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menschenscheu - Threshold — LiveJournal
...she walked in through the out door.

Another song of Schubert's Winterreise I love is "Der Wegweiser". Grown up isolated from human society except my closest family for the first six years of my life, I'm a reclusive person, sometimes unable to stand the presence of others, even my beloved ones. In German we have a wonderful term for it: menschenscheu.  

Der Wegweiser

Was vermeid' ich denn die Wege,
Wo die ander'n Wand'rer geh'n,
Suche mir versteckte Stege,
Durch verschneite Felsenhöh'n ?

Habe ja doch nichts begangen,
Daß ich Menschen sollte scheu'n, -
Welch ein törichtes Verlangen
Treibt mich in die Wüstenei'n ?

Weiser stehen auf den Straßen,
Weisen auf die Städte zu.
Und ich wandre sonder Maßen
Ohne Ruh' und suche Ruh'.

Einen Weiser seh' ich stehen
Unverrückt vor meinem Blick;
Eine Straße muß ich gehen,
Die noch keiner ging zurück.

Teutoburg Forest - January 2009

The Signpost

Why do I avoid the pathways
which the other travellers use?
It's the snow-capped hills I'm seeking.
It's the hidden paths I choose.

I have done no wrong to others,
Why should I then shun mankind?
So what is this foolish longing
Driving me to distant land?

Signposts to the towns are pointing,
Shall I go where they suggest?
Shall I wander on regardless,
without rest, yet seeking rest?

I see only one clear signpost
Pointing to my lonely track.
It's the road which I must travel
From which no-one can come back.

(Translation by Jeffery Benton)

Tags: ,
Current Music: Schubert, Winterreise

1 comment or Leave a comment
faust_iii From: faust_iii Date: January 29th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Wanderer

That is interesting. As we (typically for the period of the socalled "Romantik") do not at all know the reasons, the aims, the motivs ("Beweg-Gründe") of the anonymous wanderers wanderings, we are immediately animated to identify them with intrinsic states of our own psychic dispositions; may they be either general dispositions or actual dispositions.

And in Schuberts music, specially his songs, this is a main theme. Not only the poems of Wilhelm Müller in the Winterreise, but also others, like Heinrich Heine or lesser known others.

I only mention the great and grandiose C-Major "Wanderer Fantasy" Op.15


It has only one main theme, which is variated in the 4 movements. This main theme is a selfcitation of a phrase in his song "Der Wanderer", which he composed some years earlier. It is based on a poem by Schmidt von Lübeck (don't know him otherwise):


Ich komme vom Gebirge her,
Es dampft das Tal, es braust das Meer.
Ich wandle still, bin wenig froh,
Und immer fragt der Seufzer: wo?
Immer: wo?

Die Sonne dünkt mich hier so kalt,
Die Blüte welk, das Leben alt,
Und was sie reden, leerer Schall,
Ich bin ein Fremdling überall.

Wo bist du, mein geliebtes Land?
Gesucht, geahnt, doch nie gekannt!
Das Land, das Land so hoffnungsgrün,
Das Land, wo meine Rosen blühn,
Wo meine Freunde wandeln gehn,
Wo meine Toten auferstehn,
Das Land, das meine Sprache spricht,
O Land, wo bist du?

Ich wandle still, bin wenig froh,
Und immer fragt der Seufzer: wo?
Immer: wo?
Im Geisterhauch tönt's mir zurück:
"Dort, wo du nicht bist, dort ist das Glück"

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