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Die Kleine no.6

Part of a series or song cycle:

Nachgelassene Lieder (Eichendorff)

Die Kleine

Zwischen Bergen, liebe Mutter,
Weit den Wald entlang,
Reiten da drei junge Jäger
Auf drei Rösslein blank,
Lieb’ Mutter,
Auf drei Rösslein blank.
Ihr könnt fröhlich sein, lieb Mutter,
Wird es draussen still:
Kommt der Vater heim vom Walde,
Küsst Euch, wie er will,
Lieb’ Mutter,
Küsst Euch, wie er will.
Und ich werfe mich in Bettchen
Nachts ohn Unterlass,
Kehr mich links und kehr mich rechts hin,
Nirgends hab ich was,
Lieb’ Mutter,
Nirgends hab ich was.
Bin ich eine Frau erst einmal,
In der Nacht dann still
Wend ich mich nach allen Seiten,
Küss, soviel ich will,
Lieb’ Mutter,
Küss, soviel ich will.

This little girl

Between mountains, dear mother,
By the woodland ways,
Three young hunters come riding by
On three young gleaming steeds,
Dear mother,
On three young gleaming steeds.
You, dear mother, can be happy:
When outside all falls quiet,
When father comes home from the forest,
He’ll kiss you to his heart’s content,
Dear mother,
He’ll kiss you to his heart’s content.
And I toss and turn in bed
All night long without respite,
Roll to the left and roll to the right,
Finding nothing anywhere,
Dear mother,
Finding nothing anywhere.
When I’ve once become a woman,
In the night I’ll quietyly turn
Whichever way I wish,
Kiss to my heart’s content,
Dear mother,
Kiss to my heart’s content.
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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