Frozen Tears

"Can it be, that without knowing it, I have been weeping?" Wilhelm Müller, Gefrorne Tränen.

This poem offers us little by way of consolation, so deep and desolate is the sentiment it carries.

Winter's frozen chill and the scorn of love lost has left our protagonist drained and numb. How downcast could a person possibly be to not notice that they have been crying?

The second stanza reveals an ironic bitterness: tears that are only lukewarm do not befit this situation and the depths of this despair.

Müller goes on to comment in the final stanza that there is a disconnect between cause and effect. Despite these unsatisfactory tears, their source burns red-hot with desire, revealing a desperate longing, but also an equally cathartic strength. Should this searing source be released, the ice should melt and winter be triumphantly banished.

Schubert finally commits our protagonist's resolve, marking the final phrase stark or "strongly" - a curse upon winter and the wretchedness it has brought. This establishes the frantic and desperate search that is Erstarrung, which is to follow.

Read the full text and translation of Gefrorne Tränen here.