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Der deutsche Rhein „Patriotisches Lied“ (1840) WoO1

Der deutsche Rhein „Patriotisches Lied“

Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Ob sie wie gier’ge Raben
Sich heiser danach schrein.
So lang er ruhig wallend
Sein grünes Kleid noch trägt,
So lang ein Ruder schallend
In seine Wogen schlägt!
Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
So lang sich Herzen laben
An seinem Feuerwein.
So lang in seinem Strome
Noch fest die Felsen stehn,
So lang sich hohe Dome
In seinem Spiegel sehn.
Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
So lang dort kühne Knaben
Um schlanke Dirnen frei’n,
So lang die Flosse hebet
Ein Fisch auf seinem Grund,
So lang ein Lied noch lebet
In seiner Sänger Mund.
Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Bis seine Fluth begraben
Des letzten Mann’s Gebein.

The German Rhine, "Patriotic song"

They shall not ever have it,
The free and German Rhine,
Though with a raven’s gluttony
They scream until they’re hoarse.
As long as on its flowing way
It still wears its verdant cloak,
As long as reverberating oars
Still dip into its waves.
They shall not ever have it,
The free and German Rhine,
As long as hearts still feast
Upon its sun-drenched wine.
As long as on its surface
The rocky cliffs still gaze,
As long as lofty cathedrals
Are still mirrored in its waves.
They shall not ever have it,
The free and German Rhine,
As long as valorous youths still woo
Slim maidens on its shore.
As long as fish still flick their fins
Down there on the river bed,
As long as songs still resound
From every minstrel’s mouth.
They shall not ever have it,
The free and German Rhine,
Until its waters have submerged
The mortal remains of every man.
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

Nikolaus Becker was a German lawyer and writer. His one poem of note was the 1840 "Rheinlied" (Rhine song) which was set to music over 70 times, the most famous setting being Die Wacht am Rhein.

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