Theodor Körner: “That Was I”

By Theodor Körner (1791-1813). Set by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), “Das war ich,” D. 174 (1815), published 1845. Translation © Emily Ezust, from The Lied & Art Song Texts Page.

Das war ich

Recently I dreamed that I saw on the bright heights

a maiden walking in the young day –

she was so sweet and lovely, that she was entirely like you.

And before her knelt a young man,

who seemed to draw her gently to his chest:

and that was I.

Soon the scene had changed,

and in a deep flood I saw now the fair one,

her last bit of strength disappearing.

There came a youth flying to her aid:

he sprang after her and pulled her from the waves;

and that was I.

So the dream unfolded in colorful lines,

and everywhere I saw love triumph,

and everything revolved around you!

You flew ahead in unbound freedom,

the youth trailing behind you with quiet fidelity:

and that was I!

And when I finally awakened from this dream,

the new day brought new yearning;

your dear, sweet face remained floating in front of me.

I saw you enjoying the ardor of kisses,

I saw you lying blissfully in the arms of the youth:

and that was I!