Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass (Who never ate his bread with tears) from Schubert’s Gesänge des Harfners (Songs of the harpist) for low voice and guitar


Schubert’s setting of words from Goethe’s “Wilhelm Meister” (with my singing translation in English) transposed to the key of E minor
for low voice and guitar.
In some places the guitar part is simplified in comparison to the original piano part
in order to improve the flowing quality and to make it possible for one person to accompany herself/himself on the guitar.
A version for low voice and piano, also in E minor, is also available
The sound sample is an electronic preview.
The three individual songs (“Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt”, “Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass”, “An die Türen”)
and also all three together (under the title “Gesänge des Harfners (songs of the harpist)” ) are available on this site

(This song takes just the first two stanzas of Goethe’s poem “Lied des Harfners”)
Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass,
wer nie die kummervollen Nächte
auf seinem Bette weinend sass,
der kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlischen Mächte.

Ihr führt ins Leben uns hinein,
ihr lasst den Armen schuldig werden,
dann überlasst ihr ihn der Pein;
denn alle Schuld rächt sich auf Erden.

Who never ate his bread with tears
Who never sits by night and cowers
Upon his bed in sobbing fears
He does not know you, heavenly powers

You lead us into life’s domain
You let the poor suffer debt and dearth
Then leave him to deal with pain
for ev’ry guilt’s avenged here on earth
(English translation (c) 2015 David Warin Solomons)