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Songs

Songs

Von ewiger Liebe (1857) Op.43 no.1

Von ewiger Liebe

Dunkel, wie dunkel in Wald und in Feld!
Abend schon ist es, nun schweiget die Welt.
Nirgend noch Licht und nirgend noch Rauch,
Ja, und die Lerche sie schweiget nun auch.
Kommt aus dem Dorfe der Bursche heraus,
Gibt das Geleit der Geliebten nach Haus,
Führt sie am Weidengebüsche vorbei,
Redet so viel und so mancherlei:
„Leidest du Schmach und betrübest du dich,
Leidest du Schmach von andern um mich,
Werde die Liebe getrennt so geschwind,
Schnell wie wir früher vereiniget sind.
Scheide mit Regen und scheide mit Wind,
Schnell wie wir früher vereiniget sind.“
Spricht das Mägdelein, Mägdelein spricht:
„Unsere Liebe sie trennet sich nicht!
Fest ist der Stahl und das Eisen gar sehr,
Unsere Liebe ist fester noch mehr.
Eisen und Stahl, man schmiedet sie um,
Unsere Liebe, wer wandelt sie um?
Eisen und Stahl, sie können zergehn,
Unsere Liebe muß ewig bestehn!“

Eternal Love

Dark, how dark in forest and field!
Evening already, and the world is silent.
Nowhere a light and nowhere smoke,
And even the lark is silent now too.
Out of the village there comes a lad,
Escorting his sweetheart home,
He leads her past the willow-copse,
Talking so much and of so many things:
‘If you suffer sorrow and suffer shame,
Shame for what others think of me,
Then let our love be severed as swiftly,
As swiftly as once we two were plighted.
Let us depart in rain and depart in wind,
As swiftly as once we two were plighted.’
The girl speaks, the girl says:
‘Our love cannot be severed!
Steel is strong, and so is iron,
Our love is even stronger still:
Iron and steel can both be reforged,
But our love, who shall change it?
Iron and steel can be melted down,
Our love must endure for ever!’
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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Poet

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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