Heinrich Heine: The Two Brothers

Translated from the German by Edgar Alfred Bowring, 1861.

Set by Robert Alexander Schumann (1810-1856) , op. 49 no. 2.

“Die feindlichen Brüder.”


Up on the mountain summit darkling
Lies the castle, veil’d in night;
Lights are in the valley sparkling.
Clashing swords are gleaming bright.
Brothers ’tis who in fierce duel
Fight with wrath to fury fann’d,
Tell me why these brothers cruel
Strive thus madly, sword in hand?
By the eyes of Countess Laura
Were they thus in strife array’d;
Both with glowing love adore her
Her, the noble, beauteous maid.
Unto which now of the brothers
Is her heart the most inclined?
No musing can decide it;
Out, then, sword, the truth to find!
And they fight on with rage despairing,
Blows exchanged with savage might
Take good heed, you gallants daring
Mischief walks abroad by night.
Woe! Oh woe! Ye brothers cruel!
Woe! Oh woe! Thou vale abhorr’d!
Both fall victims in the duel,
Each upon the other’s sword.
Races are to dust converted,
Many centuries are flown;
And the castle, now deserted,
Sadly from the mount looks down.
But at night-time in the valley,
Wondrous forms appear again;
At the stroke of twelve
To the fight the brothers twain.