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Die drei Zigeuner (1860) S.320

Die drei Zigeuner

Drei Zigeuner fand ich einmal
Liegen an einer Weide,
Als mein Fuhrwerk mit müder Qual
Schlich durch sandige Heide.
Hielt der eine für sich allein
In den Händen die Fiedel,
Spielt, umglüht vom Abendschein,
Sich ein lustiges Liedel.
Hielt der zweite die Pfeif’ im Mund,
Blickte nach seinem Rauche,
Froh, als ob er vom Erdenrund
Nichts zum Glücke mehr brauche.
Und der dritte behaglich schlief,
Und sein Zimbal am Baum hing,
Über die Saiten der Windhauch lief,
Über sein Herz ein Traum ging.
An den Kleidern trugen die drei
Löcher und bunte Flicken,
Aber sie boten trotzig frei
Spott den Erdengeschicken.
Dreifach haben sie mir gezeigt,
Wenn das Leben uns nachtet,
Wie man’s verraucht, verschläft, vergeigt
Und es dreimal verachtet.
Nach den Zigeunern lang noch
Mußt’ ich schaun im Weiterfahren,
Nach den Gesichtern dunkelbraun,
Nach den schwarzlockigen Haaren.

The three gypsies

I once saw three gypsies
Lying against the willow,
As my carriage with weary groans
Crept across a sandy heath.
One of them, sitting apart,
Held a fiddle in his hands,
And, glowing in the evening sun,
Played himself a merry song.
The second with a pipe in his mouth
Gazed contentedly after the smoke,
As if he needed nothing more
For happiness on earth.
And the third slept peacefully,
His cimbalom hanging from a tree,
A breeze swept over its strings,
A dream passed over his heart.
All three of them had clothes
Of holes and motley patches;
But defiant and free they scoffed
At what fate on earth might have in store.
In three ways they showed me how,
When life for us turns dark,
To sleep it, smoke it, fiddle it away,
And three ways of disdaining it.
As I drove past the gypsies
I had to look at them a long time,
With their dark brown faces
And their curly black hair.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Franz Liszt (22 October 1811 – 31 July 1886) was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger and organist of the Romantic era. He was also a writer, a philanthropist, a Hungarian nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary.

A prolific composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the New German School (Neudeutsche Schule). He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work which influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated 20th-century ideas and trends. Among Liszt's musical contributions were the symphonic poem, developing thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form, and radical innovations in harmony.

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Poet

Nikolaus Lenau was the nom de plume of Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau, a German-language Austrian poet.

He was born at Schadat, now Lenauheim, Romania, then in Hungary. His father, a Habsburg government official, died in 1807 in Budapest, leaving his children in the care of their mother, who remarried in 1811. In 1819 Nikolaus went to the University of Vienna; he subsequently studied Hungarian law at Pozsony (Bratislava) and then spent the next four years qualifying himself in medicine. Unable to settle down to any profession, he began writing verse. The disposition to sentimental melancholy inherited from his mother, stimulated by disappointments in love and by the prevailing fashion of the romantic school of poetry, descended into gloom after his mother's death in 1829.

Soon afterwards, however, a legacy from his grandmother enabled him to devote himself wholly to poetry. His first published poems appeared in 1827, in Johann Gabriel Seidl's Aurora. In 1831 he moved to Stuttgart, where he published a volume of Gedichte (1832) dedicated to the Swabian poet, Gustav Schwab. He also made the acquaintance of Ludwig Uhland, Justinus Kerner, Karl Mayer and others. His restless spirit longed for change, and he determined to seek peace and freedom in America.

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