Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) wrote the words for Nell, having been inspired by Robert Burns.

Ta rose de pourpre à ton clair soleil, Ô Juin, étincelle enivrée, Penche aussi vers moi ta coupe dorée: Mon coeur à ta rose est pareil. Sous le mol abri de la feuille ombreuse Monte un soupir de volupté: Plus d’un ramier chante au bois écarté. Ô mon coeur, sa plainte amoureuse. Que ta perle est douce au ciel enflamé. Étoile de la nuit pensive! Mais combien plus douce est la clarté vive Qui rayonne en mon coeur, en mon coeur charmé! La chantante mer. Le long du rivage, Taira son murmure éternel, Avant qu’en mon coeur, chère amour. Ô Nell, ne fleurisse plus ton image!
Your crimson rose in your bright sun Glitters, June in rapture; Incline to me also your golden cup: My heart is like your rose. Under the shady, sheltering leaves there rises a sigh of delight. In the grove there are doves cooing, (Oh my heart!) singing their love-songs. How sweet in the blazing sky is your pearl, star of pensive night! But how much sweeter is the vivid glow that shines in my enchanted heart! The singing sea all along its shores will end its eternal murmuring before your image, oh Nell my love, ceases to bloom in my heart.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) wrote Frühling/Spring which Strauss used in his Four Last Songs

In dämmrigen Grüften träumte ich lang von deinen Bäumen und blauen Lüften, von deinem Duft und Vogelsang.

Nun liegst du erschlossen in Gleiß und Zier, von Licht übergossen wie ein Wunder vor mir.

Du kennest mich wieder, du lockest mich zart, es zittert durch all meine Glieder deine selige Gegenwart!

In dusky vaults I have long dreamt of your trees and blue skies, of your scents and the songs of birds.

Now you lie revealed in glistening splendour, flushed with light, like a wonder before me.

You know me again, you beckon tenderly to me; all of my limbs quiver from your blissful presence!

La maja dolorosa/The sad maja
The poem by Fernando Periquet (1873-1940) was the source of Granados’ La maja dolorosa No. 3

De acquel majo amante que fue mi gloria guardo anhelante dichosa memoria. El me adoraba vehemente y fiel. Yo mi vida entera di a él. Y otras mil diera si él quisiera, que en hondos amores martirios son las flores. Y al recordar mi majo amado van resurgiendo ensueños de un tiempo pasado.

Ni en el Mentidero ni en la Florida majo más majo paseó en la vida. Bajo el chambergo sus ojos ví con toda el alma puestos en mí. Que a quien miraban enamoraban, pues no hallé en el mundo mirar más profundo. Y al recordar mi majo amado van resurgiendo ensueños de un tiempo pasado.

I ardently treasure those memories of my gallant love who brought me such joy. He adored me fervently and sincerely. I gave him all of my life, and would do so a thousand times, if he wished it, for in the depths of love anguish is only a blossom. When I think of my gallant love, I am engulfed by the dreams of a time gone by.

Neither in Mentidero, nor in Florida, was I to know others. Under the rim of his hat I saw his eyes directed on me with all of their vitality, they loved the one on which they gazed. And I have never found in this world a gaze more profound. When I think of my gallant love, I am engulfed by the dreams of a time gone by.

El mirar de la maja/The look of the maja
The poem by Fernando Periquet was also the source of Granados’ El mirar de la maja/The look of the maja

¿Por qué es en mis ojos tan hondo el mirar que a fin de cortar desdenes y enojos los suelo entornar? ¿Qué fuego dentro llevarán que si acaso con calor los clavo en mi amor sonrojo me dan? Por eso el chispero a quien mi alma dí al verse ante mí me tira el sombrero y díceme así: “Mi Maja, no me mires más que tus ojos rayos son y ardiendo en pasión la muerte me dan.”
Because my eyes hold such an intense gaze in order to avoid disdain and fighting I tend to look away What fire do they carry inside, that with only a little passion, when I look at my lover, they cause me to blush? That’s why this fiery man to whom I gave my soul when standing in front of me tosses a hat my way and says to me: “my love, do not look at me anymore for your eyes are lightning and burning in desire they give me death.”

I skogen/In the forest
The poet for I skogen/In the forest was Albert Theodor Gellerstedt (1836-1914) and Karl Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927) wrote the music.

Kärt är att råka dig, nattviol, der blek du står ibland gräsen och suckar ut efter sjunken sol din doft, ditt innersta väsen.

Ljuft är att höra din sång, du trast, der högst i granen på spaning du jublar ut under qvällens rast om morgon rodnad din aning.

Men lär mig, nattviol, blid som din, en sorg, när fröjd har gått under! Trast, lär mig tolka så glad som din, min tro på ljusare stunder!

Lovely to meet you, orchid, where you stand pale among the grass and breathe out after the sun has set, your fragrance, your heart’s essence.

So tender to hear your song, nightingale, on the lookout in the highest fir tree, You rejoice in the break of night as you sense the blushing morning.

But teach me, gentle orchid, your sorrow, when joy has disappeared! Nightingale, teach me to understand your joy, my belief in happier moments!

Les ingénus/The naïve ones
Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) was the poet for Les ingénus/The naïve ones which Claude Debussy (1862-1918) set as a mélodie.

Les hauts talons luttaient avec les longues jupes, En sorte que, selon le terrain et le vent, Parfois luisaient des bas de jambes, trop souvent Interceptés ! — Et nous aimions ce jeu de dupes.

