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Epheu (1868) Op. 22

Part of a series or song cycle:

Mädchenblumen (Op. 22)


Aber Epheu nenn' ich jene Mädchen
mit den sanften Worten,
mit dem Haar, dem schlichten, hellen
um den leis' gewölbten Brau'n,
mit den braunen seelenvollen Rehenaugen,
die in Tränen steh'n so oft,
in ihren Tränen gerade sind unwiderstehlich;
ohne Kraft und Selbstgefühl,
schmucklos mit verborg'ner Blüte,
doch mit unerschöpflich tiefer
treuer inniger Empfindung
können sie mit eigner Triebkraft
nie sich heben aus den Wurzeln,
sind geboren, sich zu ranken
liebend um ein ander Leben:
an der ersten Lieb'umrankung
hängt ihr ganzes Lebensschicksal,
denn sie zählen zu den seltnen Blumen,
die nur einmal blühen.


But ivy is my name for those
Girls with gentle words,
With sleek fair hair
And slightly arched brows,
With brown soulful
Fawn-like eyes that well up
So often with tears—which are
Simply irresistible;
Without strength and self-confidence,
Unadorned with hidden flowers,
But with inexhaustibly deep,
True and ardent feeling,
They cannot, through their own strength,
Rise from their roots,
But are born to twine themselves
Lovingly round another’s life:—
Their whole life’s destiny
Depends on their first love-entwining,
For they belong to that rare breed of flower
That blossoms only once.

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Richard Georg Strauss was a German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is particularly well-known for his operas, Lieder, and tone poems. 

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Felix Dahn was a German law professor, author, poet and historian.

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