(Poet's title: Lied)
Set by Schubert:
for soprano and small orchestra
Brüder, schrecklich brennt die Träne,
Die verschämte Armut weint,
Findet diese Jammerszene
Unter uns wohl keinen Freund?
Der Verzweiflung preisgegeben
Ringt die welken Hände sie,
Kommt, erleichtert heut ihr Leben
Durch des Mitleids Sympathie.
Brothers, this tear-drop is burning terribly,
Embarrassed poverty is crying;
Will this scene of distress find
No friend even amongst us?
Given over to despair,
She wrings her withered hands;
Come on, make her life easier today
Through the sympathy of compassion.
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 author of this text has not yet been identified. The nature of the sentiments and the fact that Schubert set the text for a soprano and a small band of strings and woodwind suggest that it was prepared for some specific fund-raising occasion. The Deutsch catalogue speculates that it was intended to support the Vienna Orphanage or the ‘Verein für verschämte Arme’ (‘the Association for the embarrassed poor’, perhaps referred to in line 2, Die verschämte Armut). It may have been prepared for an event very similar to the one where Schubert’s Cantata in Honour of Josef Spendou (D472) was first performed in September 1816. The author is unlikely to have been Hoheisel (who wrote the text of the Cantata), however. Anyone with a smattering of the classics would have avoided the tautology of the final line: the sympathy (Sympathie) of compassion (des Mitleids) hardly makes much sense!
Original Spelling Lied Brüder, schrecklich brennt die Träne, Die verschämte Armut weint; Findet diese Jammerszene Unter uns wohl keinen Freund? Der Verzweiflung preisgegeben Ringt die welken Hände sie; Kommt, erleichtert heut' ihr Leben Durch des Mitleids Sympathie.