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Songs

Freiwilliges Versinken

by Franz Schubert

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Text & Translation

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Freiwilliges Versinken
German source: Johann Mayrhofer

Wohin, o Helios? In kühlen Fluten
Will ich den Flammenleib versenken,
Gewiss im Innern, neue Gluten
Der Erde Feuerreich zu schenken.

Ich nehme nicht, ich pflege nur zu geben;
Und wie verschwenderisch mein Leben,
Umhüllt mein Scheiden gold’ne Pracht,
Ich scheide herrlich, naht die Nacht.

Wie blass der Mond, wie matt die Sterne!
Solang ich kräftig mich bewege;
Erst wenn ich auf die Berge meine Krone lege,
Gewinnen sie an Mut und Kraft in weiter Ferne.

Voluntary Oblivion
English translation © Richard Wigmore

Whither, O Helios? In cool waters
I will immerse my burning body,
inwardly certain that I can bestow
new warmth upon the earth’s fires.

I do not take; I am wont only to give.
As prodigal as my life,
my parting is bathed in golden splendour;
I depart in glory when night draws near.

How pale the moon, how faint the stars,
as long as I move on my powerful course;
only when I lay down my crown upon the mountains do they
gain strength and courage in the far distance.

Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

Freiwilliges Versinken
German source: Johann Mayrhofer

Voluntary Oblivion
English source: Richard Wigmore

Wohin, o Helios? In kühlen Fluten
Whither, O Helios? In cool waters
Will ich den Flammenleib versenken,
I will immerse my burning body,
Gewiss im Innern, neue Gluten
inwardly certain that I can bestow
Der Erde Feuerreich zu schenken.
new warmth upon the earth’s fires.

Ich nehme nicht, ich pflege nur zu geben;
I do not take; I am wont only to give.
Und wie verschwenderisch mein Leben,
As prodigal as my life,
Umhüllt mein Scheiden gold’ne Pracht,
my parting is bathed in golden splendour;
Ich scheide herrlich, naht die Nacht.
I depart in glory when night draws near.

Wie blass der Mond, wie matt die Sterne!
How pale the moon, how faint the stars,
Solang ich kräftig mich bewege;
as long as I move on my powerful course;
Erst wenn ich auf die Berge meine Krone lege,
only when I lay down my crown upon the mountains do they
Gewinnen sie an Mut und Kraft in weiter Ferne.
gain strength and courage in the far distance.

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

Johann Mayrhofer

Johann Baptist Mayrhofer , was an Austrian poet and librettist. He is best known for his close friendship with the composer Franz Schubert. Mayrhofer was born in Steyr, educated and Novitiate in St. Florian's Priory Upper Austria. In 1810 he began…

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