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Der Tambour (1888) No.5

Part of a series or song cycle:


Der Tambour

Wenn meine Mutter hexen könnt’,
Da müsst’ sie mit dem Regiment
Nach Frankreich, überall mit hin,
Und wär’ die Marketenderin.
Im Lager wohl um Mitternacht,
Wenn Niemand auf ist als die Wacht,
Und alles schnarchet, Ross und Mann,
Vor meiner Trommel säss’ ich dann:
Die Trommel müsst’ eine Schüssel sein;
Ein warmes Sauerkraut darein;
Die Schlegel, Messer und Gabel,
Eine lange Wurst mein Sabel,
Mein Tschako wär’ ein Humpen gut,
Den füll’ ich mit Burgunderblut.
Und weil es mir an Lichte fehlt,
Da scheint der Mond in mein Gezelt:
Scheint er auch auf franzö’sch herein,
Mir fällt doch meine Liebste ein:
Ach weh! Jetzt hat der Spass ein End!
—Wenn nur meine Mutter hexen könnt’!

The Drummer-boy

If my mother could work magic
She’d have to go with the regiment
To France and everywhere,
And be the vivandière.
In camp, at midnight,
When no one’s up save the guard,
And everybody – man and horse - is snoring,
Then I’d sit by my drum:
My drum would be a bowl,
With warm sauerkraut in it,
The sticks would be a knife and fork,
My sabre – a long sausage;
My shako would be a tankard
Filled with red Burgundy.
And because I lack light,
The moon shines into my tent;
And though it shines in French,
It still reminds me of my beloved:
Oh dear! There’s an end to my fun!
– If only my mother could work magic!


Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf was an Austrian composer of Slovene origin. He is particularly known for his art song, or Lieder. His Lieder display a concentrated expressive intensity unique to Wolf. 

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Eduard Friedrich Mörike was a German Romantic poet.

Mörike was born in Ludwigsburg. His father was Karl Friedrich Mörike (d. 1817), a district medical councilor; his mother was Charlotte Bayer. He attended the Latin school at Ludwigsburg, and the seminary at Urach (1818) where he made the acquaintance of Wilhelm Hartlaub and Wilhelm Waiblinger. He then studied theology at the Seminary of Tübingen where he met Ludwig Bauer, David Friedrich Strauss and F. T. Vischer.

He followed an ecclesiastical career, becoming a Lutheran pastor. In 1834 he was appointed pastor of Cleversulzbach near Weinsberg, and, after his early retirement for reasons of health, in 1851 became professor of German literature at the Katharinenstift in Stuttgart. This office he held until his retirement in 1866; but he continued to live in Stuttgart until his death. In what political and social views he espoused, he was monarchist and conservative.

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