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O wie lieblich ist das Mädchen (1849) Op. 138 no.3


Part of a series or song cycle:

Spanische Liebeslieder (Op. 138)


O wie lieblich ist das Mädchen

O wie lieblich ist das Mädchen,
Wie so schön und voll Anmut.
Sag’ mir an, du wackrer Seemann,
Der du lebst auf deinem Schiffe,
Ob das Schiff und seine Segel,
Ob die Sterne wohl so schön sind!
Sag’ mir an, du stolzer Ritter,
Der du gehst im blanken Harnisch,
Ob das Ross und ob die Rüstung,
Ob die Schlachten wohl so schön sind!
Sag’ mir an, du Hirtenknabe,
Der du deine Herde weidest,
Ob die Lämmer, ob die Matten,
Ob die Berge wohl so schön sind!

Oh, how lovely is the girl

Oh, how lovely the girl is,
How beautiful and full of grace.
Tell me, gallant sailor,
You who live on board your ship,
If the ship and her sails,
If the stars are so beautiful!
Tell me, proud knight,
Clad in shining armour,
If your horse and your arms,
If your battles are so beautiful!
Tell me, shepherd,
You who tend your flock,
If lambs and pastures,
If mountains are so beautiful!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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

Emanuel von Geibel , German poet and playwright.
He was born at Lübeck, the son of a pastor. He was originally intended for his father's profession and studied at Bonn and Berlin, but his real interests lay not in theology but in classical and romance philology. In 1838 he accepted a tutorship at Athens, where he remained until 1840. In the same year he published, in conjunction with his friend Ernst Curtius, a volume of translations from Greek. His first poems were published in a volume entitled Zeitstimmen in 1841. In 1842 he entered the service of Frederick William IV, the king of Prussia, with an annual stipend of 300 thalers; under whom he produced König Roderich (1843), a tragedy, König Sigurds Brautfahrt (1846), an epic, and Juniuslieder (1848), lyrics in a more spirited and manlier style than his early poems.

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