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Die Fensterscheibe (1851) Op. 107 no.2

Part of a series or song cycle:

Sechs Gesänge (Op. 107)

Die Fensterscheibe

Die Fenster klär’ ich zum Feiertag,
Dass sich die Sonn’ drin spiegeln mag,
Und klär’ und denke gar mancherlei.
Da geht er stolz vorbei!
So sehr muss ich da erschrocken sein,
Dass ich gleich brach in die Scheiben hinein,
Und gleich auch kam das Blut gerannt
Rot über meine Hand.
Und mag sie auch bluten, meine Hand,
Und mag mich auch schmerzen der böse Brand,
Hast einen Blick doch herauf geschickt,
Als laut das Glas geknickt.
Und in die Augen dir hab’ ich gesehn;
Ach Gott, wie lang ist es nicht geschehn!
Hast mich ja nicht einmal angeblickt,
Als leis mein Herz geknickt!

The window-pane

As I was cleaning the windows for the festival,
So that they would catch the sunlight,
Polishing and thinking of many things,
He went by, head in air.
And I was so taken aback
That I smashed the pane,
And the blood ran out
Red over my hand.
And though my hand may bleed
And hurt badly,
Yet you did look up at me—
When you heard the glass breaking.
And I looked into your eyes,
For the first time for many a long day.
But when my heart broke you never gave me
So much as a glance; it broke in silence.
Translation by Eric Sams

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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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Titus Ullrich was a German poet, dramatist, art critic and literary critic from the County of Kladsko. Some of his songs were set by Robert Schumann.

The son of a farmer and grandson of the Mayor of Habelschwerdt (now Bystrzyca Kłodzka), he was born in the Hallmannschen Haus, Ring no. 7, where his mother had taken refuge during the disorder of the war. Raised by his grandfather, he entered the Glatzer Gymnasium in 1825, and proceeded in 1832 to Breslau to study philosophy and classics, continuing his studies in Berlin one year later. He earnt his doctorate in 1836.

The death of his father thwarted his plan of a habilitation, and he took employment as a private tutor in Berlin. His first works, Das Hohe Lied and Viktor, were published in 1845 and 1847 and attracted a cult following. These ambitious philosophical epics championed the ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach. In 1848 he improved his financial position by taking a job as a columnist at the National-Zeitung, where he remained until 1860. He was one of the founders of the Rütli literary group. In 1854 he travelled to Italy, and in 1857 he was able to visit the major art exhibition in Manchester, taking the opportunity to explore England and Scotland, and, on the way home, Belgium and Paris. His observations were published in the National-Zeitung and were collected after his death as Reisestudien (1893).

Towards the end of 1860 he was appointed privy secretary in the offices of the General Intendant of the Royal Theatre. He was later promoted to Privy Counsellor to the King, and then commissary. He continued to publish poetry but later regretted that he had not devoted more effort to his creative writing. His marriage to Emilie Ribbeck was happy and his life generally uneventful. He went into retirement in 1887, and died in Berlin in 1891.

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