Here is a video of the Chopin 2nd Ballade Op.38 with the poem Åšwitezianka in english. Enjoy it.
For more information about the ballades and Mickiewicz poetry i also recomend the following book:
CHOPINâ€™S POLISH BALLADE Op.38
as Narrative of National Martyrdom
Jonathan D. Bellman
Switezianka - The Nymph of Lake Switez
Who is the lad so comely and young And who is the maid at his side Who walk by the Switez blue waters, among The moonbeams that shine on its tide? A basket of raspberries she holds out, He gives her a wreath for her hair; The lad is her lover, beyond a doubt, And she is his sweetheart fair. Never a night but at dusk they stand On the shore by the old larch tree; The youth hunts here in the forest land, But the maiden is strange to me. You may ask in vain whence she comes and where She vanishes: no one knows. Like the crowfootâ€™s moist bloom on the marsh, she is there - Like the will-oâ€™-the-wisp, she goes. â€œBeautiful maid whom I love so well, Wherefore this secrecy? Where do your father and mother dwell, By what road do you come to me? â€œSummer is over, the leaves grow brown, And the rains are about to break; Must I always wait here till you wander down To the shore of this desolate lake? â€œWill you range through the wood like a heedless roe, Forever a ghost in the night? Stay rather with him who will love you so, With me, O my heartâ€™s delight! â€œMy cottage is near where the woodland trees Spread their sheltering branches thick; There is plenty of milk, there is game when you please, And the fruit from the boughs to pick.â€ â€œNay, have done, haughty stripling, my fatherâ€™s tales Have forewarned me against your art: For the voice of a man is the nightingaleâ€™s, But the foxâ€™s is his heart. â€œAnd I have more fear of your treachery Than belief in your changing flame; And were I to do what you ask of me Would you always remain the same?â€ Then the youth knelt down and with sand in his palm He called on the powers of heck He swore by the moon so holy and calm - Will he hold to his oath so well? â€œI counsel you, hunter, to keep your oath And the promise that here you swore; For woe to the man who shall break it, both While he lives and forevermore.â€ So saying, she places her wreath on his brow And, making no longer stay, She has waved him good-by from afar and now She is over the field and away. Vainly the hunter increases his speed For her fleetness outmatches his own; She has vanished as light as the wind on the mead, He is left on the shore alone. Alone he returns on the desolate ground Where the marshlands heave and quake And the air is silent - the only sound When the dry twigs rustle and break. He walks by the water with wandering tread, He searches with wandering eyes; On a sudden the winds through the deepwood spread And the waters seethe and rise. They rise and they swell and their depths divide- Oh, phantoms, seen only in dreams! On the field of the Switez all silver-dyed A beautiful maiden gleams! Her face like the petals of some pale rose That is sprinkled with morning dew; Round her heavenly form her light dress blows Like a cloud of a misty hue. â€œMy handsome young stripling,â€ so oâ€™er and oâ€™er Comes the maidenâ€™s tender croon, â€œOh, why do you walk on the desolate shore By the light of the shining moon? â€œWhy do you grieve for a wanton flirt Who has cozened you into her trap, Who has turned your head and has brought you to hurt And who laughs at you now, mayhap? â€œOh, heed my soft words and my gentle glance, Sigh and be mournful no more, But come to me here and together weâ€™ll dance On the waterâ€™s crystal floor. â€œYou may sleep in the silvery depths at night On a couch in a mirrored tent Upon water lilies soft and white, Amid visions of ravishment.â€ Her swan bosom gleams through her drapery, The hunterâ€™s glance modestly falls As the maiden draws nearer him over the sea And â€œCome to me, come!â€ she calls. Then winging her path on the breeze she sweeps In a rainbow arch away And cutting the waves in the watery deeps She splashes the silver spray. The youth follows after, then pauses once more, He would leap yet he still draws back; And the damp wave goes rippling away from the shore, Luring him on in its track. It lures caressingly over the sand Till his heart melts away in his breast, As when a chaste maid softly presses the hand Of the youth whom she loves the best. No longer he thinks of his own fair maid And the vow that he swore he would keep; By another enchantress his senses are swayed And he runs to his death in the deep. He hastens and gazes, he looks and he hastes, Till already the land is far; He is carried away on the lakeâ€™s broad wastes Where its midmost waters are. Now his fingers clasp snowy-cool finger-tips, His eyes meet a beautiful face, He presses his lips against rosy lips, And he circles through dancing space. Then a little breeze whistled, a little cloud broke That had cast its deceiving shade, And the youth knows the maid, now unhid by its cloak- â€˜Tis his love of the woodland glade! â€œNow where is my counsel and where is your oath And the vow so solemnly swore? Oh, woe to the man who has broken it, both While he lives and forevermore! â€œNot for you is the silvery whirlpoolâ€™s cup Nor the gulfs where the clear sea lies, But the harsh earth shall swallow your body up And the gravel shall put out your eyes. â€œFor a thousand years shall your spirit wait By the side of this witnessing tree, And the fires of heck that never abate Shall burn you unceasingly.â€ He hears, and he walks with a wandering tread, He gazes with wandering eyes; Then a hurricane out of the deepwood sped And the waters seethe and rise. They seethe to their depths and the circling tide Of the whirlpool snatches them down Through its open jaws as the seas divide: So the youth and the maiden drown. And still when the lake waters foam and roar, And still in the moonâ€™s pale light, Two shadows come flitting along the shore: The youth and the maiden bright. She plays where the lake glitters sliver and clear, He groans by the old larch tree; The youth hunted game in the forest here, But the maiden is strange to me. -Adam Mickiewicz
We should mention that as was discussed in
another recent thread
, that poem is sometimes identified with the
Ballade. It's not really known which poem goes with any of the Ballades.
According to Bailie Schumann records that Chopin had told him he had been inspired by the poems of Mickiewicz, but otherwise she says that "strenuous and inconclusive efforts" have been made to link Chopin's Ballade No.2 to a specific poem (by Mickiewicz).
Well, as Chopin used to write in the manuscripts "Let them gess..." And we sure try. I played the 3rd Ballade and also connected it to this poem. But one thing is certain, we will never know.
Greeings to all