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Liebesfrühling (1878)


Wie oft schon ward es Frühling wieder
Für die erstorbne öde Welt!
Wie oft schon schollen frohe Lieder
Ihm überall durch Wald und Feld!
Wie oft schon ward es Frühling wieder!
Doch Frühling ward es nicht für mich:
Es schweigen meines Herzens Lieder,
Denn Frühling wird es nur durch dich.

The springtime of love

How often has spring returned
For the dead and desolate world!
How often was spring greeted on all sides
By happy songs in wood and field!
How often has spring returned!
But no spring burgeoned for me:
The songs of my heart are silent,
For spring can only be brought by you.
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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August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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