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Wenn dein Mütterlein tritt zur Tür herein (1901)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Kindertotenlieder


Wenn dein Mütterlein tritt zur Tür herein

Wenn dein Mütterlein
Tritt zur Tür herein,
Und den Kopf ich drehe,
Ihr entgegen sehe,
Fällt auf ihr Gesicht
Erst der Blick mir nicht,
Sondern auf die Stelle,
Näher nach der Schwelle,
Dort, wo würde dein
Lieb Gesichtchen sein,
Wenn du freudenhelle
Trätest mit herein,
Wie sonst, mein Töchterlein.
Wenn dein Mütterlein
Tritt zur Tür herein,
Mit der Kerze Schimmer,
Ist es mir, als immer
Kämst du mit herein,
Huschtest hinterdrein,
Als wie sonst ins Zimmer!
O du, des Vaters Zelle,
Ach, zu schnell, zu schnell,
Erloschner Freudenschein!

When your dear mother

When your dear mother
Comes in through the door
And I turn my head
To look at her,
My eyes light first,
Not on her face,
But on that place
Nearer the threshold
Where your
Dear little face would be,
If you, bright-eyed,
Were entering with her,
As you used, my daughter.
When your dear mother
Comes in through the door
With the flickering candle,
I always think
You are coming too,
Stealing in behind her,
As you used.
O you, the joyful light,
Ah, too soon extinguished,
Of your father’s flesh and blood!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer and conductor.

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Poet

Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.

Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816–1817, he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. Nearly the whole of the year 1818 he spent in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820–1826). Rückert married Luise Wiethaus-Fischer there in 1821. He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live full-time in his Gut (estate) at Neuses (now a part of Coburg).

When Rückert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life-and-death struggle with Napoleon; and in his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische Komödie in drei Stücken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts) of which only two parts were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time).

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