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In der Fremde VI no.4

Part of a series or song cycle:

Nachgelassene Lieder (Eichendorff)

In der Fremde VI

Wolken, wälderwärts gegangen,
Wolken, fliegend übers Haus,
Könnte ich an euch mich hangen,
Mit euch fliegen weit hinaus!
Tag’lang durch die Wälder schweif ich,
Voll Gedanken sitz ich still,
In die Saiten flüchtig greif ich,
Wieder dann auf einmal still.
Schöne, rührende Geschichten
Fallen ein mir, wo ich steh,
Lustig muss ich schreiben, dichten,
Ist mir selber gleich so weh.
Manches Lied, das ich geschrieben
Wohl vor manchem langen Jahr,
Da die Welt vom treuen Lieben
Schön mir überglänzet war;
Find ich’s wieder jetzt voll Bangen:
Werd ich wunderbar gerührt,
Denn so lange ist vergangen,
Was mich zu dem Lied verführt.
Diese Wolken ziehen weiter,
Alle Vögel sind erweckt,
Und die Gegend glänzet heiter,
Weit und fröhlich aufgedeckt.
Regen flüchtig abwärts gehen,
Scheint die Sonne zwischendrein,
Und dein Haus, dein Garten stehen
Überm Wald im stillen Schein.
Doch du harrst nicht mehr mit Schmerzen,
Wo so lang dein Liebster sei --
Und mich tötet noch im Herzen
Dieser Schmerzen Zauberei.

In a foreign land VI

Clouds that drift towards the woods,
Clouds that flee above the house,
Could I but cling to you
And with you fly far away!
I roam the forest throughout the day,
Sit quietly, deep in thought,
My fingers brush the lute’s strings,
Then I fall silent once more.
Beautiful and moving tales
I think of, standing there,
Happily I must write and rhyme,
Though I myself am full of woe.
Many a song that I once wrote,
Many a long year ago,
When the world shone fair for me
Radiantly from true love,
I find now fills me with disquiet:
I am wondrously affected,
For those times have long since gone
Which inspired the song.
The clouds drift past,
All the birds have woken,
And the countryside shines brightly,
Revealed in all its beauteous breadth.
The rain swiftly passes by,
The sun shines in its stead,
And your house and your garden
Quietly glow above the wood.
But no more do you wait in grief,
Wondering where your love delays so long –
And still my heart breaks
From the spell the grief casts.
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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