Schubert – An Sylvia

Song Information

Title: An Sylvia (D. 891)

English Title: Who is Sylvia?

Composer: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Author (German Text): Eduard von Bauernfeld (1802-1890)

Author (Original English Text): William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central (PDF files):

Elsewhere on the Internet:

  • Transcribed in English and German versions at Mutopia
    • Key: A Major
    • Range: E4 – F♯5
    • Lilypond source code available to edit or transpose.

Audio Files



Song Text

In German:

Was ist Silvia, saget an,
Daß sie die weite Flur preist?
Schön und zart seh ich sie nahn,
Auf Himmelsgunst und Spur weist,
Daß ihr alles untertan.

Ist sie schön und gut dazu?
Reiz labt wie milde Kindheit;
Ihrem Aug’ eilt Amor zu,
Dort heilt er seine Blindheit
Und verweilt in süßer Ruh.

Darum Silvia, tön, o Sang,
Der holden Silvia Ehren;
Jeden Reiz besiegt sie lang,
Den Erde kann gewähren:
Kränze ihr und Saitenklang!

In English: (The original language of the text, which also works with Schubert’s setting.)

Who is Silvia? What is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admirèd be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.