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Nachtzauber (1887) no.8

Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff


Hörst du nicht die Quellen gehen
Zwischen Stein und Blumen weit
Nach den stillen Waldesseen,
Wo die Marmorbilder stehen
In der schönen Einsamkeit?
Von den Bergen sacht hernieder,
Weckend die uralten Lieder,
Steigt die wunderbare Nacht,
Und die Gründe glänzen wieder,
Wie du’s oft im Traum gedacht.
Kennst die Blume du, entsprossen
In dem mondbeglänzten Grund
Aus der Knospe, halb erschlossen,
Junge Glieder blühendsprossen,
Weisse Arme, roter Mund,
Und die Nachtigallen schlagen
Und rings hebt es an zu klagen,
Ach, vor Liebe todeswund,
Von versunk’nen schönen Tagen -
Komm, o komm zum stillen Grund!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Night magic

Can you not hear the brooks running
Amongst the stones and flowers
To the silent woodland lakes
Where the marble statues stand
In the lovely solitude?
Softly from the mountains,
Awakening age-old songs,
Wondrous night descends,
And the valleys gleam again,
As you often dreamed.
Do you know the flower that blossomed
In the moonlit valley?
From its half-open bud
Young limbs have flowered forth,
White arms, red lips,
And the nightingales are singing,
And all around a lament is raised,
Ah, wounded to death with love,
For the lovely days now lost –
Come, ah come to the silent valley!
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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