Ludwig Tieck: Are they sorrows or are they joys?

By Johann Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853) from Liebesgeschichte der schönen Magelone und des Grafen Peter von Provence.

Set by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), “Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden”, op. 33 no. 3 (1861-9), from Romanzen aus L. Tieck’s Magelone, no. 3. Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Sind es Schmerzen, sind es Freuden

Are they sorrows or are they joys
Which tug at my breast?
All the old desires leave;
A thousand new flowers bloom.

Through the dusk of tears
I see suns standing in the distance, -
What languishing, what longing!
Do I dare? Shall I move closer?

Ah, and when my tears are falling,
It is dark around me;
Yet if my desires do not return,
The future is empty of hope.

So beat then, my ambitious heart,
So flow down then, my tears,
Ah, joy is only a deeper pain,
Life is a dark grave, -

Without guilt,
Should I then suffer?
How is it that in my dreams
All my thoughts
Tremble up and down?
I scarcely know myself any more.

O, hear me, kindly stars,
O hear me, green meadow,
And you, my love, hear my holy oath:
If I remain far from her,
I will die gladly.
Ah, only in the light of her gaze
Dwell life and hope and happiness!