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Oft denk’ ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen (1904)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Kindertotenlieder


Oft denk’ ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen

Oft denk' ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen,
Bald werden sie wieder nach Hause gelangen,
Der Tag ist schön, o sei nicht bang,
Sie machen nur einen weiten Gang.
Jawohl, sie sind nur ausgegangen
Und werden jetzt nach Hause gelangen!
O, sei nicht bang, der Tag is schön!
Sie machen nur einen Gang zu jenen Höh’n!
Sie sind uns nur vorausgegangen
Und werden nicht wieder nach Hause gelangen!
Wir holen sie ein auf jenen Höh’n
Im Sonnenschein! Der Tag ist schön auf jenen Höh’n!

I often think they have only gone out!

I often think they have only gone out,
They will soon be coming home again,
It is a beautiful day, ah do not be afraid,
They have only gone for a long walk.
Yes, they have only gone out
And will now be coming home again.
Do not be anxious, it is a beautiful day!
They are only walking to those hills!
They have merely gone on ahead of us
And will not be coming home again.
We shall overtake them on those hills
In the sunshine! The day is beautiful on those hills.
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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