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Deklamation Schön Hedwig (1849) Op. 106

Deklamation Schön Hedwig

Im Kreise der Vasallen sitzt
Der Ritter, jung und kühn;
Sein dunkles Feuerauge blitzt,
Als wollt’ er ziehn zum Kampfe,
Und seine Wangen glühn.
Ein zartes Mägdlein tritt heran
Und füllt ihm den Pokal.
Zurück mit Sitten tritt sie dann;
Da fällt auf ihre Stirne
Der klarste Morgenstrahl.
Der Ritter aber faßt sie schnell
Bei ihrer weißen Hand.
Ihr blaues Auge, frisch und hell,
Sie schlägt es erst zu Boden,
Dann hebt sie’s unverwandt.
„Schön Hedwig, die du vor mir stehst,
Drei Dinge sag’ mir frei:
Woher du kommst, wohin du gehst,
Warum du stets mir folgest;
Das sind der Dinge drei!“
Woher ich komm? Ich komm von Gott,
So hat man mir gesagt,
Als ich, verfolgt von Hohn und Spott,
Nach Vater und nach Mutter
Mit Tränen einst gefragt.
Wohin ich geh? Nichts treibt mich fort,
Die Welt ist gar zu weit.
Was tauscht’ ich eitel Ort um Ort?
Sie ist ja allenthalben
Voll Lust und Herrlichkeit.
Warum ich folg’, wohin du winkst?
Ei, sprich, wie könnt’ ich ruhn?
Ich schenk’ den Wein dir, den du trinkst,
Ich bat dich drum auf Knieen
Und möcht’ es ewig tun!
„So frage ich, du blondes Kind,
Noch um ein Viertes dich;
Dies Letzte sag’ mir an geschwind,
Dann frag’ ich dich Nichts weiter,
Sag’, Mägdlein, liebst du mich?“
Im Anfang steht sie starr und stumm,
Dann schaut sie langsam sich
Im Kreis der ernsten Gäste um,
Und faltet ihre Hände
Und spricht: Ich liebe dich!
Nun aber weiß ich auch, wohin
Ich gehen muß von hier;
Wohl ist’s mir klar in meinem Sinn:
Nachdem ich dies gestanden,
Ziemt nur der Schleier mir!
„Und wenn du sagst, du kommst von Gott,
So fühl’ ich, das ist wahr.
Drum führ’ ich auch, trotz Hohn und Spott,
Als seine liebste Tochter
Noch heut dich zum Altar.
„Ihr edlen Herrn, ich lud verblümt
Zu einem Fest Euch ein;
Ihr Ritter, stolz und hochgerühmt,
So folgt mir zur Kapelle,
Es soll mein schönstes sein!“

Fair Hedwig

In the circle of vassals sits
The knight, so young and bold,
His dark eyes flask with fire,
As though on battle he were bent,
And his cheeks are glowing.
A gentle girl approaches him
And fills his goblet with wine.
Then she modestly withdraws;
And the brightest rays of dawn
Fall upon her brow.
The knight then swiftly
Seizes her white hand.
She lowers her gaze,
Those fresh, blue, limpid eyes,
Then steadfastly looks up.
‘Fair Hedwig, as you stand before me,
Answer frankly these three things:
Whence do you come, whither do you go,
Why do you always follow me?
Those are my three questions!’
Whence do I come? I come from God,
That was what I was told when,
Pursued by scorn and mockery,
I once enquired with tears
About my father and mother.
Whither do I go? Nothing drives me away,
The world is far too vast.
Why should I vainly go from place to place,
When the world on every side
Is full of joy and splendour.
Why do I follow your every sign?
Ah! how could I ever stay put?
I pour the wine that you drink,
I begged that favour on my knees
And would like to do it forever!
‘I shall ask you, then, O fair-haired child,
A fourth and final question;
Answer me without delay,
And I shall ask you nothing more,
Tell me, my girl, if you love me?’
At first she stands benumbed and silent,
Then she slowly casts her gaze
Round the grave guests gathered there,
And folds her hands
And answers: I love you!
But suddenly now I know
Whither I must go from here;
Now I am clear that,
After this confession,
The veil alone becomes me!
‘And if you say you come from God,
I feel that you speak the truth.
So I shall lead you, God’s dearest child,
Despite scorn and mockery,
To the altar this very day!
‘Noble lords, it was in veiled language
That I invited you to celebrate;
Proud and illustrious knights,
Follow me to the chapel now
For the finest celebration of all!’
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as KinderszenenAlbum für die JugendBlumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.

Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.

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Christian Friedrich Hebbel, was a German poet and dramatist.

Hebbel was born at Wesselburen in Ditmarschen, Holstein, the son of a bricklayer. He was educated at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums. Despite his humble origins, he showed a talent for poetry, resulting in the publication, in the Hamburg Modezeitung, of verses which he had sent to Amalie Schoppe (1791–1858), a popular journalist and author of nursery tales. Through her patronage, he was able to go to the University of Hamburg.

A year later he went to Heidelberg to study law, but gave it up and went on to the University of Munich, where he devoted himself to philosophy, history and literature. In 1839 Hebbel left Munich and walked all the way back to Hamburg, where he resumed his friendship with Elise Lensing, whose self-sacrificing assistance had helped him over the darkest days in Munich. In the same year he wrote his first tragedy, Judith (1840, published 1841), which in the following year was performed in Hamburg and Berlin and made his name known throughout Germany.

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