Franz Schubert: 18 Songs


Previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams



Gretchen am Spinnrade (Goethe)


Margaret at her spinning-wheel



My heart is heavy, I've lost my peace of mind and I'll never find it again, never.

Without him, everywhere is a grave, my whole world tastes sour.

My poor brain is crazed, my thoughts are splintered to pieces.         

My heart is heavy, I've lost my peace of mind and I'll never find it again, never.

When I look out of the window it's only to look for him, when I go out of the house it's only to go to him.   

His proud gait, his noble bearing, the smile on his mouth, the power in his eyes, and the flow of magic in hisspeech, the warm clasp of his hand, and oh, his kiss!

My heart is heavy, I've lost my peace of mind and I'll never find it again, never.

My heart yearns out towards him. Oh. if only I could take him in my arms and hold him and kiss him as I long to, and die in kissing him; if only I could kiss him as I long to, and die in kissing him, die in kissing him!

My heart is heavy, I've lost my peace of mind.



Der Erlkönig (Goethe)


The Erlking


     Who is that, riding so late through the night and the wind? It is a father with his child. His arm is twined right round the boy, holding him safe and keeping him warm.

     'Why are you hiding your face in fear, my son?' 'Can't you see the Erlking, father? the Erlking, with his crown and his trailing robe?' 'Oh, that's only a wreath of mist, my son'.

     'Come to me, you dear child, come away with me! We shall play such lovely games together, there are many pretty flowers by the sea-shore, my mother has many a golden gown'. 

     'Oh father, my father, can't you hear those promises that the Erlking is whispering to me?' 'Be calm, stay calm, my child; it's only the wind rustling the dry leaves.'

      'Won't you come away with me, you darling boy? My daughters will wait upon you devotedly; my daughters dance every night, and they'll lull you and dance and sing you to sleep.'

     'Oh father, my father, can't you see the Erlking's daughters standing over there in the dark?' 'Of course I can, my son, my son, as plain as can be; it's just the old grey willow-trees gleaming in the gloom.'

     'I love you, your beauty excites me, and if you aren't willing, I'll use force.' 'Oh father, my father, now he's catching hold of me! The Erlking's hurting me!.'

      The father is terrified, he rides fast, he holds his moaning child in his arms, he reaches the farmhouse with effort and difficulty; within his arms the child lay dead.



Heidenröslein (Goethe)


A little rose on the heath



    Once upon a time a boy saw a rose growing, a little rose on the heath, and it looked so sweetly fresh and dewy that he ran to see it closer, and looked at it with delight; it was a rose, a little rose, a little red rose on the heath.

   And the boy said: I'm going to pick you, little rose on the heath! But the rose said: I shan't let you, and what's more I'm going to prick you so hard that you won't ever forget me. So said the rose, the little rose, the little red rose on the heath.

   All the same, that rough boy picked the little rose on the heath; the rose defended itself and pricked as promised, but its cries of distress were in vain; it had to suffer. Oh, rose, little rose, little red rose on the heath.


Schäfers Klagelied (Goethe)


Shepherd's Lament


     High up on that mountain, there I've stood a thousand times, leaning on my staff and looking down into the valley.

    Then I follow my flocks as they graze, with my dog watching over them. I come down into the valley, as if in a dream. There the whole meadow is brimming with bright flowers; I gather them, though I have no one to give them to.

    And there the tree shelters me from rain, storm and thunder. But there too the door remains closed; alas, it is indeed all a dream.

    A rainbow stands over that house; but she has travelled far away across the land.

    Across the land and further still, perhaps even over the sea. Then move on, my sheep, move on; your shepherd is so sad and sore at heart.



Meeresstille (Goethe)


Calm Sea


      A deep calm prevails in the water, the sea rests motionless, and the troubled sailor sees a smooth flat surface all around him.

      Not a breath of wind in any quarter; just terrifying deathly stillness. In all that vast expanse, no wave stirs.



Der Musensohn (Goethe)


Son of the Muses


          Roaming through field and forest, piping my ditty, that's how I travel from place to place. And everything all around me keeps time with my beat and moves in my rhythm.       

          I can hardly wait for the first flower in the garden, the first blossom on the tree. They greet my songs; and when winter returns I still sing of my springtime dreams.

          I sing them through the world; and winter itself blossoms along the length and breadth of its ice. But that flowering fades in its turn, and new delight springs from the fertile upland fields.  

          Then, when I find the young folk by the linden tree, I rouse them straightaway. The boorish boy proudly preens himself, the gauche girl pirouettes in time to my tune.

          I am the darling of the Muses; they give my feet wings and drive me over hill and dale. But when shall I at last find rest again, on the bosom of my love?



Wanderers Nachtlied (Goethe)


Wanderer's Song in the Night


You who are from heaven, who soothe away all grief and pain, doubly delighting him who is doubly wretched  - oh, I am weary of all this journeying. Why all this pain and joy? Sweet peace, come, oh come into my heart. Sweet peace, come, oh come into my heart.



Wanderers Nachtlied (Goethe)


(Wanderer's Song in the Night) (Op. 96 No.3)


Peace lies over all the hills; in all the treetops there is scarcely a stir. The birds are hushed and silent in the forest. Just wait a while, just wait a while, soon you too will be at rest. Just wait a while, just wait a while, soon you too will be at rest.


