(Poet's title: Lied des Florio)
Set by Schubert:
Nun, da Schatten niedergleiten,
Und die Lüfte zärtlich wehen,
Dringet Seufzen aus der Seele,
Und umgirrt die treuen Saiten.
Klaget, dass ihr mit mir sterbet
Bittern Tod, wenn die nicht heilet,
Die den Becher mir gereichet,
Voller Gift, dass ich und ihr verderbet.
Erst mit Tönen, sanft wie Flöten,
Goß sie Schmerz in meine Adern,
Sehen wollte sie der Kranke,
Und nun wird ihr Reiz ihn töten.
Nacht, komm her, mich zu umwinden
Mit dem farbenlosen Dunkel,
Ruhe will ich bei dir suchen,
Die mir not thut bald zu finden.
Now, as shadows are floating down
And breezes are wafting tenderly,
Emit sighs from the soul
And strum the faithful strings.
Lament for having to die with me
A bitter death, if she does not cure me,
She who offered me the chalice
Full of poison so that you and I should be destroyed.
First it was with notes, soft as a flute,
That she poured pain into my veins;
The sick man wanted to see her,
And now her charms are going to kill him.
Night, come here, to wrap around me
Your colourless darkness!
I want to seek rest with you,
A rest that necessity is driving me to find soon.
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.
Act III Scene 6 of Schütz’s Lacrimas is set on the terrace in the gardens of the Princess Elmadina. Characters who had originally encountered each other in gardens in southern Spain have now crossed the Mediterranean. People have fallen in love, but their true identities are not known to each other (or in some cases to themselves). In previous scenes Delphine has been presented tending flowers (she usually appears on balconies looking over exotic gardens), and she has been observed by Florio, who has fallen in love with her. In the scene from which this ‘song’ is taken, Florio is hiding behind a tree to watch Delphine as she comes out onto her balcony:
Delphine Yet again, before night falls, I shall have to turn Towards the flower of beauty, which enlivens everything here. Just as the trees in this wood endeavor To stand, in homage to the charms of this young man! His axe has now felled a cypress tree, And it could not resist, before dying, Once again approaching the flower bed of his cheek And flattering him by leaning its sinking crown against it. What beauty the axe attains in his right hand! How charming it must be, when he takes a lute, And plays its strings to accompany love songs! she goes off Florio, stepping forward Now, as shadows are floating down And breezes are wafting tenderly, Emit sighs from the soul And strum the faithful strings. Lament for having to die with me A bitter death, if she does not cure me, She who offered me the chalice Full of poison in the sweet sherbet. First it was with notes, soft as a flute, That she poured pain into my veins; The sick man wanted to see her, And now her charms are going to kill him. Night, come here, to wrap around me Your colourless darkness! I want to seek rest with you, A rest that necessity is driving me to find soon. Delphine waters a few flowers Do miracles want to occur for me? Who has ever seen a bright rainbow When night is living in the sky, Who has ever seen such a rainbow above them? Just as she waters the plants, Her beautiful eyes radiate. Her eyes look into the rain in such a way That light emerges from the rainbow. It brings such a sweet hope, May it also radiate for me today; And I shall modestly ask What love it is that her heart has encountered. steps forward The most beautiful lily, which compared itself with A waterlily, I saw it once Standing on a balcony in a white dress. My mouth then sang, expressing the sweetness that had crept up on my heart. She, whose glance the moon could not equal, Nevertheless allowed my song to hover over the meadows. I so much wanted to go into that moonlight, There was no sign of her, which made me faint, And the flood of my music departed from the environs Of the palace which carried that beauty, that flower, Distressed by the fact that it had been poured out in vain. It is I who once stood in her bath. Who is she who sang my song of praise? And who is it that the moon has taken up into heaven? Delphine Once when I was looking after the water lilies On a quiet night with an open breast And pouring out my sorrows in song, Sorrows which I had kept locked up in my inner self for a long time, I suddenly felt the warm air was being gently moved By sweet notes; friendly comrades Of the lily, they flowed towards me And they settled tenderly around me. They also brought, which thrilled me, A young friend to me with beautiful wit Along with them, to my sweet joy. But I had to say: "No, it has been dedicated To that most beautiful young man, my youthful heart, early on. You cannot have it," and thus I remained in pain. goes off Florio So does she always have to fly away When I am thirsting to approach her? Oh, if only I could catch sight of her today And content myself by revealing my identity, Hope is your first blossom. Lacrimas Act III, Scene 6 (English translation: Malcolm Wren)
The context makes it clear that Florio is obsessed by an unattainable woman whose identity he cannot know, but who he has seen and heard from a distance. Both of them have expressed their desire in song, but neither of them is aware that they themselves are the object of that love.
Florio has to be the object of Delphine’s desires since her whole identity in the play is bound up with flowers (flora). She sings as she waters and tends plants in various gardens. Yet he is the opposite of a plant. He has no roots. He moves (he has a complicated history taking him from Italy to Merameris via Andalusia). He feels pain. Poison courses through his veins. He calls on night to rob him of colour and allow him to rest. His song of love is ultimately a lament and a longing for death.
Original Spelling and note on the text Lied des Florio Nun, da Schatten niedergleiten, Und die Lüfte zärtlich wehen, Dringet Seufzen aus der Seele, Und umgirrt die treuen Saiten. Klaget, daß ihr mit mir sterbet Bittern Tod, wenn die nicht heilet, Die den Becher mir gereichet, Voller Gift, daß ich und ihr verderbet1. Erst mit Tönen, sanft wie Flöten, Goß sie Schmerz in meine Adern; Sehen wollte sie der Kranke, Und nun wird ihr Reiz ihn tödten. Nacht, komm her, mich zu umwinden Mit dem farbenlosen Dunkel! Ruhe will ich bey dir suchen, Die mir noth thut bald zu finden. 1 Schubert changed 'Gift in süßem Scherbet' (poison in the sweet sherbet) to 'Gift, daß ich und ihr verderbet' (poison so that you and I should be destroyed).
Confirmed by Peter Rastl with Lacrimas, ein Schauspiel. Herausgegeben von August Wilhelm Schlegel. Berlin, Im Verlage der Realschulbuchhandlung. 1803, pages 92-93.
The text appears in Lacrimas, dritter Aufzug, sechste Szene (Lied des Florio).
To see an early edition of the text, go to page 92 [100 von 150] here: http://digital.onb.ac.at/OnbViewer/viewer.faces?doc=ABO_%2BZ166582902