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Wie soll ich die Freude (1861) Op. 33

Part of a series or song cycle:

Die schöne Magelone (Op. 33 )

Wie soll ich die Freude

Wie soll ich die Freude,
Die Wonne denn tragen?
Daß unter dem Schlagen
Des Herzens die Seele nicht scheide?
Und wenn nun die Stunden
Der Liebe verschwunden,
Wozu das Gelüste,
In trauriger Wüste
Noch weiter ein lustleeres Leben zu ziehn,
Wenn nirgend dem Ufer mehr Blumen erblühn?
Wie geht mit bleibehangnen Füßen
Die Zeit bedächtig Schritt vor Schritt!
Und wenn ich werde scheiden müssen,
Wie federleicht fliegt dann ihr Tritt!
Schlage, sehnsüchtige Gewalt,
In tiefer treuer Brust!
Wie Lautenton vorüberhallt,
Entflieht des Lebens schönste Lust.
Ach, wie bald
Bin ich der Wonne mir kaum noch bewußt.
Rausche, rausche weiter fort,
Tiefer Strom der Zeit,
Wandelst bald aus Morgen Heut,
Gehst von Ort zu Ort;
Hast du mich bisher getragen,
Lustig bald, dann still,
Will es nun auch weiter wagen,
Wie es werden will.
Darf mich doch nicht elend achten,
Da die Einzge winkt,
Liebe läßt mich nicht verschmachten,
Bis dies Leben sinkt!
Nein, der Strom wird immer breiter,
Himmel bleibt mir immer heiter,
Fröhlichen Ruderschlags fahr ich hinab,
Bring Liebe und Leben zugleich an das Grab.

How then shall I bear the joy

How then shall I bear the joy
And how the bliss?
So that, beneath the pulsing
Of my heart, my soul will not escape?
And should the hours
Of love now vanish,
Why crave
In a dreary desert
To prolong a life devoid of pleasure,
When flowers no longer bloom on the shore?
How time passes on leaden feet,
Step by deliberate step!
And when I must leave,
How feather-light its tread then flits!
Beat, O powerful longing,
Deep in my faithful heart!
Like the lute’s dying strains,
The sweetest pleasures of life fade.
Ah, how soon
Till I’m scarcely aware of such bliss.
Flow onward, ever onward,
Deep river of time,
You soon turn tomorrow into today,
You move from place to place;
Since you have carried me thus far,
Now cheerful, now silent,
I shall venture further,
Come what may.
For I must not count myself wretched,
Since my beloved beckons me,
Love shall never let me languish,
Until this life is done!
No, the river grows ever broader,
The sky for me stays ever clear,
With happy strokes I row on down,
Bring love and life together to the grave.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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Johann Ludwig Tieck (31 May 1773 – 28 April 1853) was a German poet, fiction writer, translator, and critic. He was one of the founding fathers of the Romantic movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

You can read more about him here.

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