, die Karten lügen nicht.

The Fortune-teller

Has mother finally fallen asleep
Over her book of sermons?
You, my needle, now lie still,
Stop this constant sewing!
Oh, what things can I expect,
Oh, how will it all end?
If I am not deceived,
One, I think of, will appear,
Jolly good, here he comes,
The knave of hearts has done his duty.
A rich widow? Dear, oh dear.
Yes, he woos her, I’m undone,
Oh! the wicked scoundrel.
Heartache and much vexation,
A school with restricting walls,
But the king of diamonds will take pity
And comfort me.
A nicely delivered present,
He elopes with me, a journey
Money and happiness in abundance.
This king of diamonds
Must be a prince or king,
Which means that it won’t take much
For me to be a princess.
Here’s a foe, who strives to soil
My name before His Majesty,
And a fair-haired man is there as well.
A secret comes to light,
And I escape just in time,
Farewell, O life of splendour,
Ah, that was a cruel blow.
The one is gone, a crowd
Surges around me
That I can scarcely count them all.
What’s this? A dumb female apparition,
A wheezing old woman coming my way,
To banish love and happiness
Before my youth has gone?
Ah, it’s mother, who’s woken up,
Opening wide her mouth to scold.
No, the cards never lie.
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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Pierre-Jean de Béranger was a prolific French poet and chansonnier (songwriter), who enjoyed great popularity and influence in France during his lifetime, but faded into obscurity in the decades following his death. He has been described as "the most popular French songwriter of all time" and "the first superstar of French popular music".

De Béranger was born at his grandfather's house on the Rue Montorgueil in Paris, which he later described as "one of the dirtiest and most turbulent streets of Paris". He was not actually of noble blood, despite the use of an appended "de" in the family name by his father, who had vainly assumed the name of Béranger de Mersix. He was, in fact, descended from more humble stock, a country innkeeper on one side of the family and a tailor on the other - the latter was later celebrated in a song, "Le tailleur et la fée" (The tailor and the fairy).

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