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An eine Äolsharfe (1888) no.11

Part of a series or song cycle:


An eine Äolsharfe

Angelehnt an die Efeuwand
Dieser alten Terrasse,
Du, einer luftgebornen Muse
Geheimnisvolles Saitenspiel,
Fang an,
Fange wieder an
Deine melodische Klage!
Ihr kommet, Winde, fern herüber,
Ach! von des Knaben,
Der mir so lieb war,
Frisch grünendem Hügel.
Und Frühlingsblüten unterweges streifend,
Übersättigt mit Wohlgerüchen,
Wie süss bedrängt ihr dies Herz!
Und säuselt her in die Saiten,
Angezogen von wohllautender Wehmut,
Wachsend im Zug meiner Sehnsucht,
Und hinsterbend wieder.
Aber auf einmal,
Wie der Wind heftiger herstösst,
Ein holder Schrei der Harfe
Wiederholt, mir zu süssem Erschrecken
Meiner Seele plötzliche Regung,
Und hier – die volle Rose streut, geschüttelt,
All ihre Blätter vor meine Füsse!

To an Aeolean harp

Leaning against the ivy-clad wall
Of this old terrace,
O mysterious lyre
Of a zephyr-born Muse,
Begin again
Your melodious lament!
Winds, you come from far away,
Ah! From the fresh green mound
Of the boy
Who was so dear to me,
And brushing spring flowers along the way,
Saturated with fragrance,
How sweetly you afflict this heart!
And you murmur into these strings,
Drawn by their sweet-sounding sorrow,
Waxing with my heart’s desire,
Then dying away once more.
But all at once,
As the wind gusts more strongly,
The harp’s gentle cry
Echoes, to my sweet alarm,
The sudden commotion of my soul;
And here – the full-blown rose, shaken,
Strews all its petals at my feet!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)


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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