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In der Fremde II no.3

Part of a series or song cycle:

Nachgelassene Lieder (Eichendorff)

In der Fremde II

Ich geh’ durch die dunklen Gassen
Und wandre von Haus zu Haus,
Ich kann mich noch immer nicht fassen,
Sieht alles so trübe aus.
Da gehen viel’ Männer und Frauen,
Die alle so lustig sehn,
Die fahren und lachen und bauen,
Dass mir die Sinne vergehn.
Oft wenn ich bläuliche Streifen
Seh’ über die Dächer fliehn,
Sonnenschein draussen schweifen,
Wolken am Himmel ziehn:
Da treten mitten im Scherze
Die Tränen ins Auge mir,
Denn die mich lieben von Herzen,
Sind alle so weit von hier.

In a foreign land II

I go through the dark streets
And wander from house to house:
I still cannot contain myself,
All looks so cheerless round about.
Many men and women pass by,
Who look so happy, every one,
They travel and laugh and farm the land,
That I quite lose my senses.
Often I see bluish streaks
Drift by over roof-tops,
And sunshine all around outside,
And scudding clouds in the sky –
Then, amid all the gaiety,
Tears well into my eyes,
For they who loved me ardently
Are all so far from here.
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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