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Mädchenfluch Op. 69 no.9


Ruft die Mutter, ruft der Tochter
Über drei Gebirge:
„Ist, o Mara, liebe Tochter,
Ist gebleicht das Linnen?“
Ihr zurück die junge Tochter
Über neun Gebirge:
„Nicht in’s Wasser, liebe Mutter,
Taucht’ ich noch das Linnen,
Denn, o sieh’, es hat das Wasser
Jawo mir getrübet.—
Wie dann erst, o liebe Mutter,
Hätt’ ich es gebleicht schon!
Fluch’ ihm, Mutter, liebe Mutter!
Ich auch will ihm fluchen.
Gäbe Gott im hellen Himmel,
Dass er sich erhänge—
An ein böses Bäumchen hänge,
An den weissen Hals mir!
Gäbe Gott im hellen Himmel,
Dass er lieg’ gefangen—
Lieg’ gefangen tief im Kerker,
An der weissen Brust mir!
Gäbe Gott, der Herr im Himmel,
Dass er Ketten trage—
Ketten trage, festgeschlungen,
Meine weissen Arme!
Gäbe Gott im hellen Himmel,
Dass ihn nähm’ das Wasser—
Dass ihn nähm’ das wilde Wasser,
Mir in’s Haus ihn bringe!“

A Girl's Curse

The mother calls, calls to her daughter
Across three mountain ranges:
‘Tell me, Mara, dearest daughter,
Is the linen bleached?’
The young daughter calls back to her
Across nine mountain ranges:
‘I haven’t yet dipped the linen, mother,
Into the water,
For Jawo came, O look,
And muddied the water,
So how could I, dear mother,
Have bleached the linen yet!
Curse him, mother, dear mother,
I shall curse him too,
May God in bright Heaven
Grant that he hang himself—
Hang himself on an evil tree,
On my white neck!
May God in bright Heaven
Grant that he be imprisoned—
Imprisoned in a deep dungeon,
On my white breast!
May God in Heaven grant
That he be put in chains—
Chains that are tightly clasped
By my white arms!
May God in bright Heaven grant
That the waters take him—
That the wild waters take him
And bring him home to me!’
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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