Friday 30 December 2011

Webern: Dormi, Jesu!

The second of Webern's Five Canons, op.16:

This lullaby text, from a sixteenth-century engraving by Hieronymus Wierix, was copied by Coleridge during his visit to Germany with Wordsworth and published two years later, in 1801. Coleridge would publish an English translation, also below, in 1810.

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
inter fila cantans orat,
blande, veni, somnule.

Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
Mother sits beside thee smiling;
sleep, my darling, tenderly!
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
singing as her wheel she turneth:
come, soft slumber, balmily!