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Die Einsame (1895) Op. 9 no.2

Die Einsame

Wär’s dunkel, ich läg’ im Walde,
Im Walde rauscht’s so sacht,
Mit ihrem Sternenmantel
Bedeckt mich da die Nacht,
Da kommen die Bächlein gegangen,
Ob ich schon schlafen tu?
Ich schlaf’ nicht, ich hör’ noch lang
Den Nachtigallen zu,
Wenn die Wipfel über mir schwanken,
Es klinget die ganze Nacht,
Das sind im Herzen die Gedanken,
Die singen, wenn Niemand wacht.

The lonely woman

Were it dark, I’d lie in the forest,
The forest murmurs so softly,
With her cloak of stars
The night covers me there,
The brooklets steal up and ask:
If I’m not already asleep.
I do not sleep, for long yet I’ll listen
To the nightingales,
When the treetops sway above me,
They sound the whole night through,
They are the heart’s own thoughts
That sing when no one’s awake.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Hans Pfitzner was a German composer.

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Poet

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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