The lad by the spring
(Poet's title: Der Jüngling an der Quelle)
Set by Schubert:
[1816-1817, or 1821]
Leise rieselnder Quell! ihr wallenden, flispernden Pappeln;
Euer Schlummergeräusch wecket die Liebe nur auf.
Linderung sucht’ ich bei euch, und sie zu vergessen, die Spröde,
Ach und Blätter und Bach seufzen, Luise! dir nach.
Gentle, trickling spring! You swaying, whispering poplars;
Your sleepy sounds only serve to awaken love.
I came to you looking for comfort and to forget her – the one who is hard to get.
Alas, both the leaves and the brook are sighing for you, Luise!
All translations into English that appear on this website, unless otherwise stated, are by Malcolm Wren. You are free to use them on condition that you acknowledge Malcolm Wren as the translator and schubertsong.uk as the source. Unless otherwise stated, the comments and essays that appear after the texts and translations are by Malcolm Wren and are © Copyright.
The quieter it is the more we notice faint, background noise. Here the lad is trying to find some solace for his heartache and becomes aware of two distinct sounds: the tinkling of a nearby spring or tiny stream and the more distant swishing or rustling in the trees. They are persistent and regular enough to become almost hypnotic, they are ‘sleepy’ or ‘sleep-inducing’ sounds. However, what happens is that he is stimulated to focus on his love and he wakes up instead of falling asleep. Or rather, the sounds have woken love all around. His own longing and sighing now fills the scene. The breeze that makes the trees sway gently, that causes the foliage to murmur, and the water that trickles from the spring are both the very sound of unrequited love. Luise’s absence now fills the empty space and everything utters her name. Every passing breeze is an animate breath, and each breath is a sigh. Luise.
Original Spelling and note on the text Der Jüngling an der Quelle Leise rieselnder Quell, ihr wallenden flispernden Pappeln, Euer Schlummergeräusch wecket die Liebe nur auf. Linderung sucht' ich bei euch, und sie zu vergessen, die Spröde; Ach! und Blätter und Bach: seufzen, Luise1 dir nach! 1 Schubert changed 'Elisa' to 'Luise'
Confirmed by Peter Rastl with Deutsches Museum. Zweiter Band. Julius bis Dezember. 1786. Leipzig, in der Weygandschen Buchhandlung. Zwölftes Stück. Dezember, 1786, page 481; and with Gedichte von J.G. von Salis. Neueste Auflage. Wien 1815. Bey B.Ph. Bauer, page 149.
To see an early edition of the text, go to to page 149 [163 von 192] here: http://digital.onb.ac.at/OnbViewer/viewer.faces?doc=ABO_%2BZ160622604