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Die Zigeunerin (1887) no.7

Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff

Die Zigeunerin

Am Kreuzweg da lausche ich, wenn die Stern’
Und die Feuer im Walde verglommen,
Und wo der erste Hund bellt von fern,
Da wird mein Bräut’gam herkommen.
La, la, la –
„Und als der Tag graut', durch das Gehölz
Sah ich eine Katze sich schlingen,
Ich schoss ihr auf den nussbraunen Pelz,
Wie tat die weit überspringen! –
Ha, ha, ha!“
Schad’ nur ums Pelzlein, du kriegst mich nit!
Mein Schatz muss sein wie die andern:
Braun und ein Stutzbart auf ung’rischen Schnitt
Und ein fröhliches Herze zum Wandern.
La, la, la …

The gypsy girl

At the crossroads I listen, when the stars
And fires in the wood have faded,
And where, afar, the first dog barks,
From there my bridegroom will come,
La, la, la –
“And at dawn, through the copse,
I saw a cat slinking,
I fired a shot at her nut-brown coar,
How that made her jump –
Ha, ha, ha!”
A shame about the coat, you won’t catch me!
My sweetheart must be like the others:
Swarthy, with a beard of Hungarian trim,
And a happy heart for wandering
La, la, la …
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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