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Liebeslieder, Op. 52
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

from Georg Friedrich Daumer's Polydora (adapted from Russian, Polish and Hungarian folk songs).

1. Speak, girl whom I love all too well,
you who with your glance have hurled
these wild feelings of ardor
into my once-indifferent heart!
Won't you soften your heart?
Do you wish to remain overly pious
without a sweet bliss of your own,
or do you want me to come to you?
To remain without a sweet bliss of my own--
I don't want such a bitter penance.
So come, dark-eyed boy,
come when the stars greet you.

2. The stream dashes against the stones,
violently propelled:
anyone who doesn't learn to sigh at that
will learn it when they fall in love.

3. Oh, women, women,
how they distill rapture!
I'd have become a monk long ago
except for women!

4. Like the beautiful red glow of evening
I, a poor lass, would like to shine,
to please one lad, one lad,
to radiate bliss unendingly.

5. The green hopvine,
it trails along the ground.
The young, pretty girl,
how sad are her thoughts!
Listen, green vine!
Why don't you raise yourself skyward?
Listen, pretty girl!
Why is your heart so heavy?
How can the vine raise itself
when no prop lends it strength?
How can the girl be happy
when the boy she loves best is far away?

6. A little pretty bird
took flight
to the garden,
where there was fruit in plenty.
If I were
a pretty little bird,
I wouldn't hesitate,
I'd do the same thing he did. Treacherous birdlime-smeared twigs
were lying in ambush there;
the poor bird
could no longer get away.
If I were
a pretty little bird,
I would have hesitated,
I wouldn't do what he did. The bird fell
into a beautiful girl's hand;
there the lucky fellow
had nothing to complain of.
If I were
a pretty little bird,
I wouldn't hesitate,
I would do just what he did.

7. Previously
my life
was a quite pleasant one,
and so was my love;
through a wall,
yes, through ten walls
my sweetheart's eyes
recognized me;
but now, alas,
no matter how close
I stand to the eyes
of that cold boy,
neither his eyes
nor his heart will take notice.

8. When your eyes look at me
so mildly and so lovingly,
every last shadow
that had darkened my life vanishes. The beautiful flame of this love,
don't let it go out in sparks!
No one else will ever love you
as faithfully as I do.

9. On the banks of the Danube
there stands a house,
a pink-complexioned girl
looks out from it.
The girl
is well protected,
ten iron bolts
are placed before the door.
Ten iron bolts
are just a joke;
I'll snap them
as if they were only made of glass.

10. Oh, how gently the stream
winds its way through the meadow!
Oh, how beautiful it is when a lover
finds his way to his beloved!

11. No, there's just no dealing
with people;
they manage to put such an evil
interpretation on everything. If I'm jolly, they say I harbor
wayward lusts;
if IÍm calm, the story is I'm
out of my mind with love.

12. Locksmith, come, and make locks,
locks without number!
For I want to lock up
all the spiteful mouths.

13. The little bird flutters through the air,
it looks for a branch;
and my heart desires a heart
on which it can rest blissfully.

14. See how clear the waters are
when the moon shines down!
You who are my love,
love me in return!

15. The nightingale sings so beautifully
when the stars twinkle.
Love me, my beloved sweetheart,
kiss me in the dark!

16. Love is a dark shaft,
a highly dangerous well;
and I, poor fool, fell in;
I can't hear or see,
I can only think about my bliss,
I can only moan in my sorrow.

17. Light of my life, don't walk out there
in the meadows!
Your tender feet would get
too wet, too soaked. The paths there are all flooded,
and so are the trails,
because my eyes wept
so copiously there.

18. The bushes are quivering;
a little bird
brushed them as it flew by.
In the same way my soul
trembles, overcome
by love, pleasure and pain,
whenever it thinks of you.