The following are abridged paraphrases of the texts for each song. They are intended to be only a general guide to the overall feeling of each song. For a more thorough understanding of the songs, I highly recommend studying the German texts, or one of the many excellent English translations which are widely available.
1. Ach, wende diesen Blick
Ah, turn your face away from me!
Whenever my tortured soul rests,
One glance from you reawakens all the woe that stings my heart.
2. Alte Liebe
On this spring morning, it seems I have again found the sorrow of an old love.
It's as if someone touched me on the shoulder, or like a knock at the door, yet no one is there.
I catch the scent of jasmine, yet I have no bouquet.
Someone calls to me from the distance, an old dream seizes me and leads me on.
3. Dein Blaues Auge
Your blue eyes are so still that I can see into their depths
You ask what do I hope to see? I see my own well being.
I was burned by another pair, and the scar still hurts,
Yet your eyes are clear and cool like the sea.
4. Der Jäger
My love is a hunter, he always hits his mark.
He knows all the paths and trails,
but the only way to me is through the church door!
5. Des Liebsten Schwur
If my father wasn't such a grouch, I would tell him whom I met in the garden,
I met my sweetheart in the garden!
If my father wasn't so surly, I would tell him what my sweetheart gave me,
He gave me a kiss, and then another!
If my father wouldn't be so astonished, I would tell him what my sweetheart promised me.
My sweetheart promised me that I will be leaving home by the time the fields sprout!
I lie still in the tall grass and gaze above me, surrounded by the wondrous blue heavens.
The clouds drift far and wide, and I feel as though I died long ago, and drift with them in endless bliss
7. In Waldeseinsamkeit
I sat with you in the lonely forest, my head in your lap, my trembling hands around your knees.
The sun set, the glowing light faded, and far far away a nightingale sang.
8. Komm bald
Why wait day after day? A garden blooms when it pleases, and who can count all the blossoms?
I wish you were one of those who love and are true to me.
Raindrops fall from the trees, tears from my eyes.
When the sun shines, the grass will be twice as green,
and on my cheeks twice as many hot tears will glow.
In the spinning rooms at night, the girls sing and laugh with the village boys.
Every girl is spinning something for her dowry, and soon the wedding bells will ring.
No one is kind to me. No one asks after me. Who can I tell my sorrows to?
The tears flow down my face. Why should I spin? I don't know
11. O Wüst' ich doch den Weg zurück
O, if I only knew the way back to childhood!
I long to rest, gently surrounded by love.
In vain I look for happiness, surround by a deserted shore.
12. Vergebliches Ständchen
He: Good evening sweet girl! My love brings me here, open the door for me!
She: My mother warned me about men like you! My door is locked, you can't come in.
He: It's so cold and windy that my heart will freeze & my love will die! Open the door!
She: If a little cold kills your love, good riddance! Go home to bed. Good night!
I sit by the shore and look with dull resignation at the drifting waves.
They foam and vanish, the clouds and wind come, and then blow away.
Be still my heart, let the wind and waves comfort you. Why do you weep?
14. Von ewiger Liebe
On a dark silent night, a young lad leads his beloved home, talking of many things.
"If I ever make you ashamed, or cause you grief or disgrace, our love will be over.
As quickly as we came together, I will go."
Then the maiden replies:
"Our love will never end. It is stronger than iron or steel.
They can be melted and transformed, but our love will last forever!"
15. Wie Melodien zieht es mir
It pulls at me like a melody, blooms like spring flowers, and wafts away like a fragrance.
But when put into words it turns gray and pale, and disappears like a breath.
Yet, my rhymes still hide a fragrance, which my moist eyes call forth from the dormant bud.
16. Wir Wandelten
We wandered together just the two of us. I was quiet, you also were still.
I would give much to know your thoughts at that moment.
Of my thoughts, I will only say this:
So lovely were they, ringing like sweet golden bells in my mind, that there is no echo of them in this world.