Parfois aussi le dard d’un insecte jaloux Inquiétait le col des belles sous les branches, Et c’étaient des éclairs soudains des nuques blanches, Et ce regal comblait nos jeunes veux de fous.

Le soir tombait, un soir equivoque d’automne : Les belles se pendant rêveuses à nos bras, Dirent alors des mots si spéciaux, tout bas, Que notre âme, depuis ce temps, tremble et s’étonne.

When gentle zephyrs toss’d aside the dainty dresses Flashed all too quick such glimpse of tiny high heeled shoe As made us wish that t’were a hurricane that blew, Such charm it lent: so sweet its play with gown and tresses

And when, beneath the shade of the wide spreading boughs, Silent we sat, perchance some ruthless insect darting His dagger keen into snowy arm or neck set smarting Gave us excuse to soothe while murm’ring tender vows.

Warm and serene, the charm of the evening enthralled us While Beauty pensive sat, and answered soft and slow Laughing no longer at the words we spoke so low Love was king: to his fairy world beckoned and called us.

L’invitation au Voyage/Invitation to the voyage
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) wrote L’invitation au Voyage/Invitation to the voyage set by Henri Duparc (1848-1933).

Mon enfant, ma sœur, Songe à la douceur D’aller là-bas vivre ensemble, Aimer à loisir, Aimer et mourir Au pays qui te ressemble. Les soleils mouillés De ces ciels brouillés Pour mon esprit ont les charmes Si mystérieux De tes traîtres yeux, Brillant à travers leurs larmes. Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, Luxe, calme et volupté.

Vois sur ces canaux Dormir ces vaisseaux Dont l’humeur est vagabonde; C’est pour assouvir Ton moindre désir Qu’ils viennent du bout du monde. Les soleils couchants Revêtent les champs, Les canaux, la ville entière, D’hyacinthe et d’or; Le monde s’endort Dans une chaude lumière! Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, Luxe, calme et volupté.

My child, my sister [lover], think of the sweetness of going there to live together! To love at leisure, to love and to die in a country that is the image of you! The misty suns of those changeable skies have for me the same mysterious charm as your fickle eyes shining through their tears. There, all is harmony and beauty, luxury, calm and delight.

See how those ships, nomads by nature, are slumbering in the canals. To gratify your every desire they have come from the ends of the earth. The westering suns clothe the fields, the canals, and the town with reddish-orange and gold. The world falls asleep bathed in warmth and light. There, all is harmony and beauty, luxury, calm and delight.

Au bord de l’eau/At the water’s edge
The poem was written by René-François Sully-Prudhomme (1839-1907) and this was set by Gabriel Fauré.

S’asseoir tous deux au bord du flot qui passe, Le voir passer ; Tous deux, s’il glisse un nuage en l’espace, Le voir glisser ; À l’horizon, s’il fume un toit de chaume, Le voir fumer ; Aux alentours si quelque fleur embaume, S’en embaumer ; Entendre au pied du saule où l’eau murmure L’eau murmurer ; Ne pas sentir, tant que ce rêve dure, Le temps durer ; Mais n’apportant de passion profonde Qu’à s’adorer, Sans nul souci des querelles du monde, Les ignorer ; Et seuls, tous deux devant tout ce qui lasse, Sans se lasser, Sentir l’amour, devant tout ce qui passe, Ne point passer!
To sit together beside the passing stream and watch it pass; if a cloud glides by in the sky, together to watch it glide; if a thatched house sends up smoke on the horizon, to watch it smoke; if a flower spreads fragrance nearby, to take on its fragrance; under the willow where the water murmurs, to listen to it murmuring; for the time that this dream endures, not to feel its duration; but, having no deep passion except adoration for one another, without concern for the world’s quarrels, to ignore them; and alone together, in the face of all wearying things, unwearyingly, to feel love (unlike all things that pass away) not passing away!

Neue Liebe, neues Leben/New Love, New Life
Goethe wrote the text which inspired Beethoven.

Herz, mein Herz, was soll das geben? Was bedränget dich so sehr? Welch ein fremdes neues Leben! Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr.

Weg ist alles, was du liebtest, Weg, warum du dich betrübtest, Weg dein Fleiß und deine Ruh’ — Ach, wie kamst du nur dazu!

Fesselt dich die Jugendblüte, Diese liebliche Gestalt, Dieser Blick voll Treu und Güte Mit unendlicher Gewalt?

Will ich rasch mich ihr entziehen, Mich ermannen, ihr entfliehen, Führet mich im Augenblick, Ach, mein Weg zu ihr zurück.

Und an diesem Zauberfädchen, Das sich nicht zerreissen läßt, Hält das liebe, lose Mädchen Mich so wider Willen fest;

Muß in ihrem Zauberkreise Leben nun auf ihre Weise. Die Verändrung, ach wie groß! Liebe! Liebe! laß mich los!

Heart, my heart, what does this mean? What is besieging you so? What a strange new life!

I don’t know you any longer. Gone is all that you loved, Gone is what troubled you, Gone is your diligence and peace–

Alas! how did you come to this! Does youthful bloom shackle you, Of this lovely figure, Whose gaze is full of truth and goodness

With endless power? If I rush to escape her, To take heart and flee her, I am led in a moment, Alas, back to her.

And with this magic thread, That cannot be ripped, The dear, mischievous maiden Holds me fast against my will;

In her magic circle I must Live now in her way. The change, alas – how great! Love! Love! let me free!