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Songs

Der greise Kopf

by Franz Schubert From Winterreise (1827) D911

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Text & Translation

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Der greise Kopf
German source: Wilhelm Müller

Der Reif hat einen weissen Schein
Mir über’s Haar gestreuet.
Da glaubt’ ich schon ein Greis zu sein, 
Und hab’ mich sehr gefreuet.

Doch bald ist er hinweggetaut,
Hab’ wieder schwarze Haare,
Dass mir’s vor meiner Jugend graut – 
Wie weit noch bis zur Bahre!

Vom Abendrot zum Morgenlicht
Ward mancher Kopf zum Greise.
Wer glaubt’s? Und meiner ward es nicht 
Auf dieser ganzen Reise!

The Grey Head
English translation © Richard Wigmore

The frost has sprinkled a white sheen 
upon my hair:
I thought I was already an old man, 
and I rejoiced.

But soon it melted away; 
once again I have black hair, 
so that I shudder at my youth. 
How far it is still to the grave!

Between sunset and the light of morning 
many a head has turned grey.
Who will believe it? Mine has not done so 
throughout this whole journey.

Der greise Kopf
German source: Wilhelm Müller

The Grey Head
English source: Richard Wigmore

Der Reif hat einen weissen Schein
The frost has sprinkled a white sheen 
Mir über’s Haar gestreuet.
upon my hair:
Da glaubt’ ich schon ein Greis zu sein, 
I thought I was already an old man, 
Und hab’ mich sehr gefreuet.
and I rejoiced.

Doch bald ist er hinweggetaut,
But soon it melted away; 
Hab’ wieder schwarze Haare,
once again I have black hair, 
Dass mir’s vor meiner Jugend graut – 
so that I shudder at my youth. 
Wie weit noch bis zur Bahre!
How far it is still to the grave!

Vom Abendrot zum Morgenlicht
Between sunset and the light of morning 
Ward mancher Kopf zum Greise.
many a head has turned grey.
Wer glaubt’s? Und meiner ward es nicht 
Who will believe it? Mine has not done so 
Auf dieser ganzen Reise!
throughout this whole journey.

Composer

Franz Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He…

Poet

Wilhelm Müller

Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was a German lyric poet. Wilhelm Müller was born on October 7, 1794 at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the University of Berlin, where he devoted himself to…

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