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Wie schnell verschwindet (1861) Op. 33

Part of a series or song cycle:

Die schöne Magelone (Op. 33 )

Wie schnell verschwindet

Wie schnell verschwindet
So Licht als Glanz,
Der Morgen findet
Verwelkt den Kranz,
Der gestern glühte
In aller Pracht,
Denn er verblühte
In dunkler Nacht.
Es schwimmt die Welle
Des Lebens hin,
Und färbt sich helle,
Hat’s nicht Gewinn;
Die Sonne neiget,
Die Röte flieht,
Der Schatten steiget
Und Dunkel zieht:
So schwimmt die Liebe
Zu Wüsten ab,
Ach, daß sie bliebe
Bis an das Grab!
Doch wir erwachen
Zu tiefer Qual:
Es bricht der Nachen,
Es löscht der Strahl,
Vom schönen Lande
Weit weggebracht
Zum öden Strande
Wo um uns Nacht.

How soon they vanish

How soon they vanish,
Radiance and light,
Morning finds
The garland withered
That yesterday glowed
In such splendour,
For its flowers faded
In dark night.
The wave of life
Rolls onwards,
Though bright its hue,
It profits nothing.
The sun sets,
The red glow departs,
The shadows rise
And darkness draws on:
So love drifts away
Into deserts,
Ah! would it endure
Until the grave!
But we awake
To deep torment:
The boat is wrecked,
The light extinguished,
We are borne far away
From our beautiful land
To a desolate shore,
Surrounded by night.
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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