The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168339   Message #4067195
Posted By: keberoxu
03-Aug-20 - 08:25 PM
Thread Name: my first performance in thirty years
Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
This English translation is a patchwork.
This is because composer Schubert set three of the five stanzas above,
and singable translations exist, obviously,
taking only the musical setting into account
and ignoring the other two stanzas.

This post will include a singable English translation, for which
one Frederic Field Bullard takes the credit (c. 1904).


Down in a brook swift-running
A trout both small and wise
Did dart with happy cunning,
As swift as arrow flies.
Upon the bank I laid me,
And watched, with sweet content,
The waters, cool and shady;
The trout, on pleasure bent.

With rod and line an angler
A-fishing came that way,
And, cruelly exulting,
Saw where the troutlet lay.
'If I am not mistaken,'
Quoth I, 'the brook's so clear,
The trout will ne'er be taken,
Tho' long he persevere.'

[suppressed verse]
In the stream of life,
Many fair young things dart past,
Unaware that a siren
Menaces them from a whirlpool.
Before they are aware of it,
The attraction of love draws them in,
And once the water is muddied,
Their innocence is gone.

At last the persecutor
Stepped down the bank, and stirred
And dimmed the crystal water,
When, quicker than a word,
His cruel rod was bending,
The trout had seized the bait,
And I, with grief heart-rending,
Beheld its cruel fate.

[Schubert did not set this stanza]
Remember the trout, young ladies,
As in the heedless confidence of your youth
You dally at the wellsprings of life:
Run away at the first sign of danger!
Lack of prudence often results in
The shedding of innocent blood.
Before it is too late, maidens,
Beware the fisherman.