Friday, January 22, 2016

No. 1 Goodnight

This first song was a warm up to the process of writing poetic translations. I probably should have started with an easier poem, but I was committed to the process of discovering the pieces in order, sitting with each one until it 'opened to me' and only then moving on to the next song.
There are still problems with my English version in this one even though it has already been performed several times in public. "May favored my affections" strays a bit too much from the original than I would like. Also "God's will has made it right" has the same issue. My aim with all of these translations is to match the English as closely as possible to the German syllables so that the musical poetry remains in synch. The last stanza, well, I just don't know what to do about it yet. It must somehow include the word "goodnight" but this poses a problem for the rhyme. I have substituted "adieu" for the moment and await inspiration and/or assistance...

No. 1 Goodnight
I came here as a stranger
A stranger I depart
May favored my affections
With blooming flowery art
The maiden spoke of love
Her mother wedding days
Now all the world is darkness
And snow has veiled the way
No will of mine can govern
The moment of my flight
Alone the route I compass
In deepening dark of night
The moon is my companion
Its shadows walk with me
Through snowy fields I follow
Wild tracks I strain to see
Why should I tarry longer
When ill winds drive me out
Leave mad dogs to their howling
Outside their master's house
As love is like to wander
God's will has made it right
From one soul to another
Beloved, goodnight.
I dare not stir your slumber
Your peaceful rest is dear
So soundless steps I venture
Soft, soft the threshold near
I write this parting message
Upon the door: adieu
That waking you will see it
And know I thought of you.

1. Gute Nacht
Fremd bin ich eingezogen,
Fremd zieh ich wieder aus.
Der Mai war mir gewogen
Mit manchem Blumenstrauss.
Das Mädchen sprach von Liebe,
Die Mutter gar von Eh
Nun ist die Welt so trübe,
Der Weg gehüllt in Schnee.
Ich kann zu meiner Reisen
Nicht wählen mit der Zeit,
Muss selbst den
Weg mir weisen In dieser Dunkelheit.
Es zieht ein Mondenschatten
Als mein Gefährte mit,
Und auf den weissen
Matten Suchich des Wildes Tritt.
Was soll ich länger weilen,
Dass man mich trieb hinaus?
Lass irre Hunde heulen
Vor ihres Herren Haus;
Die Liebe liebt das Wandern
Gott hat sie so gemacht
Von einem zu dem andern.
Fein Liebchen gute Nacht!
Will dich im Traum nicht stören,
Wär schad um deine Ruh.
Sollst meinen Tritt nicht hören
Sacht, sacht die Türe zu!
Schreib im Vorübergehen
Ans Tor dir: Gute Nacht,
Damit du mögest sehen,
An dich hab ich gedacht.

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