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Songs

Die rote Hanne (1840) Op. 31 no.3


Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Gesänge (Op. 31)


Die rote Hanne

Den Säugling an der Brust, den zweiten
Der Knaben auf dem Rücken, führt
Sie an der Hand den Erstgebornen,
Der fast entkleidet, barfuß, friert.
Den Vater haben sie gefangen,
Er kühlt im Kerker seinen Mut.
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.
Ich sah sie oft in bessern Tagen,
Schulmeisters liebes Töchterlein;
Sie spann und sang und las und nähte,
Ein herzig Kind und schmuck und fein;
Beim Sonntagstanz im Kreis der Linden,
Wie war sie froh und wohlgemut!
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.
Ein junger reicher hübscher Pächter
Versprach ihr einst ein beßres Glück;
Ihr rotes Haar, das ward verspottet,
Der reiche Freier trat zurück;
Es kamen andre, gingen wieder,
Sie hatte ja kein Heiratsgut.
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.
Ein Taugenichts war schnell entschlossen:
Ich nehm’ dich zum Weibe, blond oder rot;
Drei Büchsen hab’ ich, weiß die Schliche,
Der Förster macht mir keine Not;
Den Schwarzrock will ich auch bezahlen,
Des Sprüchlein uns zusammen tut.
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.
Sie sprach nicht nein, mit sanfter Lockung
Gebot Natur in ihrer Brust,
Und dreimal ward allein im Walde
Sie Mutter unter bittrer Lust.
Die Kinder treiben und gedeihen,
Ein blühend frisch gesundes Blut.
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.
Des treuen Weibes nächt’gen Jammer
Erhellet noch ein milder Schein.
Sie lächelt: ihre Kleinen werden
Schwarzlockig wie der Vater sein;
Sie lächelt: ach, aus ihrem Lächeln
Schöpft der Gefangne frischen Mut.
Sei Gott du mit der roten Hanne!
Der Wilddieb sitzt in sichrer Hut.

Red Hannah

With her baby at her breast
And her second boy astride her back,
She leads by the hand her oldest boy
Who is half-naked, barefoot and freezing.
The father has been arrested,
He’s cooling off in jail.
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
I often saw her in happier days,
The schoolmaster’s gentle daughter;
She would sing and spin and read and sew,
A charming child, so spruce and clean;
Each Sunday she danced beneath the limes,
So happily and joyfully!
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
A young, rich and handsome farmer
Once promised her a better fate;
People laughed at her red hair,
The wealthy suitor jilted her;
Others came and likewise went,
Because she had no dowry.
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
A scoundrel quickly made up his mind:
Whether your hair’s blonde or red, I’ll marry you;
I have three guns and know all the tricks—
The gamekeeper doesn’t bother me;
I’ll even pay the preacher
Who will marry us.
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
She did not refuse him, her heart quickened
With nature’s gentle promptings,
And three times alone in the forest
She knew the bitter joys of giving birth.
The children grew up and flourished,
And all enjoyed rude health.
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
But now the faithful wife finds comfort
In her nightly distress.
She smiles: her children will have
Their father’s curly black hair;
She smiles: and her smile
Gives the prisoner fresh courage.
God be with you, red-haired Hannah!
The poacher’s under lock and key.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

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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Poet

Pierre-Jean de Béranger was a prolific French poet and chansonnier (songwriter), who enjoyed great popularity and influence in France during his lifetime, but faded into obscurity in the decades following his death. He has been described as "the most popular French songwriter of all time" and "the first superstar of French popular music".

De Béranger was born at his grandfather's house on the Rue Montorgueil in Paris, which he later described as "one of the dirtiest and most turbulent streets of Paris". He was not actually of noble blood, despite the use of an appended "de" in the family name by his father, who had vainly assumed the name of Béranger de Mersix. He was, in fact, descended from more humble stock, a country innkeeper on one side of the family and a tailor on the other - the latter was later celebrated in a song, "Le tailleur et la fée" (The tailor and the fairy).
 

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.


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