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Der Scholar no.13

Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff

Der Scholar

Bei dem angenehmsten Wetter
Singen alle Vogelein,
Klatscht der Regen auf die Blätter,
Sing ich so für mich allein.
Denn mein Aug’ kann nichts entdecken,
Wenn der Blitz auch grausam glüht,
Was im Wandern könnt’ erschrecken
Ein zufriedenes Gemüt.
Frei vom Mammon will ich schreiten
Auf dem Feld der Wissenschaft,
Sinne ernst und nehm’ zu Zeiten 
Einen Mund voll Rebensaft.
Bin ich müde vom Studieren,
Wann der Mond tritt sanft herfür,
Pfleg’ ich dann zu musizieren 
Vor der Allerschönsten Tür.

The Scholar

In the most pleasant of weathers
All the little birds are singing,
When rain rattles on the leaves,
I sing to myself alone.
For my eyes see nothing,
However cruelly lightning flashes,
That could alarm a contented soul
In its wanderings.
Free from Mammon I’ll roam
The field of knowledge,
Think deeply, and at times
Quaff the juice of the grape.
When I’m tired of studying,
When gently the moon climbs the sky,
I’m wont to make music
Before my sweetheart’s door.
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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