“El niño divino, que está cansado de llorar en la tierra por su descanso…” — Lope de Vega

24 Dec

“The heavenly babe suffers distress, Ah, how weary He has grown with the sorrows of this world.”

“Der Himmels knabe Duldet Beschwerde, Ach, wie so müd er ward Vom Leid der Erde.”

I recently tweet-balled out an Anglican — I’m assuming — convert to Orthodoxy who had tweeted something about how Western influence on later Russian iconography had produced “softer” and in his opinion improved images of the Nativity with Mary leaning lovingly over the baby instead of the traditional Orthodox rendering where Mary is lying, turned the over way, lost in thought while nurses tend to the baby. I think I told him that if he wanted cute nativity images of cute babies he could post on YouTube, he should join the Franciscans. More on that later.

So maybe it’s weird for me to send this very sentimental lied as a Christmas message. But the quote above says enough.

This is originally a 17th century poem by Spanish poet and playwright Lope de Vega; translated into German by Emanuel Geibel and set to music in 1890 by Austrian composer Hugo Wolf in his Spanisches Liederbuch, a collection of lieder based on both religious and secular poetry of the Spanish Golden Age.

The full German translation, original Spanish, and English translation (last by Richard Stokes from a collection of lieder translations he did with tenor Ian Bostridge) is below. The singer in the YouTube video is, of course, the immortal Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Merry Christmas to all.

Die ihr schwebet – Lope de VegaEmanuel Geibel

Die ihr schwebet, Um diese Palmen, In Nacht und Wind, Ihr heilgen Engel, Stillet die Wipfel! Es schlummert mein Kind.

Ihr Palmen von Bethlehem Im Windesbrausen, Wie mögt ihr heute So zornig sausen! O rauscht nicht also! Schweiget, neiget Euch leis und lind; Stillet die Wipfel! Es schlummert mein Kind.

Der Himmelsknabe Duldet Beschwerde, Ach, wie so müd er ward Vom Leid der Erde. Ach nun im Schlaf ihm Leise gesänftigt Die Qual zerrinnt, Stillet die Wipfel! Es schlummert mein Kind.

Grimmige Kälte Sauset hernieder, Womit nur deck ich Des Kindleins Glieder! O all ihr Engel, Die ihr geflügelt Wandelt im Wind, Stillet die Wipfel! Es schlummert mein kind.

Pues andáis en las palmasLope de VegaPastores de Belén. Prosas y Versos Divinos

Pues andáis en las palmas,
ángeles santos,
que se duerme mi niño,
tened los ramos.

Palmas de Belén
que mueven airados
los furiosos vientos
que suenan tanto:
no le hagáis ruido,
corred más paso,
que se duerme mi niño,
tened los ramos.

El niño divino,
que está cansado
de llorar en la tierra
por su descanso,
sosegar quiere un poco
del tierno llanto.
Que se duerme mi niño,
tened los ramos.

Rigurosos yelos
le están cercando;
ya veis que no tengo
con qué guardarlo.
Ángeles divinos
que váis volando,
que se duerme mi niño,
tened los ramos.

You who hover

You who hover About these palms In night and wind, You holy angels, Silence the tree-tops! My child is sleeping.

You palms of Bethlehem In the raging wind, Why do you bluster So angrily today! Oh roar not so! Be still, lean Calmly and gently over us; Silence the tree-tops! My child is sleeping.

The heavenly babe Suffers distress, Ah, how weary He has grown With the sorrows of this world. Ah, now that in sleep His pains Are gently eased, Silence the tree-tops! My child is sleeping.

Fierce cold Blows down on us, With what shall I cover My little child’s limbs? O all you angels Who wing your way On the winds, Silence the tree-tops! My child is sleeping.

Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder: The Original Text of Over 1000 Songs by Bostridge, Ian, Stokes, Richard (2005) Hardcover Hardcover – October 20, 2005

Lope de Vega 1562 – 1635
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf 1950
Hugo Wolf – Getty Images

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