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Auf eine Christblume I, "Tochter des Walds" (1888) no.20

Part of a series or song cycle:


Auf eine Christblume I, "Tochter des Walds"

Tochter des Walds, du Lilienverwandte,
So lang von mir gesuchte, unbekannte,
Im fremden Kirchhof, öd und winterlich,
Zum erstenmal, o schöne, find ich dich!
Von welcher Hand gepflegt du hier erblühtest,
Ich weiss es nicht, noch wessen Grab du hütest;
Ist es ein Jüngling, so geschah ihm Heil,
Ists eine Jungfrau, lieblich fiel ihr Teil.
Im nächtgen Hain, von Schneelicht überbreitet,
Wo fromm das Reh an dir vorüberweidet,
Bei der Kapelle, am kristallnen Teich,
Dort sucht ich deiner Heimat Zauberreich.
Schön bist du, Kind des Mondes, nicht der Sonne;
Dir wäre tödlich andrer Blumen Wonne,
Dich nährt, den keuschen Leib voll Reif und Duft,
Himmlischer Kälte balsamsüsse Luft.
In deines Busens goldner Fülle gründet
Ein Wohlgeruch, der sich nur kaum verkündet;
So duftete, berührt von Engelshand,
Der benedeiten Mutter Brautgewand.
Dich würden, mahnend an das heilge Leiden,
Fünf Purpurtropfen schön und einzig kleiden:
Doch kindlich zierst du, um die Weihnachtszeit,
Lichtgrün mit einem Hauch dein weisses Kleid.
Der Elfe, der in mitternächtger Stunde
Zum Tanze geht im lichterhellen Grunde,
Vor deiner mystischen Glorie steht er scheu
Neugierig still von fern und huscht vorbei.

On a Christmas rose I, "Daughter of the forest"

Daughter of the forest, close kin to the lily,
You whom I sought so long and never knew,
Now in a strange churchyard, desolate and wintry,
For the first time, O lovely one, I find you!
Whose hand helped you to blossom here,
I do not know, nor whose grave you guard;
If a young man lies here, he has found salvation,
If a maiden, a fair lot befell her.
In the darkling grove, overspread with snowy light,
Where the gentle deer moves past you grazing,
By the chapel, beside the crystal pond,
There I sought your enchanted realm.
How fair you are, child of the moon, not of the sun;
Fatal to you would be the bliss of other flowers,
Your pure body, all rime and scent, feeds
On heavenly cold and balsam-scented air.
There dwells within the golden fullness of your heart
A perfume so faint it can scarcely be perceived;
Such was the scent, touched by angelic hands,
Of the Blessed Mother’s bridal robe.
Five crimson drops, a reminder of the sacred Passion,
Would suffice as your sole and lovely ornament:
Yet child-like at Christmas-time you adorn
Your white dress with a hint of palest green.
The elf, who at the midnight hour
Goes to dance in the glistening glade,
Stands awestruck from afar by your mystic halo,
Looks on in inquiring silence and scurries by.
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.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.

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