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Warnung (1851) Op. 119 no.2

Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Gedichte (Op. 119)


Es geht der Tag zur Neige,
Der Licht und Freiheit bot,
O schweige, Vöglein, schweige,
Du singst dich in den Tod.
Die Winde nächtlich rauschen,
Die Blätter zittern bang,
Den Feinden, die drin lauschen,
Verrät dich dein Gesang.
Glutäugig durchs Gezweige
Der finstre Schuhu droht:
O schweige, Vöglein, schweige,
Du singst dich in den Tod!


The day is declining
That offered light and freedom;
Be silent, little bird,
You are singing yourself into death.
The night winds stir,
The leaves tremble in fear;
Your song betrays you
To your enemies that listen therein.
The burning eyes of the screech-owl
Glower their menace through the branches;
Be silent, little bird,
You are singing yourself into death.
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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August Konrad Gustav Pfarrius (31 December 1800 – 15 August 1884) was a German poet and teacher, celebrated as the „Sänger des Nahetals“ after his homeland on the left bank of the Rhine.

Born in Hedessheim near Bad Kreuznach, he interrupted theological studies in Halle and moved to Bonn to take up Latin, French and history with Ernst Moritz Arndt, becoming acquainted with Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Karl Simrock and Heinrich Heine. Appointments to teaching positions took him to Saarbrücken (1823) and Köln (1834): in 1858 he built a villa, Haus Herresberg, near Remagen.

He is remembered in the English-speaking world for three songs set by Robert Schumann as Opus 119.

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