Robert Reinick: “Song of the Apprentice”

By Robert Reinick (1805-1852). Set by Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), “Gesellenlied”, from 9 Reinick-Lieder, no. 7. Translation © Emily Ezust, Lied and Art Song Text Page.


Masters do not fall from the sky!
And that's a piece of luck, too!
for already there are too many masters here;
if another bunch were to fall from the sky,
how bruised we apprentices would get
by all of them,
despite our masterpieces!

Masters do not fall from the sky!
Praise God, neither do masters' wives!
Ah, dear heaven, be so kind,
if up there one is grumbling,
keep her in mercy
so that she doesn't
come down to earth to shame us!

Masters do not fall from the sky!
Nor do masters' daughters!
A very long time have I known this,
and yet, what a joy that would be,
if, young and pretty and merry,
such a maiden were to come down,
and be my true love!

Masters do not fall from the sky!
That is my comfort in this world;
and so I intend to be a master myself,
and if I am gifted with a wife,
then this earth shall be
a heaven to me,
from which no master will fall.