I came as a stranger; as a stranger now I leave. The flowers of May once welcomed me warmly; a young girl spoke of love, her mother even of marriage. Now all is bleak--the pathway covered with snow. The time of departure is not mine to choose; I must find my way alone in this darkness. With the shadow of the moon at my side, I search for traces of wildlife in the white snow. Why should I linger and give them reason to send me away? Let stray hounds howl outside their master's house. Love likes to wander from one to another, as if God willed it so. My darling, farewell. A quiet step, a careful shutting of the door so your sleep is not disturbed, and two words written on the gate as I leave, "Good night," to let you know I thought of you.
From Schubert's Winterreise: A Winter Journey in Poetry, Image, and Songs by Wilhelm Müller. Copyright © 2003. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.