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Songs

Songs

Waldmädchen no.20


Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff


Waldmädchen

Bin ein Feuer hell, das lodert
Von dem grünen Felsenkranz,
Seewind ist mein Buhl’ und fordert
Mich zum lust’gen Wirbeltanz,
Kommt und wechselt unbeständig,
Steigend wild, 
Neigend mild,
Meine schlanken Lohen wend’ ich:
Komm nicht nah’ mir, ich verbrenn’ dich!
Wo die wilden Bäche rauschen 
Und die hohen Palmen stehn,
Wenn die Jäger heimlich lauschen,
Viele Rehe einsam gehn.
Bin ein Reh, flieg’ durch die Trümmer,
Über die Höh’,
Wo im Schnee
Still die letzten Gipfel schimmern,
Folg’ mir nicht, erjagst mich nimmer!
Bin ein Vöglein in den Lüften,
Schwing’ mich übers blaue Meer,
Durch die Wolken von den Klüften
Fliegt kein Pfeil mehr bis hieher.
Und die Au’n, die Felsenbogen,
Waldeseinsamkeit 
Weit, wie weit, 
Sind versunken in die Wogen –
Ach, ich habe mich verflogen!

Forest-nymph

I’m a bright fire that blazes
From the green-garlanded cliff,
The sea-wind’s my lover,
Who, asking me to pirouette,
Comes in his innocent way.
Madly rushing,
Gently falling,
I turn on him my slender fires:
Don’t come near me, or I’ll burn you!
Where the wild streams roar,
And the palm trees soar up,
When the hidden hunters listen,
Many a lonely deer goes by.
I’m a deer, leaping over rubble,
Over the mountains,
Where in the snow
The last peaks shimmer quietly,
Don’t follow, you’ll never catch me!
I’m a little bird in the air,
Winging over the blue sea,
Here no arrow, shot from the chasms,
Can reach me through the clouds,
And the meadows and rocks,
Lonely woods
Left far, far behind,
Have vanished beneath the waves –
Ah, I’ve lost my way!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

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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Poet

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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