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Die sieben Siegel (1900) Op. 46 no.3

Die sieben Siegel

Weil ich dich nicht legen kann
Unterm Schloß und Riegel;
Dir zum Abschied leg’ ich an
Diese sieben Siegel.
Küsse sollen Siegel sein,
Einer auf die Lippe,
Daß am Nektarkelche kein
Honigdieb mir nippe!
Dieses Siegel auf die Brust,
Auf den Nacken dieses;
Fremder Wunsch sei fern der Luft
Meines Paradieses!
Zweie noch auf Wang’ und Wang’,
Und auf Aug’ und Auge;
Daß kein Mund danach verlang’
Und kein Blick hier sauge!
Liebes Kind, um deine Schuld
Trag die Siegel in Geduld!
Morgen wollen wir die bösen
Sieben Siegel wieder lösen.

The seven seals

As I cannot put you
Under bolts and bars,
As I depart, I’ll lay on you
These seven seals.
One seal shall be placed
On your lips as a kiss,
So that no honey thief
Can taste my cup of nectar!
I lay this seal on your breast,
And this one on your neck;
May no stranger’s desire
Draw near my paradise!
Two more upon each cheek,
And two more on each eye;
That no mouth shall desire them
And no look feed there!
Dear child, bear the seals
Patiently as penance!
Tomorrow we’ll take away
The nasty seals again.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Richard Georg Strauss was a German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is particularly well-known for his operas, Lieder, and tone poems. 

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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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