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Songs

Meerfahrt

by Johannes Brahms

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Text & Translation

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Meerfahrt
German source: Heinrich Heine

Mein Liebchen, wir saßen beisammen
Traulich im leichten Kahn.
Die Nacht war still und wir schwammen
Auf weiter Wasserbahn.

Die Geisterinsel, die schöne,
Lag dämmrig im Mondenglanz;
Dort klangen liebe Töne
Und wogte der Nebeltanz.

Dort klang es lieb und lieber
Und wogt es hin und her;
Wir aber schwammen vorüber
Trostlos auf weitem Meer.

Sea voyage
English translation © Richard Stokes

My sweetest, we sat together,
Lovingly in our light boat.
The night was still, and we drifted
Along a wide waterway.

The beautiful haunted island
Lay dimly in the moon’s light;
Sweet music was sounding there,
And dancing mists were swirling.

The sounds grew sweeter and sweeter,
The mists swirled this way and that;
We, however, drifted past,
Desolate on the wide sea.

Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Meerfahrt
German source: Heinrich Heine

Sea voyage
English source: Richard Stokes

Mein Liebchen, wir saßen beisammen
My sweetest, we sat together,
Traulich im leichten Kahn.
Lovingly in our light boat.
Die Nacht war still und wir schwammen
The night was still, and we drifted
Auf weiter Wasserbahn.
Along a wide waterway.

Die Geisterinsel, die schöne,
The beautiful haunted island
Lag dämmrig im Mondenglanz;
Lay dimly in the moon’s light;
Dort klangen liebe Töne
Sweet music was sounding there,
Und wogte der Nebeltanz.
And dancing mists were swirling.

Dort klang es lieb und lieber
The sounds grew sweeter and sweeter,
Und wogt es hin und her;
The mists swirled this way and that;
Wir aber schwammen vorüber
We, however, drifted past,
Trostlos auf weitem Meer.
Desolate on the wide sea.

Composer

Johannes Brahms

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…

Poet

Heinrich Heine

Heine was born of Jewish parents. Much of his early life was influenced by the financial power of his uncle Salomon Heine, a millionaire Hamburg banker, with whom he remained on an awkward footing for many years. After he had been educated in the…

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