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Stiller Vorwurf (1850) Op. 77 no.4

Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder und Gesänge, iii (Op. 77)

Stiller Vorwurf

In einsamen Stunden drängt Wehmut sich auf,
Da brechen die Wunden, die alten, mir auf.
O lass sie nur bluten, sie schmerzen nicht sehr;
Als du sie geschlagen, da schmerzten sie mehr!
Ob du es bereuest, was du mir getan,
Mit andern dich freuest, was geht es mich an?
Was auch du beginnest, vorbei ist die Pein,
Ich kann dir nicht zürnen, kann dir nur verzeihn.

Silent reproach

In lonely hours melancholy wells up,
My old wounds open once more.
Oh let them bleed, they are not so painful;
When you inflicted them, they hurt far more!
Whether you regret what you did to me,
Or are happy with others—what is that to me?
Whatever you are doing, the pain is past:
I cannot chide you, I can only forgive.
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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