 Am Strome (Mayrhofer)


By the River


I feel as if my life is linked with this beautiful river. Have I not found both joy and sorrow here on its banks?

Yes, river, you are like my soul; sometimes your flow is green and smooth, but sometimes storms rise and render you restless, foaming and furrowed.

You flow down to the distant sea, yet even there you are fated to find no settled home. I too feel impelled to seek kinder lands, I shall never find happiness here on earth.



Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (Schiller)


Group from Hades


Listen - you hear a moaning of souls in torment like the raging ocean, like a mountain torrent. Agony contorts their features and wrenches their jaws apart. Their eyes are hollow; their sad gaze fixes on the bridge over  Cocytus, or follows the course of that river through hell. Each of them asks the others: can this be the end? Above them, eternity whirls its circles and shatters Saturn's scythe asunder. 



Der Jüngling an der Quelle (Salis)


The Young Man by the Brook


Softly murmuring stream, whispering poplars, you waken my love-longing; I wanted you to help me forget her, but your leaves and your ripples are themselves sighing for my beloved Louise.



Du bist die Ruh (Rückert)


You are repose


           You are repose and gentle peace; you are my longing and what stills it.

           To you I dedicate, full of joy and grief, my eyes and my heart as your dwelling-place.

           Come in to me and silently close the door behind you.

           Drive all other grief from my breast; let this heart be full of your joy.

           The canopy of my eyes is lit by your radiance alone; oh, fill it wholly







When the mists and the moon have risen, the old harper sings in the forest: 'O holy night, the end is near, soon I shall sleep for ever'. Then the trees murmur 'sleep sound', the grasses whisper 'we shall cover him', the birds sing 'requiescat'. The old man listens and is still; death has taken him.



Auf der Bruck (Schulze)


On the hill


No rest for you, my horse; on you go, through night and rain, stumbling on the wild forest paths. But the woods will come to an end, and a friendly light will greet us from the distant valley. I've roamed the world on horseback, and found love too; and yet I ride headlong back to my sorrow.

For three days I've been away from her who holds my heart for ever; and all that time the world was sunless and dark. For three days I've known only the pain of our love, never the joy. We see how surely the birds wing their way to warmer climes. Let instinct be our guide too. On, on through the night; however dark the paths, love will find a way. 



Litanei (Jacobi)


Litany on the Feast of All Souls


       Rest in peace, all souls; whether they ended a fearful torment or completed a sweet dream, whether weary of life or only just born; may all who have departed hence, may all souls rest in peace.   

       The souls of girls in love, who shed tears untold when their sweethearts left them and the blind world rejected them: may all who have departed hence, may all souls rest in peace.      

       And those who never rejoiced in the sunlight but kept watch on beds of thorn under the moon until they could at last see God face to face in the pure light of heaven: may all who have departed hence, may all souls rest in peace.



Um Mitternacht (Schulze)


At Midnight


          I hear no sound of voices, no footstep on the dark pathway; even heaven itself has closed all its bright starry eyes, closed all its eyes.

          I alone wake, my sweet love, and gaze longingly out into the night, waiting for your dear star to awake and shine in the desolate distance, to awake and shine.

          Oh if only I could see your dear form, even only in one secret glimpse, I'd gladly stand here in rain and storm until late morning, until late morning.

          And is that not you I now see shining in the distance, and already coming ever closer? Yes, I seem to hear a voice whispering that my friend too is still awake, still awake.

          Sweet words, loved voice to which my heart beats in answer, a thousand blissful thoughts of love have been stirred by your breath, stirred by your breath.

          Now I see all the stars gleaming on their dark blue pathway; in the sky, as in my heart, heaven lies open; heaven lies open.

          That reassuring response will tenderly cradle my head in soft slumber; in my dreams let me hear her voice whispering words of love over and over, whispering words of love.



Der Wanderer (Schmidt von Lübeck)


The Wanderer



           I have come down from the mountains. Here in the valley, mists rise and the sea roars. I roam in silence and sorrow, and my sighs never cease to ask: 'where?', always 'where?'

           Here the sunlight feels so cold, the flowers look faded, life itself seems old; and what people say sounds empty and hollow. I am a stranger everywhere I go.

           Where are you, land that I love? the land I have sought for and dreamed about but never found? The land, the land so green with hope, the land where my roses bloom, where my friends go walking, where my dead loved ones rise again, the land where my own language is spoken, - O land, where are you?

           I roam in silence and sorrow, and my sighs never cease to ask: 'where?', always 'where'? In a ghostly whisper the answer returns: 'There, where you are not, there is happiness.'




Das Wandern (Müller)





          Journeying, that's the miller's joy; journeying. He must be a bad miller who has never longed to go journeying, journeying.


          We've learnt all about it from the water, which never rests by day or night and is always intent on its journeying, journeying.


          The mill-wheels teach us the same lesson, the mill-wheels


They hate standing still, they never tire of turning, the mill-wheels


          Even the mill-stones, for all their weight, the mill-stones, they join in the merry dance and wish they could move even faster, the mill-stones.


          Oh journeying, my joy; journeying! Master, mistress, let me wend my ways in peace, just journeying.