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Nachtlied (1847) Op. 71 no.6


Vergangen ist der lichte Tag,
Von ferne kommt der Glocken Schlag;
So reist die Zeit die ganze Nacht,
Nimmt manchen mit, der’s nicht gedacht.
Wo ist nun hin die bunte Lust,
Des Freundes Trost und treue Brust,
Der Liebsten süßer Augenschein?
Will keiner mit mir munter sein?
Frisch auf denn, liebe Nachtigall,
Du Wasserfall mit hellem Schall!
Gott loben wollen wir vereint,
Bis daß der lichte Morgen scheint!

Night Song

Daylight has departed,
The sound of bells comes from afar;
Thus time moves on throughout the night,
Taking many an unwitting soul.
Where now is all the garish joy,
The comforting breast of a faithful friend,
The sweet light of the loved one’s eyes?
Will no one stay awake with me?
Strike up then, dear nightingale,
You cascade of bright sound!
Together we shall praise God,
Until the light of morning dawns!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847), brother of Fanny Mendelssohn and grandson of Haskalah and Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn's compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. 

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Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a German poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, translator, and anthologist. Eichendorff was one of the major writers and critics of Romanticism. Ever since their publication and up to the present day, some of his works have been very popular in Germany.

Eichendorff first became famous for his novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing) and his poems. The Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing, a typical romantic novella, whose main themes are wanderlust and love. The protagonist, the son of a miller, rejects his father's trade and becomes a gardener at a Viennese palace where he subsequently falls in love with the local duke's daughter. As, with his lowly status, she is unattainable for him, he escapes to Italy - only to return and learn that she is the duke's adopted daughter, and thus within his social reach. With its combination of dream world and realism, Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing is considered to be a high point of Romantic fiction. One critic stated that "Eichendorff’s 'Good-For-Nothing' is the "personification of love of nature and an obsession with hiking." Thomas Mann called Eichendorff's Good-For-Nothing a combination of "the purity of the folk song and the fairy tale."

Many of Eichendorff's poems were first published as integral parts of his novellas and stories, where they are often performed in song by one of the protagonists. The novella Good-For-Nothing alone contains 54 poems.

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