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Wer wird von der Welt verlangen (1918) Op. 67


Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Lieder “Aus den Büchern des Unmuts Rendsch Nameh” (Op. 67)


Wer wird von der Welt verlangen

Wer wird von der Welt verlangen,
Was sie selbst vermißt und träumet,
Rückwarts oder seitwärts blickend
Stets den Tag des Tags versäumet?
Ihr Bemühn, ihr guter Wille
Hinkt nur nach dem raschen Leben,
Und was du vor Jahren brauchtest,
Möchte sie dir heute geben.

Who shall demand of the world

Who shall demand of the world
That which the world itself lacks and dreams of,
Glancing backwards and sidewards,
Will always let slip the day of days.
Their efforts, their good intentions
Merely limp after swift life,
And what you needed years ago –
May the world give it you today.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

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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Poet

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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