Sunday, June 02, 2013



Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850), "Bitte," Gedichte, 3. Aufl. (Stuttgart: J.G. Cotta, 1837), p. 23:
Weil' auf mir, du dunkles Auge,
Uebe deine ganze Macht,
Ernste, milde, träumerische,
Unergründlich süsse Nacht!

Nimm mit deinem Zauberdunkel
Diese Welt von hinnen mir,
Dass du über meinem Leben
Einsam schwebest für und für.
Tr. J.W. Smeed, Famous Poets, Neglected Composers: Songs to Lyrics by Goethe, Heine, Mörike, and Others (Madison: A-R Editions, 1992), p. xlviii:
Rest upon me, you dark eye; wield your whole power, you solemn, mild, dreamy, unfathomably sweet night!

Take away this world from me with the magic of your darkness, so that you may hover, solitary, over my life forevermore!
A selection of verse translations, first by Francis Hueffer, Richard Wagner and the Music of the Future (London: Chapman and Hall, 1874), p. 267:
Rest on me thou eye of darkness,
Wield thy undivided might;
Mildly earnest, tender, dreamy,
Fathomlessly darkest night.

With thy dark, thy magic shadow,
Hide away this world from me,
Only thou, above my being,
Biding everlastingly.
George T. Ferris, "Four Great Song-Composers: Schubert, Schumann, Franz, and Lizst," Appletons' Journal 1 (1876) 109-114 (at 114):
Rest on me, thou eye of darkness;
    Wield thy undivided might;
Mildly earnest, tender, dreamy,
    Fathomlessly darkest night.

With thy dark, thy magic shadow,
    Hide away this world from me;
Only thou above my being,
    Biding everlastingly.
Anonymous, "Translation from Lenau," The Open Court 1.22 (December 22, 1887) 620:
    Dwell on me, O, eye of darkness
Sweet unfathomable night.
    With thy spell of gloomy magic
Exercise thy fullest might.

    In thy veil of melancholy
Shroud the world out of my sight:
    And above my fate forever
Hover blissful holy night.
John Firman Coar, Studies in German Literature in the Nineteenth Century (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903), pp. 120-121, n. 1:
Dwell on me, dark eye mysterious,
Spend the fulness of thy might,
Kindly solemn, dream enraptured,
Sweeter than all thought, O night.

Let thy magic darkness settle,
Let it snatch the world from me,
Hover in thy lonely grandeur
O'er my life eternally.
Charles Wharton Stork, in Kuno Francke and William Guild Howard, edd., The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English, Vol. VII (New York: The German Publication Society, 1913), p. 361:
Eye of darkness, dim dominioned,
    Stay, enchant me with thy might,
Earnest, gentle, dreamy-pinioned,
    Sweet, unfathomable night.

With magician's mantle cover
    All this day-world from my sight,
That for aye thy form may hover
    O'er my being, lovely night.
Dwight Durling, in Angel Flores, ed., An Anthology of German Poetry from Hölderlin to Rilke in English (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1960), p. 213:
Gaze on me, thou eye of darkness,
Fill me, boundlessness of might—
Solemn, tender, dream-pervaded,
Sweet, unfathomable night!

With dark magic all else banish;
Take the world away from me
So that over life thou only
Henceforth brood unendingly.
According to Philip L. Miller, The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Song Texts (1963; rpt. New York: W.W. Norton, 1973), p. 164, "Some two hundred composers have set this text" by Lenau. Click to enlarge this setting by Robert Franz (1815-1892):

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