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Heimweh (1888) no.12

Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff


Wer in die Fremde will wandern,
Der muss mit der Liebsten gehn,
Es jubeln und lassen die andern
Den Fremden alleine stehn.
Was wisset ihr, dunkle Wipfel,
Von der alten, schönen Zeit?
Ach, die Heimat hinter den Gipfeln,
Wie liegt sie von hier so weit?
Am liebsten betracht’ ich die Sterne,
Die schienen, wie ich ging zu ihr,
Die Nachtigall hör’ ich so gerne,
Sie sang vor der Liebsten Tür.
Der Morgen, das ist meine Freude!
Da steig’ ich in stiller Stund’
Auf den höchsten Berg in die Weite,
Grüss dich, Deutschland, aus Herzensgrund!


He who would journey abroad
Must go with his beloved,
Others, in their joy, leave
The stranger all alone.
What do you know, dark summits,
Of these happy days now past?
Ah, my homeland beyond the mountains,
How far it lies from here.
I love best to watch the stars
That shone as I went to her,
I love to hear the nightingale
That sang at my loved one’s door.
The morning is my delight!
At that peaceful hour I climb
The highest mountain far and wide,
And greet you, Germany, from the depth of my heart!
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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