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Hinkende Jamben (1837) Op. 62-1 no.5

Hinkende Jamben

Ein Liebchen hatt’ ich, das auf einem Aug’ schielte;
Weil sie mir schön schien, schien ihr Schielen auch Schönheit.
Eins hatt’ ich, das beim Sprechen mit der Zung’ anstieß;
Mir war’s kein Anstoß, stieß sie an und sprach: Liebster!
Jetzt hab’ ich eines, das auf einem Fuß hinket;
Ja freilich, sprech’ ich, hinkt sie, doch sie hinkt zierlich.

Limping Iambics

I had a sweetheart who squinted with one eye;
Because I found her lovely, her squint was lovely too.
Another I had who lisped when she spoke;
I took no umbrage when she lisped: Sweetheart!
Now I have one who limps with one foot;
Yes indeed, say I, she limps, but limps most gracefully.
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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Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.

Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816–1817, he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. Nearly the whole of the year 1818 he spent in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820–1826). Rückert married Luise Wiethaus-Fischer there in 1821. He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live full-time in his Gut (estate) at Neuses (now a part of Coburg).

When Rückert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life-and-death struggle with Napoleon; and in his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische Komödie in drei Stücken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts) of which only two parts were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time).

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