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Nachruf  no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Nachgelassene Lieder (Eichendorff)


Du liebe, treue Laute,
Wie manche Sommernacht,
Bis dass der Morgen graute,
Hab’ ich mit dir durchwacht!
Die Täler, wieder nachten,
Schon sinkt das Abendrot,
Doch die sonst mit uns wachten,
Die liegen lange tot.
Was wollen wir nun singen
Hier in der Einsamkeit,
Wenn alle von uns gingen,
Die unser Lied erfreut’?
Wir wollen dennoch singen!
So still ist’s auf der Welt;
Wer weiss, die Lieder dringen
Vielleicht zum Sternezelt.
Wer weiss, die da gestorben,
Sie hören droben mich
Und öffnen leis’ die Pforten
Und nehmen uns zu sich.

In memoriam

Dear faithful lute,
How many a summer night
Till day-break
Have I watched you!
Again the valleys darken,
The twilight’s nearly spent,
But they who once watched with us
Perished long ago.
Why should we want to sing
Here in solitude,
When all have gone
Who delighted in out song?
Nonetheless, we shall sing!
The world is so still;
Who knows, songs may reach
As far as the stars.
Who knows, those who died
May hear me up there,
And quietly open the gates,
And take us to them.
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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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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