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Traum der eignen Tage (1836)

Traum der eignen Tage

Traum der eignen Tage,
Die nun ferne sind,
Tochter meiner Tochter,
Du mein süsses Kind,
Nimm, bevor die Müde
Deckt das Leichentuch,
Nimm ins frische Leben
Meinen Segenspruch.
Siehst mich grau von Haaren,
Abgezehrt und bleich.
Bin, wie du, gewesen
Jung und wonnereich,
Liebte, so wie du liebest,
Ward, wie du, auch Braut,
Und auch du wirst altern,
So wie ich ergraut.
Lass die Zeit im Fluge
Wandeln fort und fort,
Nur beständig wahre
Deines Busens Hort;
Hab ich’s einst gesprochen,
Nehm ich’s nicht zurück:
Glück ist nur die Liebe,
Liebe nur ist Glück.
Als ich, den ich liebte,
In das Grab gelegt,
Hab ich meine Liebe
Treu in mir gehegt:
War mein Herz gebrochen,
Blieb mir fest der Mut,
Und des Alters Asche
Wahrt die heilge Glut.
Nimm, bevor die Müde
Deckt das Leichentuch,
Nimm ins frische Leben
Meinen Segenspruch:
Muss das Herz dir brechen,
Bleibe fest dein Mut,
Sei der Schmerz der Liebe
Dann dein höchstes Gut.

Dream of my own days

Dream of my own days
That now are distant,
Daughter of my daughter,
You sweet child of mine.
Take, before the weary one
Is covered by a shroud,
Take into your young life
My own blessing.
You see me grey-haired,
Emaciated and pale.
Once I was like you,
Young and blissful.
I loved, as you now love,
Became, like you, a bride,
And you too will grow old,
Like my hair has turned grey.
Let time fly
On and on,
But preserve for ever
The treasure of your heart;
What I once said
I shall not take back:
Happiness alone is love,
Love alone is happiness.
When I buried
The man I loved,
I cherished my love
In my faithful heart:
Though my heart was broken,
My courage stood firm,
And the ashes of old age
Preserve the sacred glow.
Take, before the weary one
Is covered by a shroud,
Take into your young life
My own blessing:
If your heart must break,
May your courage stand firm,
May love’s sorrow then be
Your dearest possession.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johann Carl Gottfried Loewe (G30 November 1796 – 20 April 1869),was a German composer, tenor singer and conductor. He wrote over 400 ballads and songs.

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Adelbert von Chamisso was a German poet and botanist, author of Peter Schlemihl, a famous story about a man who sold his shadow. He was commonly known in French as Adelbert de Chamisso(t) de Boncourt, a name referring to the family estate at Boncourt.

The son of Louis Marie, Count of Chamisso, by his marriage to Anne Marie Gargam, Chamisso began life as Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot at the château of Boncourt at Ante, in Champagne, France, the ancestral seat of his family. His name appears in several forms, one of the most common being Ludolf Karl Adelbert von Chamisso.

In 1790, the French Revolution drove his parents out of France with their seven children, and they went successively to Liège, the Hague, Wurzburg, and Bayreuth, before settling in Berlin. There, in 1796 the young Chamisso was fortunate in obtaining the post of page-in-waiting to the queen of Prussia, and in 1798 he entered a Prussian infantry regiment as an ensign to train for a career as an army officer.

Shortly thereafter, thanks to the Peace of Tilsit, his family was able to return to France, but Chamisso remained in Prussia and continued his military career. He had little formal education, but while in the Prussian military service in Berlin he assiduously studied natural science for three years. In collaboration with Varnhagen von Ense, in 1803 he founded the Berliner Musenalmanach, the publication in which his first verses appeared. The enterprise was a failure, and, interrupted by the Napoleonic wars, it came to an end in 1806. It brought him, however, to the notice of many of the literary celebrities of the day and established his reputation as a rising poet.

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