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Songs

Die Spinnerin


Part of a series or song cycle:

Sechs Gesänge


Die Spinnerin

Auf dem Dorf in den Spinnstuben
Sind lustig die Mädchen.
Hat jedes seinen Herzbuben,
Wie flink geht das Rädchen!
Spinnt jedes am Brautschatz,
Dass der Liebste sich freut.
Nicht lange, so gibt es
Ein Hochzeitsgeläut!
Kein’ Seel’, die mir gut ist,
Kommt mit mir zu plaudern;
Gar schwül mir zu Mut ist,
Und die Hände zaudern.
Und die Tränen mir rinnen
Leis übers Gesicht.
Wofür soll ich spinnen,
Ich weiss es ja nicht!

The Spinster

Each of the village girls sits in her room,
Happy at her spinning-wheel.
Each has her sweetheart;
How briskly the wheels turn!
Each is spinning her wedding dress
To please her true lover;
Before long there’ll be
Wedding bells.
But no friend comes
To talk with me;
I sit in sad despair,
And my hands falter.
And the tears silently run
Down over my cheeks.
What need for me to go on spinning?
I cannot tell.
Translation by Eric Sams

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Poet

Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse was a distinguished German writer and translator. A member of two important literary societies, the Tunnel über der Spree in Berlin and Die Krokodile in Munich, he wrote novels, poetry, 177 short stories, and about sixty dramas. The sum of Heyse's many and varied productions made him a dominant figure among German men of letters. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910 "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories." Wirsen, one of the Nobel judges, said that "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe." Heyse is the fifth oldest laureate in literature, after Doris Lessing, Theodor Mommsen, Alice Munro and Jaroslav Seifert.
 

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