Fergus Black

music teacher and performer


An Silvia (To Sylvia) D 891 (1826) by SchubertEnglish Translation

Why this translation? - because I couldn't find a translation of the German into English. Most books and CD inserts simply quote the Shakespeare original, but lieder singers need to have a more detailed, word-for-word, translation. Here is my best effort.

from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" by William Shakespeare
(Translation: Eduard von Bauernfeld)

Was ist Silvia, saget an,
Dass sie die weite Flur preist?
Schön und zart seh' ich sie nahn,
Auf Himmels Gunst und Spur weist,
Dass ihr alles untertan.

What is Sylvia, tell me,
that the wide meadow praises her?
Fair and tender. I see her approach;
[It is] a sign of heaven's favour
that all are subject to her.

Ist sie schön und gut dazu?
Reiz labt wie milde Kindheit;
Ihrem Aug' eilt Amor zu,
Dort heilt er seine Blindheit
Und verweilt in süsser Ruh'.

Is she kind as well as fair?
[Her] grace refreshes like gentle child-ness.
To her eyes hastens Cupid,
there to cure his blindness
and linger in sweet peace.

Darum, Silvia, tön, o Sang,
Der holden Silvia Ehren;
Jeden Reiz besiegt sie lang,
Den Erde kann gewähren:
Kränze Ihr und Saltenklang!

Then, O song, resound to Sylvia,
to beautiful Sylvia's glory;
every grace has she acquired long-since
that earth can bestow;
crown her and sound strings!