Venus Fantasia! (Words by Dehmel)

James Simon composed this piece between August 11th and 14th, 1935, and dedicated it to German opera singer Wilhelm Guttmann, with whom Simon played the song in an informal meeting on the 20th of August, the same year. Dr. Nico Schüler, a musicologist at Texas State University, kindly provided a rough translation of both the lyrics of the song and the dedication at the top of Simon’s autograph, and corrected a few transcription errors on my part.

Dedication: Zugleich zur Erinnerung an den schönen Nachmittag mit Wilhelm Guttmann (At the same time in remembrance of the nice afternoon with Wilhelm Guttmann)

Manuscript courtesy of Leo Baeck Institute, James Simon Collection.

Text and Translation

Leih mir noch Einmal die leichte Sandale;
sage, wer bist du, holde Gestalt?
Reich' mir die volle, die funkelnde Schale,
due dur mir fülltest so viele Male!
Bist du die Jugend? Werde ich alt?

O! dann fülle die funkelnde Schale;
warum entweichst du mit aller Gewalt?
Leihe, o leih mir deine Sandale!
Willst du verschwinden mit einem Male,
weil ich Tor dich einst Törin schalt?

Jetzt, jetzt preis' ich die leichte Sandale;
horch, o horch, wie mein Loblied schallt!
Reich' mir noch Einmal die volle Schale!
Laß sie mich schlürfen zum letzten Male,
eh du verschwindest - o halt! halt! halt -
Lend me once more the light sandal;
say, who are you, graceful figure?
Hand me the full, the sparkling bowl,
Which you filled for me so many times!
Are you the youth? Am I growing old?

Oh! then fill the sparkling bowl
why are you escaping with might and main?
lend, oh lend me your sandal!
Do you want to disappear all at once,
because I fool scolded you fool once?

Now, now I praise the light sandal;
listen, oh listen, how my paean reverberates!
Hand me once more the full bowl!
Let me sip it for the last time,
until you will vanish - oh stop! stop! stop -