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Das Ährenfeld (1836)

Das Ährenfeld

Ein Leben war’s im Ährenfeld,
Wie sonst wohl nirgend auf der Welt.
Musik und Kirmes weit und breit
Und lauter Lust und Fröhlichkeit.
Die Grillen zirpten früh am Tag
Und luden ein zum Hochgelag:
Hier ist es gut, herein!
Hier schenkt man Tau und Blütenwein!
Der Käfer kam mit seiner Frau,
Trank hier ein Mässlein kühlen Tau,
Und wo nur winkt’ ein Blümelein,
Da kehrte gleich das Bienchen ein.
Den Fliegen ward die Zeit nicht lang,
Sie summten manchen frohen Sang,
Die Mücken tanzten ihren Reihn
Wohl auf und ab im Sonnenschein.
Das war ein Leben ringsumher,
Als ob es ewig Kirmes wär,
Die Gäste zogen aus und ein
Und liessen sich’s gar wohl dort sein.
Wie aber geht es in der Welt?
Heut ist gemäht das Ährenfeld.
Zerstöret ist das schöne Haus,
Und hin ist Kirmes, Tanz und Schmau

The field of wheat

What activity in the field of wheat,
Like nowhere else in the world!
Music and church fair far and wide
And nothing but joy and merriment.
The crickets chirped from break of day,
Bidding everyone to the great feast:
Life is good here, come on in!
Dew and nectar wine for all!
The beetle came with his wife,
Drank a cup of sweet dew,
And wherever a little flower beckoned,
A little bee came at once to call.
The flies were not at all bored,
They hummed many a happy tune,
The midges danced round and round
In the sunshine up and down.
What activity all around,
As though the church fair would last forever,
The guests came and went
And indulged themselves there.
But how do things fare in the world?
Today the field of wheat is reaped,
The beautiful house destroyed,
And gone are church fair, dance and feast.
Translation © by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder.

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Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847), brother of Fanny Mendelssohn and grandson of Haskalah and Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn's compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. 

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August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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