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Der Gärtner (1860) Op. 17 no.3

Part of a series or song cycle:

Vier Gesänge (Op. 17)

Der Gärtner

Wohin ich geh’ und schaue,
In Feld und Wald und Tal,
Vom Berg hinab in die Aue;
Viel schöne, hohe Fraue,
Grüß ich dich tausendmal.
In meinem Garten find’ ich
Viel’ Blumen, schön und fein,
Viel’ Kränze wohl draus wind’ ich
Und tausend Gedanken bind’ ich
Und Grüße mit darein.
Ihr darf ich keinen reichen,
Sie ist zu hoch und schön,
Sie müssen alle verbleichen,
Die Liebe nur ohnegleichen
Bleibt ewig im Herzen stehn.
Ich schein’ wohl froher Dinge
Und schaffe auf und ab,
Und, ob das Herz zerspringe,
Ich grabe fort und singe,
Und grab’ mir bald mein Grab.

The gardener

Wherever I walk and gaze,
Through valley, wood and field,
From mountaintop to meadow:
I, lovely gracious lady,
Greet you a thousand times.
I seek out in my garden
Many fine and lovely flowers,
Weaving many garlands,
Binding a thousand thoughts
And greetings with them too.
I cannot give her a garland
She is too noble and lovely,
They would all perish,
But love without compare
Remains forever in my heart.
I appear to be of good cheer,
And continue busily though my work,
And though my heart may break,
I shall dig away and sing
And shortly dig my grave.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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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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