Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52                                                                                   Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Texts selected from G.F. Daumer’s Polydora                                                       trans. Basil Swift, ed. Robert Shaw

Answer maiden, all too lovely,
Did those eyes in trust so tender,
And those glances, deep with promise,
Try to tell me of surrender?
Will your heart with love awaken;
Would you rather keep me burning,
Never heeding, never turning,
Oh, then, will you share my yearning?
Would you rather keep me burning,
Not one moment would I weaken,
Come to me, you dark-eyed maiden.
Will you share my yearning? 
Meet me when the stars are greeting. 

Deep in thunder roars the tide,
Every shore retrieving:
If your heart has never sighed,
Love will enter grieving.  

Oh these women, 
How they lead me close to heaven!
I’d been long a monk in cloister,
Were it not for women! 

Like the evening sunset’s rapture
Might my weary spirit glow. 
Someone did but love me,
Then my joy would endless flow. 

The tender hopvine wanders
With winding stem the earth apart. 
The young and graceful damsel, 
How heavy lies her heart.
Oh, hear me, tender hopvine, 
Why droop your head from heaven’s rest?
Oh, hear me, graceful damsel,
Why weep with grief possessed?
How may the vine be soaring,
If no one brings it strength or aid?
Then how may a damsel flourish, 
When far her love has strayed?

There was a tiny, pretty bird who saw
The garden fruit, 
Then took his fill, and more. 
Were I a tiny, pretty bird so free, 
I’d linger not, 
But take my chance as he. 
Lime twigs to trap him,
Hidden in that bait,
That luckless songbird,
Couldn’t know his fate, sad fate. 
Were I a tiny, pretty bird so free,
I’d rather stay, than take a risk as he. 
That songbird found a dainty, loving hand. 
And there does he a willing captive stand. 
Were I a tiny, pretty bird so free, 
I’d linger not, but take my chance as he.  

How dear, alas, 
Was life together with my beloved,
Then he was true and kind,
And always on parting kissed with ardent fervor. 
Now all has ended.
When I approach or try to speak, 
And linger nearer.
He turns both glances and heart from me.  

When your eyes so fondly seek,
And so dearly hold me. 
Every care and trouble flees,
As your love enfolds me: 
‘Tis a sweetly burning flame,
Leave it not untended! 
Never shone a love so true, 
May it never be ended. 

On Danube's border, doth stand a house,
And there a rosy young maid looks out.
That maiden they guard full well from flight,
When ten bars of iron her door is bolted aright. 
Ten boltings of iron that I must pass:
I’ll split them as though they were naught but glass. 

Oh, how calm the river flows, 
Through the meadows winding. 
Oh, how sweet, when loves do
Know such tender binding.

No, I will not listen to them with their chiding,
All one does, they talk about it, criticizing. 
If I’m cheerful, then they say I’m evil minded;
If I’m sad, that means by foolish love I’m blinded. 
No, I will not listen to them with their chiding. 
All one does, they talk about it, criticizing! 

Locksmith, go and bring me padlocks, 
Many padlocks,
Padlocks large and small. 
Then the gossip, spiteful gossip will I silence,
Silence once for all. 

Every bird that soars the sky
Seeks a branch for nesting;
And each heart a heart desires
For the spirit’s resting. 

See how bright the fountain gleams
From the moon above her!
If my love can light your dreams,
Love me, dear, forever!

Nightingale, you sing so sweet,
When the stars are sparkling. 
Yield your love, my fondest heart,
Kiss me when ‘tis dark’ning.  

My love is a well of sorrow,
A dark and a perilous madness;
I feel in, alas, unguarded,
Since then I’ve suffered in vain,
In place of my former gladness,
I’ve longing and bitter pain. 

Don't wander, my light, 
Out yonder where meadows greet;
The dampness hidden there 
May linger and harm your feet. 
All through the paths and walks 
There glitters a silver sea,
Where late at night my tears
Have fallen and sought for thee. 

Each tender leaf is trembling
As through the branch there flutters
A bird in flight.
In such a way my spirit 
Begins to shake and flutter,
When tasting joy and sadness,
My heart seeks thine.