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Songs

Gretchens Bitte (1835)

Gretchens Bitte

Ach neige,
Du Schmerzenreiche,
Dein Antlitz gnädig meiner Not!
Das Schwert im Herzen,
Mit tausend Schmerzen
Blickst auf zu deines Sohnes Tod.
Zum Vater blickst du,
Und Seufzer schickst du
Hinauf um sein’ und deine Not.
Wer fühlet,
Wie wühlet
Der Schmerz mir im Gebein?
Was mein armes Herz hier banget,
Was es zittert, was verlanget,
Weißt nur du, nur du allein!
Wohin ich immer gehe,
Wie weh, wie weh, wie wehe
Wird mir im Busen hier!
Ich bin ach kaum alleine,
Ich wein’, ich wein’, ich weine,
Das Herz zerbricht in mir.

Gretchen's Prayer

Ah, incline your countenance,
You who are full of sorrow,
To my distress!
With the sword in your heart,
And a thousand griefs,
You look up at your dying son.
You gaze up to the Father
And utter sighs
For His affliction and your own.
Who can feel
How the pain
Churns in my bones?
What my poor heart dreads,
Why it quakes, what it craves,
Only you, only you can know!
Wherever I go,
How it throbs, it throbs, it throbs
Here in my breast!
Alas, as soon as I’m alone,
I weep, I weep, I weep,
My heart breaks.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe (G30 November 1796 – 20 April 1869),was a German composer, tenor singer and conductor. He wrote over 400 ballads and songs.

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Poet

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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