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Erwartung no.18

Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff


Grüss euch aus Herzensgrund:
Zwei Augen hell und rein,
Zwei Röslein auf dem Mund,
Kleid blank aus Sonnenschein!
Nachtigall klagt und weint,
Wollüstig rauscht der Hain,
Alles die Liebste meint:
Wo weilt sie so allein?
Weil’s draussen finster war,
Sah ich viel hellern Schein,
Jetzt ist es licht und klar,
Ich muss im Dunkeln sein.
Sonne nicht steigen mag,
Sieht so verschlafen drein,
Wünschet den ganzen Tag,
Dass wieder Nacht möcht’ sein.
Liebe geht durch die Luft,
Holt fern die Liebste ein;
Fort über Berg und Kluft!
und sie wird doch noch mein!


I greet you from the depths of my heart:
Two eyes bright and clear,
Two small roses on your lips,
A gleaming dress of sunlight!
The nightingale laments and weeps,
The grove rustles voluptuously,
Everything speaks of my sweetheart:
Where does she tarry, so alone?
Because it was dark outside,
I saw many a brighter glow,
Now it is light and clear,
I must dwell in darkness.
The sun, reluctant to rise,
Looks down so sleepy-eyed,
Wishing all day long
Night could come again.
Love moves through the air,
Catches up my distant love
Quickly away, over mountain and chasm!
And she will yet be mine!
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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