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O wüßt ich doch den Weg zurück (1873) Op. 63 no.8

O wüßt ich doch den Weg zurück

O wüßt ich doch den Weg zurück,
Den lieben Weg zum Kinderland!
O warum sucht ich nach dem Glück
Und ließ der Mutter Hand?
O wie mich sehnet auszuruhn,
Von keinem Streben aufgeweckt,
Die müden Augen zuzutun,
Von Liebe sanft bedeckt!
Und nichts zu forschen, nichts zu spähn,
Und nur zu träumen leicht und lind,
Der Zeiten Wandel nicht zu sehn,
Zum zweiten Mal ein Kind!
O zeig mir doch den Weg zurück,
Den lieben Weg zum Kinderland!
Vergebens such ich nach dem Glück –
Ringsum ist öder Strand!

Ah! If I but knew the way back

Ah! if I but knew the way back,
The sweet way back to childhood’s land!
Ah! why did I seek my fortune
And let go my mother’s hand?
Ah! how I long for utter rest,
Immune from any striving,
Long to close my weary eyes,
Gently shrouded by love!
And search for nothing, watch for nothing,
Dream only light and gentle dreams,
Not to see the times change,
To be a child a second time!
Ah! show me that way back,
The sweet way back to childhoods’ land!
I seek happiness in vain –
Ringed round by barren shores!
Translations by 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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